This NFL season expectations were met at an all-time high.
Seventeen weeks past, 20 team's dreams of playoff aspirations are dead, now we have the top twelve teams in the NFL.
Now it is time to break down each of the conferences to determine as we pick the favorite to go into the golden 50th Annual Super Bowl Championship Game. Let's start with the National Football Conference.
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The safe favorite: Arizona Cardinals
Out of the seeded teams 1-4, I went with Arizona, note this wasn't an easy choice for me with Carolina playing the way that they've been playing.
However, even though the Cardinals didn't necessarily prove that they are a top two team in the NFC against Seattle, their season stats still proves otherwise.
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Arizona are in the top ten in every major Offensive and Defensive category; Total Offense (1st), Passing Off. (2nd), Rushing Off. (8th), Total Defense (5th), Passing Def. (8th), Rushing Def, (6th).
Carolina, meanwhile, are 6th in Total Defense, 11th in Passing Defense and 4th in Rushing defense, whilst losing Charles Tillman in the secondary is huge.
The Cardinals have also lost Tyrann Matthieu, however, but they have more weapons on both sides which make it easier to consider them a favorite.
The team no one wants to face: Seattle Seahawks
Despite being 20th in Passing Yards per game, the Seattle Seahawks are still top three in the league in total offense and rushing yards, in addition to being in the top three in each defensive team stat category.
Seattle, after an unsure start of the regular season, they seem to have got themselves on track for a run to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year, a feat that hasn't been done by an NFC team.
Since Week 13 against their Wild Card match-up opponent Vikings, all but one of the Seahawks victories been double-digit wins (A loss to the Rams 23-17).
The "One & Done": Minnesota Vikings
The question every sports analyst has been asking since they beat the Packers in Week 17? "Has the Vikings made a mistake winning the division?"
I'd answer that with a solid yes. Going up against an opponent that defeated you on your home turf 38-7 in addition to holding your star player to 18 yards rushing and eight attempts is a disappointing outcome for winning your division.
Also the fact that the Vikings are 29th in Total Offense and 31st in Passing Yards going against a team like the Seahawks will worry the Vikings ahead of this weekend's game.
Wild Card: Seahawks: 34 Vikings 14
Packers: 27 Redskins: 26
The Redskins honestly should've won 11 games this season, some of their losses that they suffered shouldn't have even happened - for example, Week 1 vs. Miami and Week 13 vs. Dallas.
I think they will make it very interesting against Green Bay at FedEx Field, however, 25th in Passing Defense against a top three quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, that's just enough to put Green Bay over the Washington Redskins.
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks:
Seattle 24, Carolina 21
Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals:
Arizona 31, Green Bay 21
Seattle @ Arizona
Seattle 26, Arizona 20 OT
Although the Cardinals are the safest pick in this conference, Seattle has been to the mountain-top before.
Note, the safest pick isn't necessarily the "clear cut" favorite to win. Seattle's overall defense, consistent running game, and solid game managing with Russell Wilson behind center as a whole put them in a higher pedestal than the rest of the playoff field in this conference.
The Seahawks recent playoff experience and a solid coaching staff behind them clearly put Seattle in a solid place to win the NFC and reach the Super Bowl for the thirdrd in a row and fouth overall in franchise history.