Sixteen weeks down, one to go. We are a few days away from the final weekend of the 2008 regular season. After Sunday, we will finally know which teams will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy in January.
As of now, we know there are seven teams, such as the Giants and Titans, that will be playing in January. However, there are still five spots up for grabs. The playoff scenario on how each team can get in to the playoffs is almost as confusing as the one we saw in the classic movie BASEketball:
"With the first seven months of the BASEketball postseason out of the way, the playoff picture is now starting to emerge. So, with last night's victory over Boston, next week the Beers must beat Indianapolis in order to advance to Charlotte. That's in an effort to reduce their magic number to three. Right, and then the Beers can advance to the National Eastern Division North to play Tampa.
"So, if the Beers beat Detroit and Denver beats Atlanta in the American Southwestern Division East Northern, then Milwaukee goes to the Denslow Cup, unless Baltimore can upset Buffalo and Charlotte ties Toronto, then Oakland would play LA and Pittsburgh in a blind choice round robin. And if no clear winner emerges from all of this, the two-man sack race will be held on consecutive Sundays until a champion can be crowned."
BASEketball may be a pointless movie about a made up sport, but the playoff scenario is confusing, right?
Miami, Denver, Baltimore, New England, New York Jets, and the San Diego Chargers all have a chance to make it in the AFC. Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia all have a chance to make it in the NFC.
With so many teams having the opportunity to play in January, what would make the best Super Bowl for fans to watch?
10. The In-State Bowl: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers or Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New York Giants vs. New York Jets
Not only would the winners get the Lombardi Trophy, but they would get bragging rights for the state of Pennsylvania, Florida, or New York (even though they play in New Jersey?).
Not only would this be fun for the teams but for the fans as well. There aren't many places in this country that have more than one football team in the same state.
9. Battle of the Top Two Fantasy Football Draft Picks: Minnesota Vikings vs. San Diego Chargers
This match-up would be perfect for all fantasy football addicts out there. No matter what league you played in, there's a 99.9 percent chance that LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson were the top two picks in your fantasy draft.
Both have had solid seasons. Despite knee injuries, Tomlinson has still been able to put up over 1,000 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. Meanwhile, Peterson has avoided the sophomore slump and put up over 1,600 yards rushing and nine touchdowns so far this season.
These two players will be at the top of the draft in all fantasy leagues for the rest of their careers. A head-to-head Super Bowl match-up would be fun for all fantasy fans to watch.
8. Super Bowl XXXV Rematch: New York Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens
In 2001, the Baltimore Ravens embarrassed the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV by defeating them 34-7. The Ravens became only the third wild card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl.
Just like 2001, the Ravens have one of the top defenses in the league. Eli Manning has matured as one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last couple of years. This may be two different teams from the 2001 game. However, it would still be entertaining to watch.
7. Two Teams Trying to Become the First Six-Time Super Bowl Champion: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Cowboys and Steelers have played each other three times in the Super Bowl, with the latest being in 1996. The triple-threat of Aikman, Smith, and Irvin helped lead the Cowboys to a 27-17 victory of the Steelers.
Each team has won five Super Bowls in their franchise history. Whenever these two teams play each other, it always ends being an entertaining game. Three weeks ago, the Cowboys appeared to have a victory sealed before Tony Romo threw an interception to Deshea Townsend that cost them the game.
6. It's Up to You, New York, New York: New York Giants vs. New York Jets
I'm aware, I mentioned these two teams together in the "In-State Bowl" but for some reason, this matchup seems to be something that fans have waited forever to see.
We have two teams from the same state who play their home games in the same stadium at the Meadowlands. We have two Pro Bowl quarterbacks who have already won the Super Bowl.
New York is a city that is very passionate about their teams, no matter what sport it may be. If these two teams end up in the Super Bowl against one another, the winner will have the ultimate bragging rights for the Big Apple.
5. Nobody's Perfect: New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
Last season, the New England Patriots had a chance at perfection. They were one game away from a 19-0 season in which they would have gone down as one of the best teams in NFL history.
Whether they want to admit it or not, the New England Patriots wanted to win Super Bowl XLII more than anything in the world. Tom Brady's squad had the opportunity to become only the second team in NFL history (1972 Dolphins) to go undefeated the entire season and win the Super Bowl.
