2002 NFL Playoffs
Super Bowl Challengers
The Baltimore Ravens will have a tough time defending their Super Bowl crown. The Ravens defense is still one of the best in the NFL but their offense is about as exciting as a Monday morning algebra class. The teams to watch out for in the playoffs are the St. Louis Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. All these teams have great defenses and quarterbacks that know how to get the ball into the end zone. Look for the Steelers and the Rams to go head-to-head at the Super Bowl on February 3rd in New Orleans.
The Detroit Lions (2 - 14) and the Carolina Panthers (1 - 15) made your gramma's old cat with no teeth look vicious. Both teams had horrible seasons. The Lions didn't win a game until December and the Panthers finished the season by losing 15 games in a row. The only thing more disappointing is that both teams could have set NFL records by losing all of their games - but they even failed at that.
Marshall Faulk was a lean, mean, offensive machine for the St. Louis Rams in 2001. He gained more than 2,000 yards for the fourth year in a row and ripped through opposing defensive lines all year. Quarterback Kurt Warner also had a great year for St. Louis but Marshall was still the main reason the team finished with the best record in the NFL.
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens once again proved he's the best defender in the NFL. He had more than 100 tackles and helped the Ravens squeak into the playoffs so they can defend their Super Bowl title. The other defensive monster in the NFL in 2001 was Brian Urlacher of the Bears. He slammed running backs to the ground, sent opposing quarterbacks crying to their mommies and helped the Bears win the NFC central division.
Rookie of the Year
Michael Vick may have been the first pick in the draft but the top rookie in 2001 was Chargers' runningback LaDainian Tomlinson. He rushed for more than 1,200 yards and was one of the few bright spots on San Diego's pathetic excuse for a football team.
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