By Dan Leach/Follow Dan on Twitter @DTMLEACH
Many Detroit Lions fans are heart-broken, but there is still football to be played and there is no better cure for a football hangover, than more football :) Here is how I see the NFC playoffs shaping up – complete with the current Vegas odds to win the conference and the best value if you happen to be making a trip out to the desert to spend some of that holiday cash. And……Away …….We…..Go!!
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 14-1 TO WIN NFC
(DTM ODDS VALUE SCALE 1-10) (6.5)
The Saints are a very good team, but some late season slip ups cost them the division and forced them to open on the road. They are capable of beating Philly in the City of Brotherly Love, but this team has just been too inconsistent over the past six weeks to truly trust. If QB Drew Brees does his thing and the Saints secondary vastly improves its play, they have enough talent to make a run. PREDICTION: Lose First Round
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 9-1 (6)
Ohhhh the Igles! This is a squad that looked like geniuses with new coach and “innovator” Chip Kelly. Early in the year, they could not buy a win, then looked like they could beat anyone in any condition late in the year. QB Nick Foles will have to play the best football of his career and RB Shady McCoy will have to run like he did in the Lions game though if this team wants to make serious noise in the NFC. PREDICTION: Lose NFC Divisional
GREEN BAY PACKERS 8-1 (4)
I can’t trust the Packers as far as I can throw them. They were literally handed the division by the sad sack Detroit Lions and yet still almost gave it away to a Bears team that had talent, but way, way too many holes to lose to the Pack after the Lions gave both teams the keys to the NFC North. It is huge for Green Bay to have A-Rod back, but with a defense that too often resembles Swiss cheese and a truly inconsistent offense that struggles to close. I simply see no value in G.B. For the Pack to get out the first round they will need a minor miracle and absolute perfection against the Niners. PREDICTION: Lose first round
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 5-1 (7.5)
The Niners have all the makings of a team that could go on a run to the Big Game yet again. The issue though is that they have been turning the ball over waaaay too much and have had offensive dead spells that have really hurt them. Going on the road will be tough in the first round, but this is a team that knows how to win in January. If QB Colin Kaepernick plays at a very high level and the Niners’ D gets back to their aggressive turnover-pick-six-best, This team would not surprise me at all if they are playing for another SB Title like last season. PREDICTION: Lose NFC Divisional
CAROLINA PANTHERS 5-1 (7)
I simply love this Panthers squad. If they had gotten home field throughout I would have made them my Super Bowl pick. Winning their division and getting the first round bye was huge though. They are the only team I really feel good about being able to go into Seattle and pull out a win. If QB Cam Newton is fearless and the Panthers D plays aggressive like they have over the past month plus, this team is capable of winning it all. PREDICTION: Lose NFC title game
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 11-5 (8)
Now this is the reason that I can’t make the Panthers my NFC or SB pick. The Hawks are simply too good at home. Yes, they have had some weird losses over the past month to San Fran and Zona in games they were outplayed, but they are so good at home it would take a monumental collapse for them to lose at Century Link Field. If the Seahawks stay focused and QB Russellmania Wilson continues to show why he is one of the best in the game, this team will be in NY in Feb. PREDICTION: Win NFC
Dan Leach recently circled the globe lofted high above the sky on nothing but a lawn chair and 800 helium balloons, was the first human journalist to interview Dracula , is being blamed for the sub-zero temperatures around the Eastern United States due to his top secret work on a “Weather Machine”, invented time travel when he hit his head on a port-a-potty on Oct 15, 1985, and is a finalist for the first human manned mission to former planet Pluto.