How can we not have a picture of Coach Harbaugh??? (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Amidst the revelry of the Jim Harbaugh signing, it's easy to forget the 2011 NFL playoffs actually start today. While we all knew about the playoffs, we've been so caught up in Harbaugheddon that most of us have looked past the start of playoff action today. We need an open thread for today's playoff action so I thought I'd use such a thread to rank the playoff teams as far as the order in which I would root for them. Number one is the one I want to win it all, number 16, not so much.
The playoffs kick off today at 1:30pm pacific with the 11-5 New Orleans Saints traveling to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in the first playoff game to feature a sub-.500 team. The Saints are a 10 point favorite and I know very few people who think this game will be close.
The second game at 5:00pm pacific features the 11-5 New York Jets traveling to the 10-6 Indianapolis Colts. I forget the stat, but somebody was telling me the Ryans (I believe dating back to Buddy, but I'm not sure) are 0-8 against Peyton Manning. I'm not 100% sure o the exactitudes of that win/loss record but it's not a pretty number. Personally I hope the trend continues.
Over at SB Nation they came up with a rootability ranking of the 12 playoff teams. Check the link for a breakdown of the why, but here are their rankings, divided up by conference:
1. Philadelphia Eagles - I'm a dog-lover, but I have to admit that Michael Vick potentially going to the Super Bowl is a pretty amazing story. I know a lot of folks can't stand him, and I can understand the anger. Nonetheless, if he's being legit about being changed then I view this as a good story. Throw in the explosive Desean Jackson and I'm sold on the Eagles.
2. Indianapolis Colts - If Peyton Manning somehow won a Super Bowl with the crazy injuries Indy has suffered, that'd be quite impressive. They're not all that exciting but I still find myself rooting for them.
4. Green Bay Packers - This is an Aaron Rodgers vote.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Just for their crazy turnaround this year. Not for Todd Haley's criminal misuse of Jamaal Charles screwing my fantasy team.
6. New England Patriots - My dad's from Boston, they're always are up there for me.
7. Baltimore Ravens - I'm a Flacco fan. Not many other reasons I enjoy them.
8. New Orleans Saints - Last year they were America's sweetheart team and now it's somewhat indifference if nothing else. Not disdain, but it's not the same as last year.
9. Chicago Bears - Only because the remaining three can't be above them.
10. New York Jets - See below
10. Pittsburgh Steelers - See below
10. Seattle Seahawks - See below
Somehow the Jets, Steelers and Seahawks all make me throw up in my mouth for one reason or another. I simply couldn't separate them. In reality they're not remotely close to the remaining nine teams. The Jets are bombastic and obnoxious. If I was a Jets fan I'd love it. As a non-Jets fan, I can't stand it and hope they lose. Pretty simple really.
The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger, which is reason enough to stick them at the bottom. And actually, I've never told anybody this, but I have an irrational disdain for Hines Ward. I don't know why, but that smile on his face after a big play annoys me for some reason.
Forget division pride. I'd rather see the Seahawks get absolutely waxed by the Saints this afternoon. Now that we've got Harbaugh, the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry should get a lot more interesting in 2011 and beyond. Let's start things off with a Saints beatdown of Seattle.