NFL Playoff Picture: The Indianapolis Colts and the 2011 Constellation Bracket
This will be fun; I promise you that. Is this "normal?" No. This NFL playoff picture is a bit different. The No. 1 seed is Indianapolis.
That should tell you enough. This is the NFL Constellation Bracket. These teams were not good enough to make it to the real postseason. But in a Christmas miracle, these Island of Misfit Teams are able to play in a postseason.
You thought Seattle in a postseason game was weird? Please, that was so last year. So without further ado, I bring you the worst of the worst!
AFC Wild Card Round: No. 3 Miami Beats No. 6 Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills just nabbed the last AFC Wild Card Spot. Sadly for the Bills faithful, Ryan Fitzpatrick and company will run into a roadblock in the form of a Dolphin.
Miami is hitting a hot streak as of late, winning five of the last eight. Also, the Bills will be without star running back Fred Jackson in this fake contest. CJ Spiller is a formidable backup, but the Dolphins run defense is ranked third in the league.
Oh, and the last time these two teams played, Miami won convincingly, 30-23, in Week 15 and 35-8 in Week 11.
AFC Wild Card Round: No. 4 Kansas City Beats No. 5 Jacksonville
I'm not saying that Jacksonville is bad. OK, that's exactly what I'm saying. Sorry, Blaine Gabbert!
The Jaguars have one quality win. And that 12-7 victory against the Ravens was as fake as a Hollywood actress.
The Packer-killers aren't much better, either, but they own wins over Oakland, Chicago and the aforementioned Packers. Kyle Orton is doing a good job filling in for the injured Matt Cassel. Ditto for Jackie Battle, who is filling in for Jamaal Charles.
This will not be the best game ever, but expect the injury-laden Chiefs to get by the Jaguars.
AFC Divisional Round: No. 1 Indianapolis Beats No. 4 Kansas City
It seems that Indy has taken on a new life as of late. The Colts are on a two-game win streak, and I am convinced that Dan Orlovsky has morphed into Peyton Manning. Orlovsky has no business throwing last-second, game-winning touchdowns!
Anyway, I think that Indy will be able to squeeze by Kansas City. Hey, the Titans and the Texans are much better than Kyle Orton and company.
These two teams did play once this regular season. Back in Week 5, Matt Cassel threw for 257 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-24 Chiefs win. But there is no Cassel now. The Colts will come out fighting and hang on for the win and a spot in the AFC Championship.
AFC Divisional Round: No. 3 Miami Beats No. 2 Cleveland
Whatever the Colts are drinking, they are passing and sharing with Miami. Matt Moore and Reggie Bush are putting on a show in South Beach, and the Dolphins are hitting a hot streak.
It will take more then Colt McCoy to douse this fire off. Bush and rookie running back Daniel Thomas are running wild in Miami making the Dolphins the ninth-best team in the NFL when it comes to running the ball.
The Browns defense is ranked second at defending the pass, but 30th at defending the run. This defense does not match up well with the strengths of the Dolphins. Expect Bush to pop a ticket into the AFC Championship.
AFC Championship: No. 3 Miami Beats No. 1 Indianapolis
In the history of the NFL, no team has played a Super Bowl at their respective stadium. That fact will hold true this year again. The Colts will not have enough firepower to beat the Dolphins and play the big game at home.
Matt Moore connects with Brandon Marshall as Miami beats Indy, 20-17. The clock has struck 12 on this fantasy for the Colts, and they are sent back to reality.
I have faith in a Miami team that is looking good as of late. The Phins will get an SAT like test in this matchup, but once it is all over, the Miami Dolphins will be Super Bowl-bound.
Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that!
NFC Wild Card Round: No. 6 Philadelphia Beats No. 3 Tampa Bay
The Eagles beat out a lot of 7-8 teams for the last spot in these fictional playoffs. They open up the postseason with a bang.
Both these teams had sky-high expectations coming into the season, and much like an M. Night Shyamalan movie they underperformed. The Buccaneers have been just downright awful this year. The Eagles have pulled a Khloe Kardashian, looking good one week, and the next week, looking not so good.
LeSean McCoy has been a Pro Bowl bright spot for Philly and will carve up a Tampa defense that is ranked last at defending the run. It will be a long day for Josh Freeman and company.
NFC Wild Card Round: No. 5 Carolina Beats No. 4 Washington
Until the quarterback situation in our nation's capital can be solved, the Redskins will have trouble beating anyone. That includes an upstart Panthers team who is 4-1 in their last five.
Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams will cause problems for the Washington defense all day. The Redskins defense is ranked 11th at defending the pass and 19th at defending the run.
If you match that up with a Carolina team who is ranked 11th at passing the ball and third at running the pigskin, you will find that Williams will be able to win this game for the Panthers.
Just look back at Week 7, when Newton had two touchdowns in a 33-20 win over Washington.
NFC Divisional Round: No. 6 Philadelphia Beats No. 1 St. Louis
Some one please hand St. Louis a bunch of bubble wrap. This will not be pretty. Barring a huge upset, The City of Brotherly Love has this game locked up like Lindsey Lohan.
The only way for the Rams to have any shot of coming out of this game alive is if Steven Jackson runs for 159 yards and two touchdowns like he did back in Week 8, when the Rams upset Drew Brees and company.
But the chances of that performance happening again are very, very slim. The Rams are ranked sixth in defending the pass and will force LeSean McCoy into running the football.
McCoy will have no problem destroying the worst run defense in the league.
NFC Divisional Round: No. 5 Carolina Beats No. 2 Minnesota
Remember when Minnesota beat Carolina back in Week 8? Yeah, that won't happen this time. I would pick the Vikings to beat the Panthers, especially when the game is in Minnesota, but I can't. Because this time, there won't be Adrian Peterson.
Without AD carrying the workload, it will be Christian Ponder versus Cam Newton in a battle of the young quarterbacks. It will be close, but Newton will get the job done for the Panthers.
Injuries hurt a team, especially the Vikings. This isn't a knock against Toby Gerhart, but Cam Newton will carve up the Vikes secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey.
NFC Championship: No. 5 Carolina Beats No. 6 Philadelphia
In a surprise victory, Carolina outlasts Philadelphia, 35-28. This is where the dream ends for the Eagles. It all comes down to one game on one Sunday, and this Sunday, the Panthers had a better team.
Philadelphia has been on and off like a light switch all year, and one can't expect them to play at a high level three weeks in a row. Philadelphia has never won four games in a row this season. Right now, they are riding a three-game win streak, though their last game was over a Dallas team missing Tony Romo.
The Panthers are a much more durable team, with four wins in their last five games, including a 28-13 win at a real playoff team, the Houston Texans.
DeAngelo Williams will have to make like a Broadway actor and perform consistently in these playoffs. But he will have a big game against an Eagles defense that is ranked 14th at defending the run.
The Super Bowl: Miami Beats Carolina
As time runs out in a crisp February evening at Lucas Oil Stadium, the scoreboard flashes 24-14 in favor of the Miami Dolphins.
And then, Matt Moore wakes up. This is, of course, only fantasy, but it still is fun to speculate the worst of the worst. Miami wins the Constellation Bracket behind Moore's 151-yard and two-touchdown performance. Reggie Bush proves he can be an every-down back running for 52 yards and a score.
Cam Newton finally falters, mustering only 128 yards and a pick. The confetti falls as Miami celebrates its championship.
And yes that was Reggie Bush who went around screaming "WE'RE NO. 13, WE'RE NO. 13!"