There may be surprises in NFL playoffs

December 27, 1991|By Gary Myers | Gary Myers,New York Daily News

It seems so easy to figure out the playoffs this season: The Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills will meet in Super Bowl XXVI Jan. 26 in the Metrodome in Minneapolis. I like the Redskins to win it all, 20-19, with Chip Lohmiller hitting a 47-yarder just inside the right post on the final play of the game.

Here's how we rank the Super Bowl tournament teams in order on their chances to win it all:

1. Redskins: The whole package. They can score with the Bills, for sure, and play better defense than Buffalo. The Dallas Cowboys are the only team with a shot at winning at RFK and keeping them from the Super Bowl. Dallas has won there three of the last four years.

2. Bills: I don't see how anybody beats them in Buffalo in January. Remember how they took apart a pretty good L.A. Raiders team, 51-3, last year? I also see them joining Denver as the only team to lose back-to-back Super Bowls.

3. Denver Broncos: They always manage to ruin Super Bowls by getting blown out, but they are an experienced playoff team capable of hanging tough in Buffalo.

In the last two Super Bowls without the Broncos, the margin of victory was five points. In the last three with them, the margin was 96.

4. Kansas City Chiefs: Their road to the Super Bowl likely goes through Denver and Buffalo if they beat the Raiders tomorrow. They killed the Bills, 33-6, but that was in Kansas City. They have a running game and a defense that keeps them in all games.

5. Cowboys: They will have to do it all on the road, first in Chicago, then at some point at RFK. But they won in Washington and Philadelphia this season -- that's not easy -- and have become explosive offensively.

6. New Orleans Saints: Now that Bobby Hebert and the defense have returned, they are capable of winning a couple of close games to get to the NFC championship game.

7. Houston Oilers: To get back indoors at the Metrodome, they first will have to beat the New York Jets, then win outdoors in Denver and Buffalo. I don't think it can be done.

8. Detroit Lions: Major league revival in Motown, but playoff football is different and they need more than Barry Sanders. I can't imagine Erik Kramer starting a Super Bowl, can you?

9. Chicago Bears: Hard to see them getting it together after blowing the division title with 52-14 loss to San Francisco. One of the most overrated teams this season. Coach Mike Ditka had a lot of damage control this week.

10. Atlanta Falcons: Jerry Glanville is not a great playoff coach. His Oilers had the most talent in the AFC, but never made it to a conference championship game. The Falcons will make a quick exit.

11. New York Jets: Getting this far is a nice jumping off point to '92. They will play hard in Astrodome Sunday, but Oilers are too tough at home. This team is on the move and would have better chance to win in Buffalo than most.

12. Raiders: Impossible task -- winning at Kansas City, then Buffalo and then probably Denver. It looks like they gamble with Todd Marinovich at quarterback against Kansas City.

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