The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Fox and the Genius

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The Giants and Titans are the clear cut Super Bowl favorites headed for Tampa in February. There's no reason to think both won't make it, until you factor in there's still six games left before the playoffs even begin. Lots of time for strange and unexpected things to happen. So at this point, which are the top two threats to Tom Coughlin and Jeff Fisher?

In the NFC, it's probably a little easier to pinpoint -- John Fox's Carolina Panthers. Standing tall at 8-2 within an incredibly strong NFC South division, the Panthers have an experienced QB, a stud WR, and most importantly, a two-headed monster in its running game. The defense gives up an average of 15.5 points per game -- best in the conference.

Carolina is undefeated at home, which if things stay as they are, would prove critical as a #2 seed. Their two losses came on the road, however, Fox's team has showed their ability to win NFC title games on cold and unfriendly terrain. They will prove New York's biggest threat come January.

In the AFC, Tennessee's looming threats are still forming in the Atlantic. But there appears to be a storm gathering momentum in the name of Brett Favre. The 7-3 New York Jets have won four in a row, including two divisional road games. The emergence of Dustin Keller and the strong offensive line have opened the offense and options for Favre. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington provide a strong ground game and the Coles-Cotchery tandem pose problems of their own for opponents. They're done with New England this year and with Buffalo's fall and Miami's youth, the Jets control their own destiny. How convenient come Sunday when the schedule calls for Eric Mangini's team to head into Nashville. At 10-0, the Titans can officially begin the 16-0 chatter -- if they hadn't already.

If Tennessee sticks it to the Jets Sunday, then New York immediately drops a step in the ladder to the top. But if the Jets can keep the recent road magic going, they will have proven they can in fact win a big one. And with Brett Favre, anything's possible.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  November 18, 2008; 12:21 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: November 11th-18th Winner: GETTYLEIGH | Next: Panthers and Ravens

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