NFC East: nfl playoffs

Expanded NFL playoffs: Yay or nay?

December, 13, 2012
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the league would spend the next few months considering playoff expansion. But is the idea even worth exploring? Would further expansion of the playoff field be good for the game or the fans? Our NFL experts weigh in.

The Playoff Predictor starts with the premise that three of the four home teams are likely to win their divisional round games this week and works off of that. I think that's a healthy perspective. Sure, the New York Giants can beat the Packers in Green Bay. But if they did, it would be an upset.

So the Playoff Predictor took a look at all four games and ranked them in order of most likely upset. It gave the third-seeded Saints the best chance, giving them a 50.23 percent shot at taking out the 49ers, who are actually the Vegas underdogs. So I guess they're giving the Niners a 49.77 percent chance to upset. Anyway, next are the Houston Texans, whose defense and running backs give them a 40.68 percent chance of beating the Ravens. Then we get to the Giants and a 33.33 percent chance of taking out the defending champs. This is what the Playoff Predictor says about it, for you non-Insiders:
The Giants, on the other hand, have been a tale of two teams, crumbling against weak opponents like the Redskins and Seahawks and stepping up against the Jets and Cowboys to secure a playoff spot. Eli Manning and the Giants' passing offense rank sixth in the league in terms of total efficiency added, and showed why in a 24-2 win over the uninspired Atlanta Falcons. But will the Giants be able to keep up with the high-flying Packers, in Lambeau of all places? As the magic 8-ball would tell you, the outlook doesn't look good. We have the Packers by a touchdown, as they continue their march toward the Super Bowl, but a one-in-three chance isn't terrible for New York.

Not terrible at all. And as the Predictor points out, these Giants aren't the same Giants they've been all year. If the Giants had been playing defense and running the ball all year the way they have the past few weeks, the Predictor would be sitting here this week talking about some other team's chances of upsetting them. So we'll see. Only five more days.

Herm Edwards likes the 'hot' Giants

January, 10, 2012

Our man Herm Edwards was on "SportsCenter" this morning, talking up the New York Giants in advance of Sunday's playoff game against the Packers in Green Bay. Here's the video, but Herm's basic point is that the Giants are a dangerous team because they're coming in hot and have been playing playoff-style games for three straight weeks.

"This is a hot team coming into the playoffs, kind of like Green Bay was last year," he says. "They had pressure games on them just to get into this."

He also points out the stuff we've been discussing about the healthy pass rush and Eli Manning and the Giants playing well on the road. All worthwhile points.

Look, I don't know if the Giants will beat the Packers on Sunday, and I think we'd all agree that it'd be an upset if they did. The Packers are a 15-1 defending Super Bowl champ playing at home and coming off a bye. There's not a team in the league that would be favored against them Sunday, and the Giants are no exception.

But I know the Giants can beat the Packers. As Herm points out, they only lost by three points last time. They're healthier now, and their confidence level is downright stratospheric. Don't be surprised to hear more analysis this week like Herm's, because the Giants right now are as legitimate a candidate to go into Green Bay and pull the upset as is any team in the league.