The NFL playoff picture is nearly complete as Week 16 is approaching. We’ll highlight the biggest difference-maker on each contender currently in the playoffs.
With only two weeks remaining in the 2018 NFL regular season, there’s only a few spots still up for grabs in the playoff chase.
The AFC must flesh out the final Wild Card spot as the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, and Tennessee Titans are battling, though the Ravens could still win the AFC North and thrust the Pittsburgh Steelers into the mix. The NFC must hash out their race for the last Wild Card race between Minnesota and Washington, and the Dallas Cowboys will most likely seal the NFC East next week if they win.
We’re going to focus on the teams currently in the playoffs as-is. Each team has a set of playmakers that are routinely relied upon, but we’re going to look at the difference-makers who must step up for their team to overcome the odds and make the Super Bowl. Whether they dominate a game or provide a clutch touchdown, these are the most likely names to be the hero outside of the superstars.
New Orleans Saints – Ted Ginn Jr.
Choosing a candidate to be a surprising difference-maker for a team known for squeezing production out of no-namers is difficult. The New Orleans Saints have benefitted from touchdown receptions from the following players in 2018: Zach Line, Dan Arnold, Tre’Quan Smith, Josh Hill, Austin Carr, Keith Kirkwood, Cameron Meredith, and Tommylee Lewis. Literally anyone signed off the street is a candidate when Drew Brees is your quarterback.
But the smart money here is for Ted Ginn Jr. to be the one to takeover a game after he returns from injured reserve. Head coach Sean Payton confirmed it’s possible for Ginn to come off I.R. as he’s been encouraged by his rehab. The Saints, lacking a true deep threat on the roster, would benefit from Ginn’s immense speed.
With 12 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns, Ginn is still the seventh-leading receiver on the team despite missing 12 weeks. He’s not a priority option when he plays but the 33-year-old can break open a game on a deep post route like few others. He’s the perfect candidate to have one reception for 55 yards and a touchdown in an important playoff game.