|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NFLThe history of the NFL playoffs is littered with ugly games, but the winners of enough of those games often make it to the Super Bowl.
But in 2011, both the AFC and NFC division championships were won by good teams playing ugly games against underdogs that almost beat them. The Packers and Steelers survived, true, but neither team played remarkably well this past weekend, almost failing to make the Super Bowl odds and letting the underdogs make it to this year's big game.
And that can mean problems for either team's chances to win the Super Bowl. In the second half of the NFC division championship, the Chicago Bears almost came back from being down by 14 points to take the Packers' place in the Super Bowl. If Bears QB Cutler had been in the game the whole time, we may have been looking forward to a Steelers-Bears matchup.
The Steelers did not do much better in their division championship game against the Jets. The Jets and the Steelers were pretty evenly matched, but New York came out playing like they didn't feel they belonged in the Super Bowl. Being down 24 points in the second half, the team engineered a remarkable comeback, but it was just short of putting them on top of the game.
So, instead of an underdog from either division making it to the Super Bowl this year, we get to watch two good teams battle it out, despite their not having played up to their full potentials in their previous games. And with all the excitement, distractions, and stress that come along with every year's bowl game, can we expect either the Packers or the Steelers to play really well?
If one team or the other had crushed their opponents last week and decisively taken either the AFC or the NFC championship, it may be easier to predict with team would win the Super Bowl. But with both teams coming off pretty ugly second quarters that could have cost either team their chance at Super Bowl glory at all, picking a favorite becomes much more difficult.
Currently, sportsbook odds are leaning toward the Packers as the slight favorite to win in 2011.