Thanks to the New York Giants, the Patriots started out 18-0 before losing Super Bowl XLII, 17-14. Tom Brady may be out, but we all know that he would love it if Matt Cassell could lead the Patriots to another Super Bowl win.
4. Two Heartwarming Stories of a Miraculous Turnaround: Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Last season, the Miami Dolphins had one of the worst seasons in NFL history. After a horrendous 1-15 season, they knew they had to make some changes.
First major change: Bring in Bill Parcells as Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
Second major change: Sign Chad Pennington after he was released from the New York Jets.
The Dolphins have a chance this weekend to win the AFC East title.
The story for the Atlanta Falcons is a little different. Last season was a season to forget for Arthur Blank.
Michael Vick went to jail. DeAngelo Hall was a headache. Bobby Petrino resigned with a few games left in the season. What more could go wrong?
In the 2008 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected quarterback Matt Ryan out of Boston College with the third overall pick. Blank then signed former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith to be the Falcons new head coach. In their first season together, Ryan and Smith have helped the Falcons clinch a playoff berth with the possibility of a division title after this weekend.
The amazing story about these two teams is nobody expected them to be where they are today. After everything they went through last season, we all thought it would be at least two or three years before they would be considered a threat to the rest of the league.
If these two teams ended up playing in Super Bowl XLIII, it would be one of the most heartwarming stories in Super Bowl history. It has a long shot, but it could happen.
3. A Tale of Two Veterans Getting a Second Chance: Tennessee Titans vs. Arizona Cardinals
In the 2006 NFL Draft, Vince Young and Matt Leinart were drafted by the Titans and Cardinals as the quarterbacks of the future for each franchise. Young is under a five-year deal with option for the sixth that could be worth around $58 million. Leinart has a six-year deal worth $51.
What do these two quarterbacks have in common? They have both been replaced this season by two veteran quarterbacks.
After Young suffered a knee injury in Week One, Kerry Collins took over as quarterback. His play has been well enough to give him the starting job for the entire season as Tennessee has already wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Before the start of the season, Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt named Kurt Warner the starting quarterback over Matt Leinart.
Not only has Warner had an MVP type season by passing for 4,320 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he has led the Cardinals to their first division title since 1975.
It's hard to see the Cardinals making the Super Bowl after losing four of their last five games. Whether either of these two teams make it or not, Collins and Warner have been great stories for the 2008 regular season. Two veteran guys showing us they still have what it takes to get the job done.
2. A 35-Year Old Veteran Faces His Former Team: Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants
Kerry Collins spent five seasons playing for the New York Giants. In 2001, he led the Giants to a NFC Championship title as they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.
This time around, Collins is playing for his fifth career team, the Tennessee Titans. The New York Giants are led by Eli Manning and are without their star wide receiver, Plaxico Burress.
Each team holds the number one seed and home-field advantage in their conference. These two teams are arguably the best two teams in football. It would only be fair to see both number one seeds battle it out to become Super Bowl champion.
1. Two Brothers, Two Different Teams, Only One Winner: Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Giants
Over the last couple of years, I have been working on a theory. After much given thought, I have established the theory that if your last name happens to be "Manning," there is a really good chance that you will go on to be a successful quarterback in the NFL.
The New York Giants are defending Super Bowl champions and have locked up the number one seed in the NFC. After a 3-4 start, the Indianapolis Colts have become one of the hottest teams in football at the right time as they have won their last eight games.
At the beginning of the 2007 season, the Colts beat the Giants in the first Sunday Night game of the regular season. This was the first time that two brothers who played quarterback would face off against each other in a regular season game.
The amount of hype for this game was insane. All week, there were constant commercials about how the Manning brothers would be facing each other for the first time.
If you thought there was a lot of hype for a regular season between these two future hall of fame quarterbacks, imagine how much hype there would be if these two ended up playing each other in the Super Bowl together.
The great thing I love about these two guys is they respect each other. When Peyton won his first Super Bowl, Eli was there supporting him. When Eli won his first Super Bowl last year, Peyton was in the press box cheering for him.
The one thing I want to know, who do you root for if you are Archie Manning?
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