NFC Playoffs: Doubting the Cowboys and the Packers

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IJanuary 4, 2008

If I were to rank the NFC teams right now, the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers would have only a slight advantage over the rest of the field.

Both teams ended their regular seasons with a whimper, while some of the lower seeds have stormed their way into the playoffs. 

Luckily for the top seeds, they get a bye week to gather their marbles before they have to face one of those up-and-comers.

Why Dallas May Not Win

Wade Phillips

Phillips was a breath of fresh air in replacing Bill Parcells, but now it's crunch time, and he's not the type of guy you want at the helm.

Cowboy fans would rather have Parcells for these heavy-lifting games.

Tony Romo

Stardom descended on Romo too quickly. He fizzed as the season went on, allowing extracurricular activities to distract him.

He also has an injured throwing hand, something he hasn't been able to play through.

Terrell Owens

Owens is hurt, but will play through his injury.  That's the good news.

The bad news is that if Dr. Jekyll doesn't feel loved early on in that first playoff game, Mr. Hyde will rear his ugly head.

T.O. blew up Jeff Garcia in S.F.  He blew up Donovan McNabb in Philly. Now he'll blow up Tony Romo in Big D. Write that down.

The Secondary

The Cowboys have been vulnerable to big plays—and the rest of the field has big-play capabilities.

Why Green Bay May Not Win

Brett Favre

Favre's one of the greatest of all time, but he's been horrible in many a big spot.

Sure, he's been to the Super Bowl and won, but he's also kept the Packers out of Super Bowls by throwing dumb passes at dumb times. 

Don't try to dispute this fact—you know it's true. Favre needs to let the other 53 guys do their job instead of trying to win the game himself.

Ryan Grant

The Packers are going to need to run the ball in the playoffs. Can Grant carry the load? What happens if he can't?

Are they ready?

The only team with a winning record the Pack played in the second half was Dallas—and they lost. 

The Case for The Others

Of the other four teams that qualified for the playoffs in the NFC, the No. 6 seed—Washington—may have the best shot to get to the Super Bowl. After that, it's the Giants.


Remember in the 1980s and early 90s when the Redskins had the Hogs and they ran roughshod over everyone?

Guess what—they're back!

The game that supposedly passed Joe Gibbs by has come home to roost. This team has been in playoff mode for a month.

In their last four games, the Skins dominated the trenches, beating New York and Dallas and knocking Minnesota—the hottest team in the NFL at the time—out of the playoffs.

Now they go to Seattle, who can only boast the 12th Man as an advantage. The Redskins are bringing a 12th man of their own. His name is Sean Taylor...

New York

The only problem with this team is Eli Manning's inconsistency. Granted, that's a big problem to have, but they plan to minimize it by taking the air out of the ball. 

The New York running game is one of the league's best. Manning will only be asked to pass out of necessity. 

On defense, the Giants can get to your QB better than any of the other teams.  If they play a mistake-free game, you won't beat them.


Shawn Alexander looks like he's finished, and the Seattle defense is mediocre at best.

The Seahawks readiness has to be in question. They haven't played a playoff team since Oct. 7th, when they were shut out in Pittsburgh, 21-0. The only other playoff team they've faced was Tampa Bay in Week One. 

Expectations about their chances should be tempered. 

Tampa Bay

Another paper tiger. The Bucs won the NFC South by default. The other teams forgot to show up. 

Tampa lost three of  four to end the season, and the only playoff teams they beat were the No. 6 seeds—Tennessee (13-10) and Washington (19-13) at home, before both teams got hot. 

Look for Washington and New York to win this week and then play Dallas and Green Bay, respectively. 

Should they both win again, the NFC Championship game will be held at Giants Stadium.  


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