It seems increasingly the case that the regular season has little to do with post-season success. Best record, domination during the regular season, locking up a playoff berth early, getting a bye and HFA guarantee little in terms of post-season success. Rather, it seems almost the contrary: teams that struggle to make the playoffs but who have to weather adversity to fight their way in seem to be at an advantage in the playoffs over teams that have coasted during the regular season. We've seen it over and over again over the past decade. Pittsburgh went 15-1 in 2004 but couldn't get to the SB with HFA. In 2005 they had to win out just to make the playoffs as the #6 seed, and then won the SB having to play 3 road games. In 2005 Indy was the #1 seed but lost to #6 Pittsburgh (see above). But in 2006 they were the #3 seed, and weathered a rough stretch at the end of the season when their run defense got shreeded. They had to go on the road to Baltimore and win a 15-12 sqeeker before surviving against NE the next week. The Giants in 2007 and 2011 had to go on the road to win, and were no sure things for playoffs. The 2011 team had to play for their lives to win their way into the post-season. Similarly, the 2010 Packers had to play their way into the playoffs as a wild card before winning it all, whereas the 2011 team went 15-1 and got the #1 seed but got bounced by those same Giants. This year has been no exception. Baltimore started out 9-2 with a number of wins coming with a lot of lucky breaks, and then nearly fell apart down the stretch. They lost 3 games in a row for the first time in many years, including 2 home games for the first time in a long, long time, and were blown out at home by Denver. They lost 4 out of their last 5 games. But they regrouped when they had to, winning against the Giants at home to win the AFC North, and then they regrouped and went on the road and started building confidence slowly. It almost seems better to play 3 games, starting with a wild card game against a fairly week opponent, to get a confidence builder under your belt, than to have a bye week. Something to think about for next year. Maybe the goal shouldb't be to go 14-2 and dominate the regular season, scoring 550 points and having a 200 point differential over the rest of the league. Maybe we'd be better off scraping and fighting our way in. I don't know. But 12-4, 17-0, 14-2, 13-3 and 12-4 with 4 AFCCG appearances, 3 #1 seeds, and 2 SB appearances hasn't worked in terms of winning it all. Maybe it's just been bad breaks. Maybe not.