It’s the most exciting time of year, the NFL Playoffs is underway. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the world gets turned upside down as Tim Tebow and the Broncos eliminated the Steelers this past weekend. The action is only just getting started, and we had seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Reed, who is a Hall of Fame finalist this year, weigh in and share his thoughts on how things might play out. Join Andre Reed for Over The Middle on ProPlayerInsiders to get his thoughts on the playoffs, Super Bowl and his OTM recipes to enjoy while you watch the games.
ZB: In the AFC, the Broncos, Patriots, Texans, and Ravens remain. Which team do you think will make it to the Super Bowl and what is it going to take to get there?
AR: First of all, I’m not a predictor, the playoffs are a different season as you can see by what happened with Denver winning in the matter that they did. They’re going into New England to face the top seed, and I think that the Patriots’ defense is a little suspect and Tebow brings a different kind of flavor to the game. I’m sure they’re aware of that will have to combat that. When Tebow’s making plays, all the other players want to make plays too, and that’s the kind 0f momentum you want to have in the playoffs.
I still think that the Patriots will win that game, it won’t be a breeze like it was the first time they met in Denver though. I believe it will be the Patriots against the Ravens in the AFC Championship and I think New England will win that game and see them as the favorite to represent the AFC. You can’t go wrong with Tom Brady, they have a beast of a tight end in Gronkowski, and a lot of weapons and guys that can get to the zone. It’s a little bit more open than the NFC though.
ZB: Same question for the NFC… the Saints, 49ers, Packers, and Giants are left. Who’s the favorite, in your opinion, to make it to the Super Bowl?
AR: Everybody’s picking the Packers, because you gotta go through Lambeau to get to the Superbowl. You gotta beat the champs. I’m not taking anything away from the Giants, they’re probably playing the best football of anyone in the playoffs right now. They have as much chance as anybody to upset the Packers in Green Bay, and they did it a few years ago. They’ll have to be on all cylinders, all parts of their game working, and Eli has play way above his normal level. He’s playing great, but he’ll have to play pretty flawless to beat them there. I’m only going to pick the Packers because they’re at home.
I think the best game is going to be New Orleans and the 49ers. I think Drew Brees is the MVP this year (even though everybody is going to say it’s Aaron Rodgers), based on what he’s done, from breaking Marino’s record, to silently doing what he can to put the Saints in the position they are in right now. They have just as good of a chance as anybody to make it to the Super Bowl this year. The 49ers defense is pretty stout, but they’re going to be tested when a train comes to San Francisco that’s rolling the Saints are right now.
If the Saints end up playing the Packers [for the NFC Championship] it will be one of those who-has-the-ball-last type of games. You never know because of the weather in Green Bay, it could end up being a low-scoring game. But with those two offenses, the key will be which of the defenses can stop each other at a crucial point in the game. They both can put up 30 or 40 points pretty easily, that would be one of the best NFC Championship games in a long time if that ends up being the matchup.
ZB: You’ve been involved with charitable organizations ever since you’re playing days. What are you up to these days?
AR: My foundation is called the Andre Reed Foundation. Our mission is to help people, especially children, in any way we can. We sell my signature wristbands and a special “Over the Middle” sauce that goes great with chicken, beef, pork, fish and even pizza. A portion of the proceeds go to Kids Escaping Drugs. KED is an organization out of Western New York that I have been involved in since I played in Buffalo. To find out more about The Andre Reed Foundation click here.
When Andre Reed retired after the 2000 season, he ranked third all-time in receptions (951), sixth in receiving yards (13,198) and seventh in receiving touchdowns (86). He made three NFL All-Pro teams and he was elected to the Pro Bowl seven times. Reed and Jerry Rice are still the only receivers in the history of the league to catch at least 50 passes in 13 different seasons.
Notorious for his ability to turn short catches into long gains, Reed was equally as devastating to opposing defenses in the postseason. In 19 playoff games, he had 85 receptions for 1,229 yards and nine touchdowns. In the Bills’ historic comeback against the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason, Reed caught eight passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. His 27 catches for 323 yards in four Super Bowls rank second and third all-time, respectively.