NFL Playoff Scenarios: 7 Looming Rematches That Could Be on the Horizon
The NFL playoffs are always an exciting way to cap off the football season. Depending on how the rest of the 2011 regular season shakes out, though, the playoffs could be even more fun with possibilities for some enticing rematches.
Based on the way the playoff picture currently stands, here are seven possible rematches that fans could be seeing come postseason.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
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After owning the division for quite some time, the Steelers succumbed and got swept by the Ravens this year. They may, however, have the opportunity to redeem themselves when it really counts. If the Ravens end up with the second seed and the Steelers win their wild-card game, they will advance to play the Ravens.
This big rivalry would produce one of the most exciting games of the postseason.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
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A possible game between the Packers and the Saints, which will very likely happen, would be a rematch of the first game of the season—a rematch that has been anticipated since right after the Packers triumphed 42-34.
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers
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Detroit, who will most likely earn a sixth seed if they make the playoffs at all, would play the third seed in their first game, which could very easily be the Niners. If San Francisco earns a second seed, however, the Lions would have to play their way to the NFC Championship game to get another crack at the first team that beat them this year.
Either way, the scuffle between head coaches Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh after the first meeting would provide a juicy story line for the rematch.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
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This season was no different, with the Pats sweeping the Jets in division play, but a postseason rematch is very likely with the Jets in line for a sixth-seeded wild-card berth and the Pats in the lead for a first seed.
New England beat New York in last season's playoffs, but the Jets could easily have another chance if they can beat the third seed in their initial wild-card game—assuming, of course, the Jets don't choke in their last two games and miss the playoffs altogether.
New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
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This rematch would again be assuming the Lions ended up making the playoffs.
Provided that happens, there is essentially a 50 percent chance of this rematch happening. The Lions will definitely play either the Saints or the 49ers in the wild-card round—whichever team ends up with the third seed.
Even if the Niners get the third seed, the Saints could still end up playing the Lions if they somehow beat both the Niners and the Packers in playoff games leading up to the NFC Championship game.
This rematch would be less dramatic than some of the previous possibilities, but it would still be an exciting game, likely with lots of points scored.
Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
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Yeah right, right?
Of course this rematch would be a long shot, but if this season has taught us anything, it has been to hesitate before doubting Tim Tebow.
If the Broncos somehow continue their remarkable run into the playoffs and somehow beat both the Steelers and the Ravens (assuming Denver earns a fourth seed while Pittsburgh and Baltimore earn fifth and second seeds, respectively), they could be meeting Tom Brady and the Patriots for a second game, this time in the AFC Championship game.
Tebow and the Broncos would be looking to avenge their 41-23 loss, a game they were very much in before undoing themselves with two costly turnovers in the span of four plays.
Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
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This rematch looked like much more of a possibility before the Texans decided to lay an egg against the Indianapolis Colts, but because of the way the seeding will be set up, this likely won't happen.
However, if the Texans surprise a couple of teams in the playoffs and the Steelers beat the Ravens with a third try, they could end up having a rematch in the AFC Championship game.
The Texans won the first game behind a strong performance by the defense as well as the running game, but the stakes would be much higher this time around.
In all likelihood, if this game happens, rookie quarterback TJ Yates will have proven his worth in the playoffs and the Steelers will be back on top of the AFC North.