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Charles Robinson is joined by Yahoo's Joey Gulino to chat about the five teams they feel most confident in heading into the NFL playoffs. While conference leading Kansas City and Green Bay are easy picks, who are the dark horse candidates Charles & Joey feel could make their case for Super Bowl 56?
CHARLES ROBINSON: will give you my AFC, my NFC team, and then, like, a dark horse league-wide, like, just a dark horse team that I really think is a team that I really have a lot of belief in. Some of this is gonna be easy, at least for the NFC, because it's obviously Green Bay. Like, there's no question that Green Bay, to me, I think, league-wide, they're healthier. They're getting healthier. I am looking for teams that are, like, close to what they were when the season entered, in terms of personnel. And the Packers have a chance, when the playoffs kick off, to be pretty close to what they were, personnel-wise, when the season started in terms of health. Now, nobody can get injured here down the stretch either, but they've set themselves up nicely.
Rodgers, despite the fact that he clearly feels, like, you know, I saw the cancel culture shirt, and, like, he's the least canceled, most complainy guy about cancel culture. I mean, no one's trying to cancel Aaron Rodgers, nor could they. I mean, whatever. He just gets mad because people talk about him. But the reality is he is an unbelievable quarterback. He's playing at an MVP level again. There's no getting around that. You can say whatever you want about the guy, you know, and I have, but as a football player, he's unquestionable. He is a dominant, Hall of Fame-- He's everything we thought he would be, and to see him do it at this stage of his career is worth all the merit that Tom Brady gets. You know, we talk about Tom, and what's Tom doing at this advanced age? Well, look at Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is not a spring chicken, and he is playing, bar none, I think, close to the best back-to-back seasons he's ever had in his career, when you put the two seasons together. So, to me, it's Green Bay.
AFC, I'm gonna go with Kansas City, because they did something I didn't think they could do. I thought Kansas City, the only way they could kind of get out of the death spiral-- and it wasn't even really a death spiral. It was just a really rough patch-- the only way they could get out of it was for the offense to click and basically pull them out of it. But then kind of a switch flipped after acquiring Melvin Ingram, moving Chris Jones inside, getting healthier on the back end of the defense. Frank Clark, once again, showing up again, which I thought-- I had written him off. They got a lot better defensively, and I really, really love that they are trending into, like, a groove going into the final stretch of the season defensively, and I still fully believe that offense is gonna be fine. I think it's taking a while to kind of click and move themselves forward. Now they have this COVID outbreak, which is crazy, and I know that, you know, that's gonna shake a lot of people up. But I still think that is the team that, ultimately, is gonna give-- I would be more afraid of them, I think, in the AFC picture, than anybody else.
My wild card, I'm gonna talk about Dallas. I'm sorry. There's a reason, though. I really, really, really like Dallas defensively. And I really love so many young pieces have stepped up over the course of this season. There were guys that I didn't even know could contribute that have. Randy Gregory has really turned a corner. They missed him when he was not in that lineup, and it instantly showed as soon as he got back in. I do think that Dallas is a team that, offensively, will get it back running again, get it back clicking, maybe not 100%, but pretty close. And I also think they have a similar comparison to Green Bay, in that I think, when the postseason gets here, they have a chance to be pretty close, roster-wise, to what they were healthy starting the season. So I love health, as you can see, and I love teams that are vibing defensively going into the postseason. And so, to me, all three of those teams have some element of health, or there's an element of health and defense that I really like what they bring to the table.
JOEY GULINO: Yeah, I actually have all three of those on my top five too. The Patriots got the culture again-- I go back to this a lot-- with Bill Belichick, and, you know, he gets the most out of his guys. They're really good on defense all around. And even though they lost last weekend to the Colts, what was almost the tired reprieve that we were all talking about? Can Mac Jones played from behind? You know, if he falls behind 10, he's a much different guy then when he's ahead 10 or whatever. And first of all, who is that not true for? And second of all, I thought he played pretty well, you know, down under those circumstances. And, you know, if we're gonna say Jonathan Taylor belongs in the MVP conversation, and he does, it took an MVP-level of play from him to kind of, you know, make that game a little more comfortable for the Colts at the very end. And so I guess I liked the Patriots in a loss last week, and I'm not gonna flip out on them. I still think that they're a pretty darn good team, and, you know, if they can win this weekend, they'll have at least one home game, so that'll be great for them.
The Bucs are a little bit of my wild card here because of-- The Godwin injury is huge. I'm not saying it's not, and they have a lot of guys out. Lavonte David is one who is not being talked about as much as the other guys, I don't think, from what I've seen. They're gonna win the division. They're gonna get one home game. And they still have Tom Brady. I'm sorry. I still feel they're viable, and even though they had a horrible day of decimating injuries on the offensive side of the ball, Fournette could be back for the playoffs. They're gonna get some guys, and I feel like they're still pretty trustworthy, again, in a year where no one else is really that trustworthy. The biggest thing is I trust the Bucs. I still do. I think it's easy to look at what happened to them on Sunday and say, this is a really bad situation. And it's not great, but they're getting Antonio Brown back, and we can have a conversation about him, and his, you know, vaccination status, idiocy, and all that, but he's still a really good player. And they've still got Gronk, and I'm just not leaving them. I think that, you know, this is a dip, and I'm buying the dip on the Bucs.