All of the teams headed toward the playoffs seem to have question marks that could limit how far they advance. The Breakout Live team debates which team is the least flawed heading into the playoffs and how far they could go.
George “Cannonball” West
New Orleans is the team that is headed to the Super Bowl. Locking down home field advantage for the playoffs has assured that. The Saints are 6-1 at home in 2018, where they average 34 points per game. The Saints have won their home games by an average of 12.4 points (including beating the #2 seed Rams by 10). In seven home tilts, Drew Brees is completing his passes at an incredible 76.3%. He has thrown 21 touchdowns and only ONE pick. In 236 pass attempts, Brees has only been sacked 9 times. For the entire season, the Saints are #1 in defense against the run, yielding only 78 yards/game and #8 in points allowed at 21.3/game while they are #2 in points scored per game at 32.7.
Once New Orleans sweeps through the playoffs at home, the flawless Saints will march about 469 miles from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in anticipation of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
It’s hard to remember a time that so many playoff teams looked so flawed. Just look at the #1 seeds in each conference. The Saints have one of the better offenses in the NFL and the #1 rush defense, but their pass defense is among the worst. The Chiefs and Chargers are both coming off losses, and the Chiefs in particular haven’t looked the same since cutting Kareem Hunt. Just about every other team has major issues that could doom them come playoff time.
At the stage, the team that looks the least flawed to me is the Chicago Bears. They’ve won 8 out of 9, including shutting down the high-powered Rams, and they boast the NFL’s 4th best defense that is effective against the run and pass. No, I don’t love Mitchell Trubisky, and the Bears are a middling offensive team in terms of yardage. But they are ranked 9th in points scored, which is the offensive stat that really matters, and Trubisky is putting up sufficiently decent numbers to support a contender. I actually expect the Bears to win at home and then on the road in Los Angeles to make the NFC Title game, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bears shuffled their way to the Super Bowl.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
The Chargers are the least flawed of any of the 12 potential playoff participants. Unfortunately, the 5th seed is only favorable for one week, sending them most likely to Houston for Wild Card Weekend.
No team offers the balance of offense and defense the Chargers possess, and they have a guy in Philip Rivers who, if not beaten back by Baltimore, is right in the midst of league MVP talk. Houston would appear to be an easy win for Los Angeles. After that it’d be off to New England or Kansas City where they just beat the Chiefs. While possible the Chargers could beat either Kansas City or New England, I think there road ends after a victory in Houston, leaving the other more flawed teams to duke it out for the right to go to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.