Could Bears be the 2012 Giants?

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Could Bears be the 2012 Giants?

Picking the Super Bowl winner for 2012 is relatively easy from the standpoint of simply looking at the 2011 playoff qualifiers and selecting a Green Bay or San Francisco for a repeat high finish.

More intriguing is IDing a team that will be a major playoffSuper Bowl player despite not even making the playoffs the year before -- like the 2011 New York Giants.

A surprise here will be if the Bears are not high on that list. They were 7-3 and ahead of Detroit and the Giants on playoff rankings at the time of Jay Cutlers injury and the expectation is that with Cutler back and other obvious upgrades, this will be a team of note.

Indeed, a handful of NFL.com analysts have their handful of teams and the Bears are the only team to be picked by more than one expert.

Jason Smith and Steve Wyche both see the Bears as a definite prospect for being next seasons Giants. Jason LaCanfora thinks it will the San Diego Chargers; Pat Kirwan sees the Carolina Panthers riding Cam Newton to 16 or 17 wins. And Adam Rank has a thing for the Miami Dolphins.

A good point to keep in mind was that the Giants were in the playoffs and winning a Super Bowl, not through their excellence, but by virtue of jaw-dropping incompetence and largesse on the parts of a significant portion of the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys should have given the Giants a fifth consecutive loss in their first 2011 game with New York. Tony Romos pass to a stunningly open Miles Austin was beyond a disaster and the Giants had no real role in forcing that abomination pass.

The Giants were in the Super Bowl because a San Francisco 49ers punt returner loses two balls, one simply by being stupid enough to have it bounce off his knee.

And do you realize how many truly bad plays the New England Patriots had to deliver for the Giants to escape with a four-point victory?

Those things happen every year and as many games are lost as are won. But the Giants of 2011 are not a particularly high standard. Frankly, if the Bears are the Giants of 2012, meaning they are 9-7 and backing into the postseason, the Fire-Lovie-Smith calls will be deafening long before the wild-card round of the playoffs.

One Tom Brady stat that is guaranteed to make Bears fans depressed

One Tom Brady stat that is guaranteed to make Bears fans depressed

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl.

Ho hum.

Just another year in the NFL.

Brady's excellence has blown well past historical proportions and is now getting into the territory of surreal. 

Following Sunday night's victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game, The MMQB's Peter King released this whopper of a stat:

That is a punch to the gut of Bears fans who have seen their favorite team make the playoffs only once in the last decade and tally just four postseason victories over the past 26 seasons (dating back to 1991).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

However, the Bears shouldn't feel too bad. King singled them out, but he could've formed the Tweet around more than two dozen other teams because Brady's 24 postseason victories are more than 25 (!!) NFL franchises and tied with another (the New York Giants) all-time.

Yes, that means Brady has won more playoff games than the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and on and on.

Only the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders have more postseason wins than Brady and the Patriots only have seven playoff victories in games without the three-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback.

And if it makes Bears fans feel any better, Brady has as many playoff wins by himself as the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans combined.

Brady's run of success with Bill Belichick and the Patriots is remarkable and likely won't ever be duplicated (let alone surpassed).

In less than two weeks, Brady will play in his seventh Super Bowl — the most ever for one player — and as such, means we've seen Brady in 13.7 percent of the Super Bowls all time (h/t Business Insider).

The Atlanta Falcons, on the other hand, have been around since 1965 and are headed to only their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

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