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Parity rules the NFL playoffs in ‘09 season

The NFL playoffs truly have been wacky this year and that is exactly what the league wanted.

Or at least that is exactly what they should expect in the league of parity. I mean having two No. 6 seeds still alive and a No. 4 seed in the championship round is unheard of, but it is definitely a product of the parity the NFL pushed several years back.

Another odd thing about this year’s playoffs is that the Top-3 defenses are still alive in the championship round. That may not have ever happened, but it happened this year. This is more proof that defense wins championships as the old adage goes.

The Steelers are the only team that had a bye remaining and remain the team I hope wins it all. Pittsburgh has dominated on defense all year while getting good production from its offense.

But the surprising part of the playoffs involves the three other teams still alive. The Baltimore Ravens are probably one of the best No. 6 seeds ever. They have the No. 2-ranked defense right behind Pittsburgh and they will play them for the AFC Championship Sunday.

This Ravens team only had five losses and two of those were to the Steelers.

They probably would have won any other division with that tenacious defense.

And on the other side of the league, the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles pulled off upsets to get into the NFC Championship game.

The Cardinals seemed to be down and out after clinching their division and limped into the playoffs, but they took out the streaking Atlanta Falcons and destroyed the No. 2 seed Carolina Panthers en route to their first ever championship game since moving to Arizona.

The Eagles were an up and down team all year and snuck in as the No. 6 seed on the NFC side. They powered their way past the Minnesota Vikings and upset the defending Super Bowl champs to earn their bid.

This weekend should bring an interesting two games and I can’t wait for it.

Matt Nascone is the sports editor for The Messenger. He can be reached at 670-6315 or online at matt.nascone@troymessenger.com.