2011 NFL Playoffs: Every Team’s Easiest, Toughest Path to the Super Bowl

It is finally that time of year again.

It’s time to start 0-0 because the NFL Playoffs have arrived.

There’s no waiting til next week—it is win or go home, baby.

The caliber of the NFL teams this year in the playoffs is truly remarkable.

There are four to five teams in each conference that have a realistic chance and think that they can go to the Super Bowl in Dallas this February.

What I did here is list every playoff team’s easiest, toughest, and realistic road to the Super Bowl.

No one said it’s going to be easy, but some roads are just easier than others.

Your path could consist of hosting the fifth and sixth seed, or it could be as hard as playing on the road against the top three seeds.

One thing is for sure—and this statement can be made every year—the teams that will play in Dallas will truly have earned the right to play there.

For a ranking of all possible Super Bowl match-ups, click here.

Note: The “Realistic Road to the Super Bowl takes into account my predictions on who they would play based on who I think will win the other games. I assume in this instance that they win every game that they play in.

NFC Playoff Schedule

Wild Card Round: January 8th and 9th

No. 6 Green Bay Packers at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles—Sunday, 4:30; FOX

No. 5 New Orleans Saints at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks—Saturday, 4:30; NBC

Divisional Round: January 15th and 16th

Higher rated seed at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons—Saturday, 8:00; FOX

Lower rated seed at No. 2 Chicago Bears—Sunday, 1:00; CBS

NFC Championship Game: January 23rd; 3:00 p.m. FOX

Higher rated seed at lower rated seed

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1. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

  • Other possible opponents: No. 5 Saints, No. 6 Packers

Championship Round: vs. No. 2 Chicago Bears

  • Other possible opponents: No. 3 Eagles, No. 4 Seattle Seahawks , No. 5 Saints

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 5 New Orleans Saints

Championship Round: vs. No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 5 New Orleans Saints

Championship Round: vs. No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

_______________________

2. Chicago Bears (11-5)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

  • Other possible opponents: No. 3 Eagles, No. 5 Saints

Championship Round: vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers

  • Other possible opponents: No.1 Falcons, No. 4 Seahawks, No. 5 Saints

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Championship Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Championship Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

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3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Chicago Bears

  • Other possible opponents: None

Championship Round: vs. No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Falcons, No. 5 Saints

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Chicago Bears

Championship Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Chicago Bears

Championship Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

_______________________

4. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 5 New Orleans Saints

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Chicago Bears

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Falcons

Championship Round: vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Falcons, No. 2 Bears, No. 3 Eagles

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 5 New Orleans Saints

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Championship Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 5 New Orleans Saints

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Championship Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

_______________________

5. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Chicago Bears

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Falcons

Championship Round: vs. No. 6 Green Bay Packers

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Falcons, No. 2 Bears, No. 3 Eagles

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Championship Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Championship Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

_______________________

6. Green Bay Packers (10-6)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

  • Other possible opponents: None

Championship Round: at No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

  • Other possible opponents: No. 2 Bears, No. 5 Saints

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Championship Round: at No. 5 New Orleans Saints

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

Divisional Round: at No. 1 Atlanta Falcons

Championship Round: at No. 2 Chicago Bears

_______________________

AFC Playoff Schedule

Wild Card Round: January 8th and 9th

No. 6 New York Jets at No. 3 Indianapolis Colts—Saturday, 8:00; NBC

No. 5 Baltimore Ravens at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs—Sunday, 1:00; CBS

Divisional Round: January 15th and 16th

Higher rated seed at No. 1 New England Patriots—Sunday, 4:30; CBS

Lower rated seed at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers—Saturday, 4:30; CBS

AFC Championship Game: January 23rd; 6:30 p.m. CBS

Higher rated seed at lower rated seed

_______________________

1. New England Patriots (14-2)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

  • Other possible opponents: No. 4 Chiefs, No. 5 Ravens

Championship Round: vs No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

  • Other possible opponents: No. 2 Steelers, No. 3 Colts, No. 5 Ravens

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

Championship Round: vs. No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

Championship Round: vs. No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

_______________________

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

  • Other possible opponents: No. 3 Colts, No. 5 Ravens

Championship Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Patriots, No. 4 Chiefs, No. 5 Ravens

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

Championship Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Divisional Round: vs No. 3 Indianapolis Colts

Championship Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

_______________________

3. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Other possible opponents: None

Championship Round: vs. No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Patriots, No. 5 Ravens

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Championship Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Championship Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

_______________________

4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Patriots

Championship Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Patriots, No. 3 Colts

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Championship Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: vs. No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Championship Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

_______________________

5. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

Divisional Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Patriots

Championship Round: vs. No. 6 New York Jets

  • Other possible opponents: No. 1 Patriots, No. 2 Steelers, No. 3 Colts

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Championship Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Championship Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

_______________________

6. New York Jets (11-5)

Easiest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 3 Indianapolis Colts

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

  • Other possible opponents: None

Championship Round: at No. 5 Baltimore Ravens

  • Other possible opponents: No. 2 Steelers, No. 4 Chiefs

Toughest Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 3 Indianapolis Colts

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Championship Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Realistic Road to the Super Bowl

Wild Card Round: at No. 3 Indianapolis Colts

Divisional Round: at No. 1 New England Patriots

Championship Round: at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

_______________________

What Will Happen?

Wild Card Round: January 8th and 9th

AFC: No. 3 Indianapolis Colts at No. 6 New York Jets

AFC: No. 5 Baltimore Ravens over No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs

NFC: No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles over No. 6 Green Bay Packers

NFC: No. 5 New Orleans Saints over No. 4 Seattle Seahawks

Divisional Round: January 15th and 16th

AFC: No. 1 New England Patriots over No. 5 Ravens

AFC: No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers over No. 3 Colts

NFC: No. 1 Atlanta Falcons over No. 5 Saints

NFC: No. 3 Eagles over No. 2 Chicago Bears

AFC Championship Game: January 23rd

AFC: No. 2 Steelers over No. 1 Patriots

NFC: No. 1 Falcons over No. 3 Eagles

Super Bowl: February 6th

Atlanta Falcons over Pittsburgh Steelers

For a ranking of all possible Super Bowl match-ups, click here.

Topics: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

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