Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Playoff picture remains unclear...

After a weekend where all but four games could have a serious impact on the playoff race not many answers abound. However, there do seem to be a few more questions. Lets take a quick look at the playoffs by what each team did...

Division leaders W-L Div. Conf.

1. BEARS — x 12-2 4-0 10-0 Clinched NFC North and number one seed in the NFC, yet opened a whole ohst of questions about their defense heading into the playoffs.

2. SAINTS — y 9-5 4-1 8-2 Backed into clinching the NFC South with the losses by Atlanta and Carolina. Also, with their own loss needs to win out to assure themselves of the second seed, or hope that Dallas drops at least one of the final two games.

3. COWBOYS — z 9-5 2-3 6-4 NFC East Leader, if they win next weekend then they sew up the division. A loss means that they need to rely on the Eagles loss if they want the division title (Philly has the tie-breakers).

4. SEAHAWKS 8-6 3-3 6-5 NFC West Leader that opened the door to San Francisco to win the division with the loss to the 49ers over the weekend. However, still could win the division at 8-8 as long as San Fran drops one of the remaining two games. Don’t expect things to get easy for the Seahawks with a tilt against the Chargers this weekend.

Wild-card teams W-L Div. Conf.

5. EAGLES 8-6 4-1 7-3 With the upcoming game against Dallas, this team controls its own destiny and has a legitimate shot at winning the division in spite of the personell losses suffered this season.

6. GIANTS 7-7 3-2 6-4 With their loss to Philly, this under-achieving bunch will need help to get in. If they falter, they’re finished.

Still alive W-L Div. Conf.
7. FALCONS 7-7 3-2 5-5 Which Michael Vick shows up with the season on the line is anybody's guess, however, this is not the player a team should be pinning its playoff hopes on.

8. VIKINGS 6-8 2-3 6-4 Likely done after their lack-luster effort against the Jets.

9. PACKERS 6-8 3-1 5-5 With games against a demoralized Vikings team in Lambeau, and a Bears team that will be resting its starters, the Packers could leapfrog the Vikings, Falcons and Giants for the final wild card slot.

10. 49ERS 6-8 3-2 5-6 With games against Arizona and at Denver with a rookie quarterback, the 49ers have to be thinking they still have a shot and should be playing hard this week. A win this week with a Seattle loss and that week 17 matchup in Denver should be quite a game.

11. PANTHERS 6-8 3-1 4-6 Also likely done after their no-show against the Steelers at home.

12. RAMS 6-8 2-4 4-6 After a strong start, St. Louis has slipped badly and is unlikely to pass anyone still ahead of them.


Division leaders W-L Div. Conf.

1. CHARGERS — y 12-2 5-1 10-2 One more win seals the number one seed and the advantages that go with it. Expect them to seal the deal against an erratic Seattle team this weekend.

2. RAVENS — y 11-3 4-1 8-2 With an injured Steve McNair and two teams, Pittsburgh and Buffalo making some late season noise, the Ravens will have to rely on their defense more than ever this year.

3. COLTS — y 11-3 3-2 8-2 On paper, match-ups against Houston and Miami might seem an easier road than that faced by either the Patriots or the Ravens, unfortunately for the Colts, Houston has often played them tough (in spite of how bad they are) and Miami’s defense should pose problems for the Colts offense

4. PATRIOTS 10-4 4-2 6-4 Facing off against Jacksonville and Tennessee, New England has an opportunity to show that they can beat teams that are potential post-season contenders and close out their division title.

Wild-card teams W-L Div. Conf.

5. BRONCOS 8-6 3-2 3-6 With two teams on the slate fighting for their playoff lives, Mike Shanahan is about to find out how ready Jay Cutler really is.

6. BENGALS 8-6 4-1 6-4 After blowing a golden opportunity to move up and solidify their playoff standing, Cincy has put themselves in a must win position in tough games against Denver and Pittsburgh.

Still alive W-L Div. Conf.

7. JAGUARS 8-6 2-4 5-5 With this team’s inconsistency, I give the Jets a better chance to make the post-season dance.

8. JETS 8-6 3-2 5-5 I’ve said it once, will say it again: with games against Miami and Oakland remaining this team could finish 10-6 and in the playoffs. However, with this field, they could finish with that record and be out of the playoffs as well.

9. BILLS 7-7 3-3 5-5 Making a good late season surge, but, like everyone else behind them, needs a lot of dominoes to fall in front of them in order to make the playoffs.

10. TITANS 7-7 4-2 4-6 The surging Titans have a chance to be very dangerous to the Patriots, but don’t count on them making the playoffs.

11. STEELERS 7-7 2-2 4-6 Realistically, the Steelers are unlikely to make it to the playoffs, but with games against the Bengals and Ravens, they certainly can impact seeding.

12. CHIEFS 7-7 3-2 3-7 With their weak conference record they need too much to fall the right way to get in. The run is over in KC.

13. DOLPHINS 6-8 1-4 3-7 After being shut out by the Bills, the ‘Phins are done. All this team has to play for are their jobs next year.

x=clinched home-field advantage throughout playoffs
y=clinched division title
z=clinched playoff spot

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