There’s no fun involved in watching your team lose — but there’s no better medicine than wishing for apocalyptic things to happen to the teams you despise. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the eight teams that remain in the NFL playoffs and how Patriots fans should divvy up their rooting interests.
Break Out the Voodoo Dolls
8. Indianapolis Colts
This one is pretty self-explanatory, just like those "I Hate Peyton Manning" T-shirts that get sold down by Fenway Park. The Patriots and Colts have been at the center of this generation’s greatest rivalry, and a Colts Super Bowl victory would put them into the conversation for team of the decade. Plus, it would give Manning his second title in the last four years, and it would be the Manning brothers’ third Super Bowl since 2006.
8. Indianapolis Colts
7. New York Jets
Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a reporter’s dream, but for a fan, his arrogance is tougher to stomach than a drawer full of steak knives. And would you put it past cornerback Darrelle Revis to wear his Super Bowl ring while covering Randy Moss next season? The Jets are loud, no doubt, but the Patriots can always quiet them by carrying around their Lombardi Trophies. If Ryan gets a ring, you know he’ll ask Bill Belichick to kiss it, and that’s not an invitation that should be exposed to anyone’s ears.
Grab a Bottle of Pepto
6. Minnesota Vikings
They’ve got a bunch of likeable players, led by defensive end Jared Allen and running back Adrian Peterson, and it’s been a while since they’ve had a chance to experience some extended postseason success. But there’s that Brett Favre guy, and there’s no further explanation needed.
5. Dallas Cowboys
LeBron James roots for the Cowboys, meaning he bailed on Belichick’s Browns as a youngster. And the Cowboys have that whole self-appointed "America’s Team" label that seems to irritate everyone like a hot rash. And the Cowboys have five Super Bowl titles, so they aren’t hurting in that category.
4. San Diego Chargers
If nothing else, the Chargers look like the best thing going right now, and they’d be a deserving Super Bowl champion. While quarterback Philip Rivers rubs some people the wrong way, he is truly respected by many in the Patriots’ locker room for the guts he displayed by playing on one leg in the 2007 AFC Championship. But then again, running back LaDainian Tomlinson has no problem telling the world he hates the Patriots, and linebacker Shawn Merriman allegedly assaults women. So, yeah, there’s that.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Before Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Ravens, NFL Films caught an on-field conversation between Belichick and Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh. Belichick told Harbaugh, "If it isn’t us, I hope it’s you," when discussing the Super Bowl, so it appears we know where Belichick’s rooting interests lie. There’s also less shame in losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion, and Ravens-colored confetti would, to some extent, validate the tail-whipping they laid on the Patriots.
No Blood, No Foul
2. Arizona Cardinals
Their air-it-out offense is fun to watch, and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is one of the real good people in the NFL. The Cardinals don’t pose any real threat to the Patriots, and Pats fans can just reminisce about the 40-point beatdown their team so graciously handed the Cards last season. Plus, the Patriots had to be impressed with how close the Cardinals came to shocking the Steelers in last year’s Super Bowl.
1. New Orleans Saints
They’ll probably be the people’s choice across the league, and they’ve grown exponentially more popular since rejuvenating the city after Hurricane Katrina. The Saints are also exciting to watch due to their high-flying offense, and quarterback Drew Brees is one of the most well-liked players across the league. As for Patriots fans, well, they know how nice the city of New Orleans has been to them, and maybe those Bourbon Street hand grenades will be served at half-price in celebration of a Saints Super Bowl.
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