Teams That Won't Make the Super Bowl This Year
So, knowing what we know now about resting your starters versus playing them, and how there is an unbelievable, un-spotted record concerning this statistic, we can point out the teams that won't likely be attending the Super Bowl this year. These teams either played their starters very little or not at all.
Indianapolis Colts, repeating a sad tradition.
New Orleans Saints, already fading as it is, may very well have an early exit.
Those two teams played their starters the least, and in the Colts' case, they did it for two weeks, and now a bye week. These teams will be going in cold. They may very well lose their first playoff game. Even if they make it past their first game, they will lose the Championship game against whomever they play.
I also have concerns about, yes, the San Diego Chargers. Playing hot, they pulled the starters pretty early and now they have a bye week. History is not good for these teams, even like the Chargers. They may get a break with how weak the AFC is this year, but I would not be surprised if they got beat. It's just the way this final game, playing your starters or not, works, especially for a team getting a bye week and essentially will be off for 2 weeks.
Also, the Cincinnati Bengals aren't exactly high on the list, either. That was a woeful performance against the Jets, who I think have a chance to sneak up on some teams and I pick to beat these same Bengals in the playoffs this upcoming weekend.
The Arizona Cardinals will also likely lose to their Week 17 opponent, the Packers, after resting their starters. It's not as bad when you don't also have a bye week, but they aren't going to the Super Bowl regardless.
These teams played their starters for the most part or all of the game:
Vikings, Cowboys, Eagles, Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Jets.
If history repeats itself, it will be two of these teams in the Super Bowl. Weird, huh? Can you imagine any of those AFC teams being the representative? That's why the Chargers might be the first team in at least a decade (I haven't done the research that far) to make the Super Bowl after significantly resting their starters. Still, don't be shocked if they lose.
The Patriots lost Wes Welker, by the way, by doing the right thing. I see that and I still think you need to play your starters. There are two things that are troublesome for the facts at hand:
1. You can injure your starters by playing them in the last game. Of course, it's completely OK if you injure your starters for the season in the first game of the year. No one second-guesses you then.
2. There is still a chance a team that rests their starters makes it to the Super Bowl, especially if you have a conference as weak as the AFC is this year.
I still believe in what the facts tell me, though. Even if there is an anomaly this year, the evidence is overwhelming on what you should do.
Picks for Wild Card games this weekend:
Patriots over Ravens
Jets over Bengals
Cowboys over Eagles
Packers over Cardinals
If true, this would set up these match-ups:
Patriots at Chargers
Jets at Colts
Cowboys at Vikings
Packers at Saints
I'm not going to venture any further, considering I could be completely wrong about my Wild Card picks, but those are some very interesting match-ups for the Divisional games.