Reviewing Playoff Standings After 14 Weeks

Here are your playoff leaders, as they stand right now, 14 weeks into the season:

NFC

  1. Atlanta:  11-2
  2. San Francisco:  9-3-1
  3. Green Bay:  9-4
  4. NY Giants:  8-5
  5. Seattle:  8-5
  6. Chicago:  8-5

Washington:  7-6
Dallas:  7-6
Minnesota:  7-6
St. Louis:  6-6-1
Tampa Bay:  6-7

AFC

  1. Houston:  11-2
  2. New England:  10-3
  3. Denver:  10-3
  4. Baltimore:  9-4
  5. Indianapolis:  9-4
  6. Pittsburgh:  7-6

Cincinnati:  7-6
NY Jets:  6-7

For shits & giggles, here’s how the NFL looked after 14 weeks in 2011:

NFC

  1. Green Bay:  13-0
  2. San Francisco:  10-3
  3. New Orleans:  10-3
  4. NY Giants:  7-6
  5. Atlanta:  8-5
  6. Detroit:  8-5

AFC

  1. New England:  10-3
  2. Baltimore:  10-3
  3. Houston:  10-3
  4. Denver:  8-5
  5. Pittsburgh:  10-3
  6. NY Jets:  8-5

I can’t sit here and guarantee I have all the tie-breakers on lockdown for those teams last year, but that’s about where they stood.  Some teams were fighting for their lives, some teams had things wrapped up comfortably with three games to go.  What you’ll notice, if you’re at all familiar with last season’s playoff teams:  all but one of those 12 I just listed ended up making it.  Ostensibly, each of those 12 teams controlled their own destiny.  Only the Jets squandered it away (to the Bengals, who ended up 9-7, up from 7-6 at this time last year, earning the 6th seed).

What does this mean?  Absolutely nothing.  But, let’s take a peek at how the NFL looked after 14 weeks in 2010:

NFC

  1. Atlanta:  11-2
  2. Chicago:  9-4
  3. Philadelphia:  9-4
  4. Seattle:  6-7
  5. New Orleans:  10-3
  6. NY Giants:  9-4

AFC

  1. New England:  11-2
  2. Pittsburgh:  10-3
  3. Kansas City:  8-5
  4. Jacksonville:  8-5
  5. Baltimore:  9-4
  6. NY Jets:  9-4

This time, 10 of 12 ended up making the playoffs (the Giants gagging away their lead to the Packers for the 6th seed; and Jacksonville getting surpassed by Indy, who leapfrogged Kansas City for the 3-seed).  Does 2009 tickle your fancy?

NFC

  1. New Orleans:  13-0
  2. Minnesota:  11-2
  3. Philadelphia:  9-4
  4. Arizona:  8-5
  5. Green Bay:  9-4
  6. Dallas:  8-5

AFC

  1. Indianapolis:  13-0
  2. San Diego:  10-3
  3. Cincinnati:  9-4
  4. New England:  8-5
  5. Denver:  8-5
  6. NY Jets:  7-6
    Jacksonville:  7-6
    Miami:  7-6
    Baltimore:  7-6

In this case, only the Broncos (a game ahead in the Wild Card, controlling their own destiny for a 5th seed) blew it.  Philly and Dallas swapped spots in the final week.  The Jets and the Ravens jumped up for the Wild Card spots (with the Broncos riding a 3-game losing streak to close the season).

I could go on and on, but instead I guess I’ll go ahead and make my point.  At this critical juncture in the season, a lot of things are still up for grabs.  But, for the most part, odds are that the teams currently sitting in the playoffs (if the season ended today) will end up in the playoffs when season actually DOES end.  This is good news, right?

I guess, if you like odds and numbers and all that.  But, three games are a fucking eternity in football!  Any one of those 7-6 teams could win out.  If that happens, and the Seahawks stumble, we’ll all think back to the week leading up to that Buffalo game and wonder how it all went so wrong.

I would anticipate, if you go back even further, there’s at least one team each and every year who, after 14 weeks, would have been in the playoffs, but instead blew it down the stretch.  While we’re all frothing at the mouth at how well the Seahawks are positioned for post-season, take a step back and reflect on those fallen teams who choked when it mattered most.  Can you see the Seahawks doing the same thing?  Because I can.  It’s not impossible.  Don’t dismiss it out of hand until we’ve beaten the Bills.

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