A Guide to the NFL Playoffs for Giants Fans
To put it mildly, the 2017 season didn’t go exactly as planned for the Giants. Some bad things happened. A head coach and GM fired midseason here, locker room turmoil there, and three total wins is essentially the Sparknotes for this downright terrible season. So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the NFL playoffs.
With the Giants out, who do we root for?
First and foremost, whoever plays the Eagles. I don’t think there’s a simpler answer than that. I would much rather watch Tom Brady and the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl if it meant preventing the Eagles from winning their first. Having lived with Eagles fans in college, I enjoyed having a simple response to legitimately any argument thrown at me. Was it obnoxious? Yes! Do I care? No.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a look at the other teams. I’m going to rank them in order from least likable to most. The criteria I’m laying out for choosing a team is as follows:
- Have they won a Super Bowl before? If so, when was their last?
- How frequently do we see them in the playoffs?
- How fun are they to watch play?
12. Philadelphia Eagles: As previously mentioned, I’d rather watch just about any team in the NFL win a championship than the Eagles. They could even play the North Korean national team and I’d have to think long and hard about who I’m picking. I hope their fans never get to experience the pure and unbridled joy I felt during both Super Bowls 42 and 46. (No offense.)
11. New England Patriots: This one’s pretty straightforward. Are the Patriots fun as hell to watch play? Of course. However, they’re gunning for their third championship in four years. Who wants to root for that? As great as they are, for non-Pats fans it’s getting just a wee bit boring seeing them play on the final Sunday of the season. Let’s hope someone, anyone, from the AFC can overthrow them.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers: That is, of course, anyone other than the Steelers. They currently hold the record for most Super Bowl wins, so where’s the fun in rooting for that? The AFC, since 2003, has had either Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger or Flacco in the Super Bowl. That’s it. As great as the Steelers’ offense is, I’d much rather a lower seed make some noise and turn some heads.
9. Tennessee Titans: Someway, somehow, the Titans are in the playoffs. The Chargers — thanks to their own self-implosion over a number of games this season — are easily the best team missing the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Titans, who I can barely muster the excitement to type for, will be playing this Saturday. They averaged more points against than for, their leading receiver is their TE and their QB has more interceptions than touchdowns. Fun!
8. Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta, you had your chance last year. Instead of knocking the Evil Empire off and running out the clock, you ended up blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. This year was essentially a diet or store brand version of last season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Do the Falcons have enough on offense to outscore the Rams this week? Do we care?
7. New Orleans Saints: I will fully admit, I have nothing against the Saints. Out of all the teams left to rank, they’ve just won a championship most recently. They’ve moved from a pass-heavy attack behind the arm of Drew Brees to a much more balanced approach. Which, given the successes of both Mark Ingram and rookie phenom Alvin Kamara, isn’t a bad thing. Their defense is much better than it’s been since their last playoff appearance, so they’re definitely a fun team to watch.
6. Carolina Panthers: Ranking them ahead of the Saints is due — in great part — to their lack of a championship. And how close they were two years ago against the Broncos. Both their defense and offense are very solid, if not quite great. But, let’s be real, their only shot to go far is going to be on the back of Cam Newton. It would not surprise me if people’s dislike of Mr. Newton dropped him in some rankings.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: How nice would it be for Andy Reid to finally get the playoff monkey off his back? The Chiefs have some fantastic playmakers — between Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt — so if they properly distribute the ball to them, anything is possible. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1970, so their drought is only second to the Jets’. The Chiefs — if everything falls into place — could put a scare into New England. Or, Andy Reid will misuse timeouts like always. Either one.
4. Los Angeles Rams: How much fun is this team? First year coach Sean McVay took them from the worst offense in the league to the top scoring offense (at 29.9 points a game) in one season. This type of turnaround is unprecedented and it’s an absolute blast to watch them work (unless it’s against the Giants…). They last won a Super Bowl in 1999 as the St. Louis Rams, and honestly I wouldn’t be upset if they won it all this year. Their hiring of McVay and Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator has me hoping the Giants follow suit (sup, Josh McDaniels).
3. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have a legitimate shot to become the first team to play an actual home Super Bowl. Imagine that, at their brand new stadium with tons of crazed Minnesotans? Good lord. They have one of the best defenses in the league and an offense led by the surprising Case Keenum, who’s been more than solid this year. Plus, given their past playoff heartbreaks (hi, Blair Walsh and Gary Andersen), it’d be nice for the people of Minnesota to see some good come their way.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: This was a tough one for me. I almost put them first, but I couldn’t do it. The Jags have been a ton of fun to watch this year, in great part due to the fact that they’re actually good again. Obviously it’d be great to see a team with Tom Coughlin’s influence go far into the playoffs, and this Jacksonville defense can do just that. If Blake Bortles can limit his mistakes and Leonard Fournette steps up, they could very well see themselves into the AFC Championship game. Either way, it’s nice to see them back to relevance (shoutout David Garrard).
1. Buffalo Bills: It had to be them. I’ve watched the videos of their team celebrating that late touchdown from Andy Dalton that beat the Ravens and secured them a playoff spot too many times. The Rams haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1999; the Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. A vast majority of high school seniors weren’t even alive the last time they made the playoffs. While I think it’ll be tough for them to overcome Jacksonville’s defense, it’d certainly be one hell of a Cinderella story if they managed to make a run. I’m all in on Bills Mafia.
There you have it. Will we have yet another Patriots appearance in the Super Bowl? Will there be a team that goes on a Giants- or Ravens-like run? As long as it doesn’t involve the Eagles, it should be fun.