Pro Football Weekly editors Jon Styf and Kyle Nabors debate which Wild Card team has the best chance to reach the Super Bowl.
Nabors: 2017 was a weird year in a lot of ways, so it was kind of fitting that the year ended with the Bills making the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They're not the only unfamiliar team in the postseason, though. So my question to you, Jon, is which Wild Card team has the best chance at playing for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis?
Styf: The obvious answers are the teams that lost the past two Super Bowls from the division, the NFC South, that you were right in telling me was the best in football. But I won't go there. I'll pick the Tennessee Titans because I like their matchup this week better than the Falcons' or Panthers'.
Nabors: I don't think you're crazy picking Tennessee, but I do think you're wrong. The Chiefs were admittedly horrific during the middle portion of the season. But they've put it back together, and I don't see Marcus Mariota going to Arrowhead and pulling out a win. What gives you confidence in the Titans?
Styf: Mainly, it's the way Mariota led his team to the playoffs with Sunday's win. I get it, the Titans are flawed, but I like Mariota and his ability to make things happen. And he's got plenty of offensive talent around him to make the plays to win a close game, which I think it will be. Who is your pick?
Nabors: I honestly don't feel great about any of these Wild Card teams, but I've learned to expect weird things to happen with this NFL season. With that being said, I'll take the Panthers as the likeliest of the bunch to reach the Super Bowl. The Saints are going to have a tough time beating Carolina for a third time, and while I realize Cam Newton is capable of putting up a dud at any moment (see last week for an example), I also believe he gives the Panthers the highest ceiling of any Wild Card team. It's OK to tell me I'm crazy with this one.
Styf: What about the Bills? You mentioned them right away, then we both shied away and picked other teams. What are their chances of winning at Jacksonville, a stadium that has a party pool but not exactly a lot of history of being a spot where its NFL team wins playoff games. They've won two there, in 1999 against the Patriots and in 2000 against the Dolphins.
Nabors: OK, I like where you're going with this. The Bills back into the playoffs after benching their starting quarterback for turnover-machine Nathan Peterman midseason before going right back to Tyrod Taylor. On the other side, we get the Jaguars with Blake Bortles beginning to make the masses believe he's a competent quarterback. You know, it makes a lot of sense given the way this season has unfolded.