It's wild-card week in the NFL playoffs, the start of the best five weeks of the football year. Steve Politi, columnist for the Star-Ledger (N.J.) returns to the Dan Wetzel Podcast to discuss the postseason.
[ Playoffs: AFC/NFC seeds and matchups ]
The fortunes of the surging New York Giants, who were all but left for dead (and Tom Coughlin fired) a few weeks back start things off. Exactly when did New York realize it had something in Victor Cruz? Does this validate Coughlin's style – and place further questions on Rex Ryan's? And where do the Giants keep finding these man-eating defensive linemen such as Jason Pierre-Paul?
The Giants' chances against the Atlanta Falcons get broken down before the sagging saga of Tim Tebow gets addressed. No one gives Tebow and the Denver Broncos a chance against the menacing Pittsburgh Steelers defense and the question is whether he can ever be effective now that NFL coaches know how to defend him.
Or more to the point, can Denver really go forward with Tebow as its quarterback and if the Broncos released him, what team would pick him up?
Yeah, that's how bad it's been the last three weeks.
Dan and Steve try to figure out if the Cincinnati Bengals-Houston Texans game is the least anticipated playoff game (outside of its respective markets) ever played? Then they try to make any sense of the AFC, which from the New England Patriots on down seems questionable – the Baltimore Ravens have to be the favorites.
[ Related: Each playoff team's fatal flaw ]
Drew Brees' rising MVP campaign merits note, but mostly as the jumping off point about how absurd it is for the media to vote on such an honor (in any sport at any time).
Finally the question of the Detroit Lions, a 10½-point underdog in New Orleans is broached. Yes, the Lions are a long shot, but considering their ability to score and at least potential to make plays on the defensive line, are they the X-factor of the hyper competitive NFC bracket?
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