NFL playoff race heats up as season winds down

Now that the NFL season is entering its fourteenth week, the playoff picture is starting to take shape and it is more evident who will be in the playoffs.

Though there are some that seem to be a definite playoff teams, what about those  that are under the radar?  Last year’s Super Bowl champions: the New York Giants went into the playoffs hot but underrated. Let’s be totally honest. No one expected the Giants to be the NFL champions, but they shocked the world.

It seems that there are no dominant teams in the NFL. There are solid teams, but none talented enough to say that they are the team to beat.

With that being said, who could be this season’s under-the-radar team to watch out for?
Indianapolis Colts: I feel that if there is an under the radar team ready to make some noise in the NFL, it would be the Colts. Though they are not the same Colts from Super Bowl XLI, they still have some firepower on offense, an underrated defense, and some quarterback named Peyton Manning.

The Colts will not win the AFC South, but they are still a team to watch out for. Their physical defensive line and elusive secondary will be difficult for teams to take on. And do not let Manning’s age fool you; he is still arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Therefore they are always a contender.

Washington Redskins: The Redskins may be the third best team in the NFC East, but they are still dangerous; their defense is pretty solid, especially their linebackers.

The Redskins’ offense has been inconsistent this season, but running back Clinton Portis has been a huge factor on that questionable offense.  Regardless of their inconsistency on offense, they still have a quarterback on the rise in Jason Campbell and wide receivers that can break out any game. As long as Portis keeps playing the way he has all season, the Redskins have a fighting chance.

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Chicago Bears: The Chicago Bears have the formula that has won championships since the NFL’s existence: tough defense and a solid run game. Though Kyle Orton is not much to look at playing quarterback, he has an awesome defense and rookie running back Matt Forte backing him up.

This is not the same Bears team that went to the Super Bowl a few years back, but they can still beat up on great offenses. Try not to sleep on the Bears too much, because defenses win championships.

Atlanta Falcons: If there is a surprise team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons are it. Though the Miami Dolphins had the worst record last year, many were expecting them to still have a better season than the Falcons. The Falcons were already counted out even before the season started.

But here are the Falcons in the middle of the playoff mix. Though their defense is not as good as they could be, their offense has been surprisingly decent. Matt Ryan seems to be a stud at quarterback, and Michael Turner is definitely playing like the $40 million man. And to all the Jets fans, John Abraham is a solid defensive end, not a bust.

He has consistently terrorized quarterbacks all season long. In order for the Falcons to do well, their defense has to step up.