Is it a generic, almost clichéd way to approach the Championship games? Yes. But after years of writing about the Bears in January – whilst the Bears are often in hibernation – this is what we got. The four remaining teams in the NFL playoffs have valuable lessons to teach the Bears moving forward.
Tom Brady beat Brock Osweiler. Aaron Rodgers beat Dak Prescott. Ben Roethlisberger beat Alex Smith. Matt Ryan beat Russell Wilson. I understand that football is the ultimate team game but it isn’t coincidence that the four better quarterbacks all advanced this past weekend.
There are three kinds of teams in the NFL.
- Teams with star quarterbacks that can compete for titles every single season.
- Teams with better-than-average quarterbacks who won’t be in the postseason every year but can still be good enough to win a title here or there.
- Everybody else.
All four of these teams belong in the first category. (And half the league spends their time debating whether their quarterback is a category 2 or category 3 man.)
Three of the four coaches remaining are also three of the five longest tenured in the NFL. But…they’ve also had a franchise quarterback in their holster for the duration of their tenure.
IF DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS…
…how do you explain the NFC? Green Bay and Atlanta play little defense and are more than likely to blow their over/under of 61.5 out of the water.
Here’s how the eight teams that played in the Division round ranked in points allowed per game this season:
1 – Pats (win)
3 – Seahawks (loss)
5 – Cowboys (loss)
7 – Chiefs (loss)
10 – Steelers (win)
11 – Texans (loss)
21 – Packers (win)
27 – Falcons (win)
What do the four conference finalists have in common, however? All four are top 10 in turnover ratio. The lesson: you can survive playing subpar defense if you take the ball away from the opponent more than they take the ball away from you.