Friday, December 19, 2008
Dave in the City Transcript: Segment 3
Welcome back "In the City." I'm Dave Medina
Big time games going on in Week 16 in the NFL. Most importantly, you have teams fighting for the playoffs. This is probably one of the better playoff runs of the decade. Now then, let's see who the TEAMS TO BEAT are in the NFL.
Let's start with the AFC:
The Steelers would have to be the team to beat in the AFC. When you consider they've played so many tough teams in a row and come out ahead in most of them, one has to pay the Steelers a lot of respect. The only thing is, they still don't have an offensive line and their running game is running at 1/4 speed. It's a little rough watching Big Ben get hammered most of the time. So why are they "the team to beat?" The fact is, the Steelers defense is playing SO well, it has single handedly brought them to half of their wins. It reminds me of USC, in a way, with how dominant the defense is. Still, I'd guess the Steelers are about a 50/50 shot to get to the Super Bowl. Just goes to show you how weak the AFC is.
After them, I'd probably go with the Tennessee Titans. They have a sterling run defense, an average pass defense, and a solid running game. Chris Johnson and LenDale white are proving to be a good combo, as Chris Johnson is in the top 10 in rushing yards while LenDale White is Top ten in rushing touchdowns. If they can control the line of scrimmage and dominate time of possession, they have as good a shot as anyone.
So lets see, there's a big drop off after the Titans... you get a bunch of teams that are OK, but not world beaters. The Ravens are a solid team to look for in the playoffs. Unlike past years, they actually have a good quarterback. And for Baltimore, this is huge. The game against the Cowboys is going to be quite a show, and if they can beat them, perhaps they're better than we think. I've always liked their defense... its just that when it gets down to the 2 minute warning, they've folded in years past. We'll see if they can win a playoff game for the first time in 7 years.
I could see the Colts making the Super Bowl, but I'm still not convinced... but it wouldn't be impossible.
Now to the NFC...
The Giants have been THE team in the NFC but now they're starting to face some adversity. And you know what else? My feeling all along is that they're going to find a way to blow it in the playoffs. I still think this, but that doesn't change my opinion about who the best team is going in. The Giants are the best team in the NFC. Still, they are almost asking for a divisional round upset. I'll know more about their psyche once we see the Giants against Carolina this week.
After NY, I'd go with the Cowboys. Do you believe it? Now honestly, I cannot, for the life of me see this team making the Super Bowl. But I have to admit, ever since Phillips took over defensive coordinator, the Cowboys have improved on defense dramatically. For once, they're making use of their MASSIVE talent. The one thing that will stop them is themselves. They have the perchant for chokejobs late in the season. I'm not turning back on my stance: I think the Cowboys are due for a loss, assuming they even make the playoffs. If they make it to the NFC Championship, that would be a tremendous achievement for a team that has been mired in controversey since Week 1.
One team that many folks haven't considered is the Falcons. It's a long shot, but of all the teams in the field, I could definitely see Atlanta as a dark horse. Their defense is surely overrated, but they have good coaching, and a budding young QB in Matt Ryan. Hey, why not?
Finally, I'd consider the Carolina Panthers as a potential Super Bowl team, but it would take a LOT. The defense would have to play out of its mind for that to happen. Carolina rates middle of the pack in both pass and rush defense. So we'll see... it would really take some big games from Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart, and DeAngelo Williams to make it happen.
It looks like the Super Bowl matchup could be up in the air this year. In the NFC, my faves are Atlanta, and maybe Dallas going in... possibly Philly if they make the big show. In the AFC, easy, Steelers and Titans... The only problem with me going with the top 2 seeds here is that a top 2 seed almost NEVER makes the Super Bowl in this day and age. More than that, the #1 seed is practically the kiss of DEATH in the AFC. Before the Patriots ride in 2007, the last #1 seed to win the AFC was 2003 Patriots against the Colts.
Whew! Having this much up in the air is good for the NFL... it'll make the playoffs really exciting this year.
When we return here "In the City," we'll look at the best of 2008, month by month. It's up next.
This is DAVE IN THE CITY
Break: Aretha Franklin and Billy Preston, Auld Lang Syne