Saints Vs. Packers Among Best Possible Matchups Remaining In 2012 NFL Playoffs

The NFL playoffs enter the divisional round with eight teams still alive. After this weekend, only four teams will remain. SB Nation's NFL playoffs roundtable looks at the best possible matchups for both the AFC and NFC Championship games.

The AFC and NFC divisional rounds are set as we have four games on tap for the weekend: Giants vs. Packers and Saints vs. 49ers in the NFC while the AFC features the Broncos vs. Patriots and Texans vs. Ravens.

By this point in the season, the playoff matchups are usually pretty great because you've whittled down the list of teams stilli alive to the top eight. And next weekend, the AFC and NFC championship games, the matchups should be even better.

That's the question SB Nation's NFL playoffs roundtable wants to answer: What's the best possible matchup for the championship games in both the AFC and NFC?

The best NFC matchup should be obvious (to most people) but the best potential AFC matchups should bring out some debate. Our roundtable participants are SB Nation NFL bloggers David Fucillo and Jason Garrison, as well as myself, SBNation.com's NFL editor.


Related: 2012 NFL Playoffs Schedule | NFL Playoffs Coverage

David Fucillo: The two best possible matchups for the general fan would be the Green Bay Packers versus the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots versus the Baltimore Ravens. They don't have some of the fun upset storylines teams like the 49ers and Broncos would bring to the table, but they bring some amazing football opportunities.

For the NFC title game, we would get a rematch of an entertaining season opener. The Packers and Saints have the two best offenses in the NFL and even in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, I suspect we would get one more shootout. Defensive battles can be great, but as they say, chicks dig the long ball. For the AFC title game, Patriots-Ravens would provide an offense versus defense matchup for the ages. The Patriots offense is out of this world and the Ravens defense remains one of the best. The chess matchup between the Ravens defense and Patriots offense would be something to behold.

Jason Garrison: When it comes to the best matchups possible for the AFC and NFC Championship games, it's pretty simple. In the NFC, the best matchup would be between two of the highest powered offenses in the league, and in the AFC the best matchup would be between another high powered offense and one of the league's toughest defenses.

In the AFC, the best possible matchup in the conference championship would be between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. The Ravens' tough defense could give the Patriots' high-flying offense a challenge and Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense could take advantage of the Patriots' low-ranked defense and create a shootout. In the NFC, we'd be in for a massive treat if the Packers and Saints could recreate their NFL season opener in which Green Bay beat the Saints in a shootout in New Orleans. If these teams win in the divisional round this weekend, all NFL fans could be in for one great ride in the conference championship round.

Joel Thorman: The best possible matchup in the NFC is easy -- Saints vs. Packers. The two met in the first week of the season -- the Thursday night season opener on NBC -- and it was one of the best games of the season. They're two of the best offenses in the league ranking No. 1 (Packers) and No. 2 (Saints) in points scored. Plus, they have arguably the two best quarterbacks in the game and everyone loves quarterbacks. This is an easy pick.

The best matchup in the AFC isn't so clear but I'm going to pick a surprise -- Broncos vs. Texans. Yes, a potential Ravens vs. Patriots game would be great as well -- elite offense vs. elite defense -- but the NFL is about parity and getting fresh blood into the playoffs every year. Neither the Broncos nor the Texans made the playoffs last year and it would be a terrific game knowing we'll have either the Texans, who are onto their third quarterback this season, or the Broncos with Tim Tebow in the 2012 Super Bowl.

Previous NFL Playoffs Roundtable: Dark Horse Super Bowl Candidates | Can Tim Tebow And The Broncos Beat The Patriots? | Who should be on upset watch this weekend?

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