It’s finally playoff time in the NFL, and we know that in this league any team can get hot in the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Kevin Clark, Robert Mays, and Danny Kelly break down each playoff team’s best win, worst loss, team MVP, and path to the championship in this series of videos.
New England Patriots
Danny Kelly: It’s been the same for a decade and more. [Tom Brady] is just one of the most dominant players in the NFL, arguably the best quarterback ever. And with the way that the Patriots run their offense, they continually just pick on someone’s weakest link. And Brady is the best at executing that. He’s so good at changing plays at the line of scrimmage based on what the defense is doing. If the Patriots are going to win again, I think it’s because Tom Brady is the best player in the NFL.
Robert Mays: Their offense has been so impressive to me without [Rob Gronkowski]. I just didn’t think they could be this kind of team without him.
R.M.: This is an offense that can beat you in every single way. They have the best offensive line in the league. They have a running game that is just utterly dominant. Dez Bryant is just there. Which again, the fact that that is where we are with this offense is all you need to know.
D.K.: Dak Prescott’s been really good in situations where he needs to make a pass on third down, move the chains. He’s been really good by any standard, but as a rookie especially it’s unbelievable. … It’s just hard to beat them for 60 minutes.
R.M.: I know that the offense has been inconsistent, but you just see it in flashes. … If you just get the ball in the hands of [Le’Veon] Bell and [Antonio] Brown, it just feels like they’re a threat to score 30 every single week, and I’m not sure that there are that many defenses left in the AFC that can slow them down.
D.K.: That trio is one of the most dangerous in the NFL, but I think the other thing that you have to take into account with the Steelers is they’re a pretty balanced team. I think they just have enough playmakers on that defense to contend with some of the better offenses in the AFC.
R.M.: They have one of the most efficient offenses in the history of the league. They’ve had as many points this season as the [’00] Rams had. That’s the [seventh]-best total since 1990. … In my opinion, it’s the best-coordinated offense in football.
D.K.: The offense has made it so it’s almost irrelevant as to how bad the defense has been, but that defense has given up a lot of touchdowns through the year. … [The defense is] around teams like the Browns, the Jets. It’s bad.
Kansas City Chiefs
D.K.: They can really pressure a quarterback, affect him, move him, and get him off his spot. And then they have the playmakers to take the ball away.
R.M.: The defense is what’s going to take them there.
Green Bay Packers
Kevin Clark: There’s a case to be made that they could simply get outscored because of their defense, but I feel like if [Aaron] Rodgers has the ball with two minutes to go in a tight game he’s going to deliver. And that would be the streak for me, just Rodgers winning a couple games pretty much all by himself.
D.K.: [Jay Ajayi] is the foundation of the offense right now. He’s one of the top guys in terms of yards after contact. He makes a lot of offense on his own. … I think if they’re going to do anything in these playoffs, it’s because Jay Ajayi’s going to go off.
R.M.: I think they have a ton of playmakers on offense, an underrated stable of guys. Jay Ajayi’s had a great season, obviously, but their receivers — it just seems like all those guys can make a play. DeVante Parker is absurdly athletic. I’m a big Jarvis Landry guy, have been for awhile, and Kenny Stills has had a pretty resurgent season.
K.C.: I had no idea how valuable Earl Thomas was until we saw the Seahawks without Earl Thomas.
R.M.: I’ve never seen a team change this quickly when you remove one defensive player. Like J.J. Watt didn’t play this year and the Texans are still an OK defense. Earl Thomas is probably the most valuable defensive player in the league. … In my mind their best defensive player not named Earl Thomas this season has been Bobby Wagner. What he’s done as a pass rusher, everything else. So when you have guys like that, even if you’re not the team you used to be, you can still give people some fits.
D.K. If the Seahawks are going to go streaking, if they’re going to win it all, we’re going to have to see out-of-his-mind, ridiculous Russell Wilson.
New York Giants
K.C.: Odell [Beckham Jr.] is so much better than anybody else. He might be the best player in the league at this point.
R.M.: Would you pick any other playoff-bound defense over them right now? I think they have the best defense in the playoffs.
R.M.: It’s not easy at this point. I feel like if they are going to do anything in the playoffs it’s because they still have a very good offensive line, the most expensive offensive line in the league, where they really threw a lot of their resources the last couple of years. And I think they’re going to have to lean on that group and their running game, which has been much better this season than what it was last year. If they can’t run the ball, I’m not sure they’ll have enough with [Connor] Cook or [Matt] McGloin to score enough points to make up for their defense.
D.K.: Here’s the reason they could go streaking: It’s because they continue the magic that they have in the fourth-quarter comebacks this year. I saw a stat the other day, 15 out of their 16 games they [trailed in the fourth quarter]. They still managed to win nine games. So that’s something!
R.M.: So your case that why the Lions can win a playoff game is that at some point they will be losing that game?
D.K.: Yes. … I’m just trying something.
R.M.: They have enough talent in the front four to make big plays, to kind of shift the game just because there’s a sack-fumble, something like that. The way [Jadeveon] Clowney and [Whitney] Mercilus get after quarterbacks, plus the talent in the secondary. We underrate how good the defense is at times because of how bad the offense is.