12 November 2007

Let's Talk Playoffs (NFL Edition)

Week 10 has passed, and the playoffs are starting to come into focus in the NFL. Every team has played 9 games, there are no more bye weeks, and some of the division races are already over.

In the AFC, it's pretty easy to figure out who 5 of the 6 playoff teams will be, with the remaining playoff spot to go to whichever AFC West team manages to blow the fewest games the rest of the season.

New England and Pittsburgh are locks to win their divisions, while the AFC South is a three way battle between Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Tennessee. All three of those teams should make the playoffs, and I think San Diego should still emerge from the pile of mediocre teams in the AFC West and win their division, or Norv Turner could do what Norv Turner does best and through horrendous play calling manage to get this talented team to miss the playoffs all together. In that scenario, then Denver is more likely to emerge as the winner of that crappy division over Kansas City. What remains is the battle for playoff seeding, with New England a sure thing as the 1 seed, and Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and maybe even Jacksonville fighting it out for the other team to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

None if it matters, though, it will come down to New England hosting whichever AFC team survives to the end to meet them in the AFC Championship game, and barring injuries will crush them.

The NFC is largely irrelevant, but more intriguing as more teams have a real shot at making the playoffs. The NFC is irrelevant, cause unless the Superbowl ends up being a fluky game, New England will crush any opposition in front of it, and more intriguing cause any one of 9 teams has a real shot at representing the NFC in the Superbowl (though, Dallas and Green Bay have to be considered strong favorites).

Dallas and Green Bay are in, and will win their divisions easily, but each will press the other to go for best record to host a potential NFC Championship game match up between the two. The other two divisions are up in the air, with Tampa Bay looking like the best of a bad bunch of NFC South teams, and either Seattle or Arizona emerging from the craptacular NFC West. Detroit and NY Giants have the inside track on the wildcard, but both teams are capable of collapsing the rest of the season, and the likes of Carolina, New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, could all finish in a 5 way tie at 9-7 or 8-8 for the two wild card spots. Should make the last two weeks of the season a headache with regards to tie breaking scenarios.

It's possible with Dallas and Green Bay coasting at the end of the regualr season, and the other teams all struggling to make the playoffs, that the struggle will help focus those teams come the 2nd week of the playoffs, whereas a rusty Dallas and Green Bay could get upset at home when they host the survivors. It's not entirely inconceivable to imagine that Arizona could end up being the first team to play in a Superbowl in their home stadium (that scenario remains highly unlikely, but if Warner stays healthy somehow, and their defense continues to play well, they are as good as any other team in the NFC).

It would be a good story, Kurt Warner leading an Arizona team to an improbable victory against a previously unbeaten New England team that ran up 20+ point victories in its 2 previous playoff games. Cut to reaction shots of '72 Dolphin players when they realize they remain the only undefeated champions in the Superbowl era, and cut to a dour looking Belichick wondering how the hell their perfect season could be snatched away in the last game.

Either that, or New England will have a rematch against Dallas and pound them again, winning by 40 points and setting all sorts of scoring records in a lopsided game.

But anyway, here's my full prediction for the playoff seedings:

1) New England
2) Pittsburgh
3) Indianapolis
4) San Diego
5) Tennessee
6) Jacksonville

First round, Jacksonville upsets Indianapolis, San Diego beats Tennessee. 2nd Round, New England trounces Jacksonville, Pittsburgh manhandles San Diego. AFC Championship New England beats Pittsburgh by better than 3 TDs.

2)Green Bay
3)New Orleans
5)Tampa Bay
6)NY Giants

First Round, New Orleans beats NY Giants, Arizona beats Tampa Bay. 2nd Round, Dallas is upset by Arizona, Green Bay beats New Orleans. NFC Championship Arizona upsets Green Bay on the "Frozen Tundra"

Superbowl XLII in Arizona
New England 61 Arizona 20

1 comment:

gt281 said...

from your predictions i guess there's not going to be an "official
superbowl" this year...again
..any thoughts on the tried and true bums of the fourth quarter..
da raiders...to bad for me the game is four quarters long not three...i'll have to send an e-gram to the raider nation Davis..cuz i think he must of forgot....it would be nice to see Warner get some glory again in winning another Superbowl, cuz hes
suffered a lot and has always been
the #1 cheerleader of which ever team hes found himself on,, unlike some other overpaid prancers that we all know....