This article is part of our Breakfast Table series.
From: scott pianowski
Date: Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 2:36 PM
Subject: wild card breakfast
To: Mark Stopa
Simple assignment this week - analyze four playoff games. No talk of the Broncos, Seahawks, Patriots and Panthers - that's next week's assignment.
The Colts beat the Chiefs 15 seconds ago - how much does that matter? I already have a sneaking suspicion we're going to be on opposite sides of this game.
Are the Saints as simple as home/road analysis, or is that pattern a bunch of rubbish?
I don't know anyone who thinks the Chargers will beat the Bengals. Are we falling for fool's gold with Andy Dalton and Friends, or can Cincinnati make a run?
I found the Niners-Packers game the most difficult to analyze, so I'm glad you're going first.
Okay... go first.
From: mark stopa
Date: Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: wild card breakfast
To: scott pianowski
The Bengals fascinate me. Weeks ago, I wrote off a Dalton-led squad as a Super Bowl contender, particularly when they lost Geno Atkins and Leon Hall for the year. But didn't we all bury the 2012 Ravens prematurely after they lost a couple of key defenders? Can the 2013 Bengals be the 2012 Ravens? Cincy does have the AFC's best defense, right? Why does nobody trust Andy Dalton (third in the NFL in touchdown passes, behind only Peyton and Brees)? Does Dalton's playoff experience matter (as opposed to someone like Nick Foles)? I saw the