Preparing Myself for the NFL Playoffs without the New England Patriots

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2008

It’s not official yet but, if the Jets can’t beat Miami, and the Jaguars can’t beat the Ravens, I find myself examining the remaining teams that deserve my support through the playoffs.

The Patriots might not make it in. I cannot pretend to be baffled as to how a team with 11-5 record (probably the Pats) does not get into the playoffs over an 8-8 team (Denver or San Diego). I know, I know, it’s the rules. (Sounds a little like BCS whining.)

Being faced with that reality, I have the onerous decision of who would I root for through the playoffs. (No, this does not make me a traitor of the Pats. Read my Bio, I’ve plenty of practice of rooting for another team through the playoffs.)

Here’s the problem. I hate Miami. It’s a childhood thing; I don’t try to explain it. I just know that it exists.

You know I won’t be rooting for the Giants. Neither can I see myself supporting the Colts. Those Manning brothers are just too nice. If either of them had a run-in with the law or child out of wedlock, then maybe, but they’re both too clean for my sensibilities.

The Cardinals? The Pats just put a beating on them that they won’t be able to bounce back from very easily. I don’t mind picking an underdog, but don’t ask me to back the dead one.

The Steelers could be a good choice. The defense is stout but the offense just cannot keep the defenders off of Big Ben. He is getting beat up and everybody wants to blame him. I’m sorry, the offensive line is to blame, and if I got whacked around as much as Ben does I wouldn’t be able to tie my shoes.

Then there are some of the undetermined choices, the teams that haven’t clinched yet. I won’t be rooting for the Chargers or Broncos. As I said earlier, they’ve already ticked me off.

The Ravens? If they get in they will be an underdog team. They are used to that position and they could surprise. I wouldn’t back them though just because they would be partly responsible for the Pats not making it.

I kinda like the Vikings (Go Adrian) but they are slipping a little. The Bears? I cannot and will not even put an ounce of hope in the play of Kyle Orton.

Then, the outside chance of Dallas getting in, I’ve hated them ever since they proclaimed themselves “America’s Team.” Who said? I didn’t get to vote. They definitely don’t get my vote of confidence this year.

Who else? The Eagles? Tampa? I’m sorry, but McNabb is just about out of magic, and the Buccaneers don’t play consistently at a high level.

That leaves me with three teams that have a decent chance.

The Panthers are playing like they want to win it all this year. They have quietly racked up a bunch of wins. They are a possibility.

My childhood team was the Falcons, and man I love the way they are playing this year. The problem is they have a rookie quarterback. Don’t get me wrong, I really think he is playing outstanding ball, but he is a rookie.

That leaves me with the AFC first seed, the Titans. This is a deserving team. They have had just enough losses to know what they did wrong. On offense, the quarterback is steady and they have a running game. The defense is strong enough to go toe to toe with anyone.

I like the Coach, Jeff Fisher. He does a great job with managing the team. He doesn’t try to do things with this team that they are not built to do.

There you have it. I have a backup plan just in case the Patriots don’t make it into the playoffs. What do they drink in Tennessee? Is it whiskey or Moon Shine? Ah, I’ll just stick to my Sam Adams.