The 2014 NFL season’s playoffs received more controversy than any other January in the league. Fluke calls, bad plays, injuries, you name it. Cowboys, Lions, Steelers, Packers and even Broncos fans are complaining non-stops about how they should’ve played in Arizona and what not. Assuming that the game changers in the playoffs turned out differently, this is what would’ve happened:
PASS INTERFERENCE AGAINST BRANDON PETTIGREW
This was by far the worst call in Playoffs history. A clear pass interference on Hitchens was reversed by the refs. However, if the flag wasn’t retracted by the refs, the game would’ve ended differently. The penalty would give the Lions a fresh set of downs in Cowboys territory. Since they were leading by six in the fourth quarter with eight minutes left, they could clinch the game easily. Lions could score a touchdown, or at least a field goal. In Cowboys territory, Lions wouldn’t hesitate to take some time to snap the ball and run it to reduce time on the clock. Tony Romo will flop on the game winning drive, setting up the Lions in Lambeau field.
Rodgers will still be injured, therefore he will not have the superstar performance he had during the early weeks of regular season. The Packers had a narrow escape against the flawed Cowboys defense, but against the number three total defense in the league, the Pack will fall. After the triumph over the Cowboys, Cadwell and Stafford would’ve been inspired by the win and give too much for Rodgers to handle. Green bay loses, the game, and the Lions are onto Seattle.
The Lions, unfortunately, will fall short. Stafford might be a good QB, but not good enough to dissect the legion of Boom. Lions fall short, and Seattle ends up in the Super Bowl.
DEZ BRYANT’S CATCH
Sorry to tell you, Cowboys fans, this catch would’ve not won the game for you. If the catch was a completion, the Cowboys will take the lead. However, the lead is only two points. Aaron Rodgers has a QBR of 108 in the fourth quarter, and threw for eight touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Those two picks were both thrown on the road. With four minutes remaining, Rodgers could’ve drove the ball to Cowboys territory with ease. Since it would’ve been a two point game, they Packers don’t even need to score a touchdown to win it. A field goal could’ve done the trick. Packers go to Seattle, and in this scenario, it will turn out just the same as real life. Sorry Dallas, maybe when you have Sean Lee and a defense, you guys can get a Super Bowl.
BRANDON BOSTICK DROP
This is a simple topic. If Bostick maintain control of the football, Packers go to XLIX. However, they would not been able to keep up with the Patriots. Packers forced four turnovers, and they only scored 22 points in the entire game. Just think about that for a second. four interceptions, and you only scored 22 points? If you kick a field goal each time, you get 12 points. thats only ten away from what they scored. Not even including all the other drives they played. Late in the fourth quarter, Morgan Burnett picked off Wilson. He could’ve returned the ball to the Seahawks zone and help the Packers score even more points. I could go on and on about this, because overall, the Packers just had so many blown opportunities! When you are given four extra drives, you only score two touchdowns in the entire game? What are they doing on offense? Back to my original topic, the Packers would be hammered by the Patriots. These guys barely defeated the Pats in regular season at home, and you expect this team to win in the Super Bowl? Not to mention that the QB is injured. Sorry Green Bay, this was not your year.
The Baltimore Ravens were able to conquer their rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers during the divisional round. The Ravens, however, were lucky. Pittsburgh were without Leveon Bell. If he wasn’t injured, Ravens would’ve lost the game. The Steelers were close on mounting a comeback, but too many mistakes in the minutes costed them the game. If Bell was there, he would’ve done some more damage. Not a lot, but he would’ve picked up some more first downs for the Steelers. Ravens exit the playoffs, and Big Ben leads his team to Foxborough.
Pittsburgh is 19th in total defense. They have a great secondary, but the rush defense is awful. They rank 27th in rushing defense and facing Legarrette Blount would’ve been a challenge.. The Steelers are much like the same. They are too One Dimensional. Sure, they have the no.1 offense, but you need a defense to win championships. For 2015, the Steelers need to work on defense, just like the Cowboys.
As you can see, the Patriots and the Seahawks are still favoured to play in the Super Bowl. Even with these different scenarios, they mostly lead to Tom Brady vs Russell Wilson in Arizona. You might not agree with me, but remember, these simulations are purely based on numbers, team history and blueprints of winning Championships. If your team is too one dimensional, (Cowboys, Lions and Steelers) If your best players aren’t 100%, (Broncos’ Peyton Manning; Torn Quad/ Packers’ Aaron Rodgers; calf tear) you won’t be 100% effective. Right now is a time where teams begin to build their foundations, so good luck to them, and thanks for reading.