What with Christmas being tomorrow and everything, this is gonna be the last regular post of the week. So, let’s cram in everything that needs to be crammed!
The Seahawks host the Rams this week. Obviously, you’re all aware that if the Seahawks win, they’ve got the #1 seed in the NFC (barring a tie between Detroit & Green Bay). If the Seahawks somehow lose, things get a little complicated.
Arizona plays at San Francisco. Obviously, the 49ers are a bit of a trainwreck right now, and theirs is NO home field advantage, but on the flipside the Cards are starting a rookie at quarterback a week after Lindley showed them a vision of their first round playoff exit with him at the helm. If both Seattle and Arizona lose, you’re looking at a situation where Seattle falls to the 3-seed and plays the 6-seed (which would be Arizona if Detroit wins, or it would be Detroit if Green Bay wins).
The Cowboys are looking to go 8-0 this week as they travel to Washington to play the Redskins. While it’s POSSIBLE that the Cowboys opt to rest most of their stars this week (anticipating Seattle will have no trouble beating the Rams), I have to imagine they play at least a half, and rack up a big-enough lead to hold it down. If the Cowboys somehow lose (which seems even less likely than the Seahawks losing to the Rams), that sets up Seattle to re-take at least a top 2 seed, regardless of what happens in the Packers/Lions game.
This is all prelude to the fact that there’s no way the Seahawks are losing to the Rams. Yeah, we’re talking about a team that beat us earlier in the year, but that was based on a lie. A bunch of freak shit they won’t get away with again. They legitimately looked pretty terrifying when they shut out the Raiders and Redskins in back to back weeks, but again, we’re talking about the Raiders and Redskins. They proceeded to lay a turd on Thursday Night Football when they hosted the Cards two weeks ago; then, they let the Giants throw the ball all over the field last week.
The Rams have officially given up on the season. Their offense is even worse than what the Cards are throwing out there, and their defense is nothing special. I foresee no reason why they should pose a challenge when they’re just trying to get out of this week healthy and ready to ramp up for the upcoming offseason. The Seahawks are at home, everything is clicking on both sides of the ball, there’s a revenge factor for our week 7 defeat in St. Louis, and there’s the obvious pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: a number 1 seed in the playoffs.
This is a point that’s been made by others, and it’s very true (as well as something I hadn’t thought about before): the Seahawks haven’t had a BYE week since week 4. We’re talking 13 consecutive weeks of football without a real break. If ANYONE needs this first round BYE, it’s the Seahawks.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks have a lot of heat on them this week. That dominating victory over the Cardinals has put us in the forefront of everyone’s minds when it comes to Super Bowl contenders (right up there with the Patriots in the AFC). We call this, “Getting Hot At The Right Time” and it sort of freaks me out a little bit. I’m of the opinion that the Seahawks are good enough to transcend any sort of jinx or weird mind juju. But, last year, we’re looking at a team that – in a way – backed into the playoffs as a number 1 seed. The 2013 Seahawks were 2-2 in the final month of the season; no one would say THAT team Got Hot At The Right Time. The 2012 Ravens lost four of their last five regular season games before getting hot in the playoffs.
The point is, it doesn’t matter what you do in the regular season as long as you make the post-season. The priority is: Getting Hot In The Playoffs. That’s it. Win 3-4 games and you’re the champs. And, as long as we finish off this hot regular season run, we’ll only have to win two more home games before we go back to Arizona for the Super Bowl. I like those odds.
As far as the competition, it’s pretty much set in the NFC. If everything goes according to plan – as far as I can see – we’re looking at the seeding thusly:
- Green Bay
- Atlanta/Carolina (my money’s on the Falcons)
Which puts the first round of the playoffs like this:
- Detroit at Dallas
- Arizona at Atlanta/Carolina
Seattle would play the lower-seeded winner of those two games. So, if Detroit beats Dallas, we’re automatically going to face the Lions in the second round. I need for this to not happen, because I absolutely do not want to face Detroit. If Dallas wins that game, then we play the winner of the Arizona game (which, honestly, at this point would be a coin flip).
I don’t fear Arizona even a little bit. Of the NFC South teams, I’d probably rather play the Falcons, as they strike me as a less-physical team than the Panthers. We can shut down their passing game, and their run game is nothing. Carolina is a little more stout on defense (but, again, not so much that we couldn’t move the football), but their offense is the walking dead.
The moral of this story is: PLEASE COWBOYS, BEAT THE LIONS! Whoever we get out of that 4/5-seed game will be the ultimate in pushovers!
Following that, we’d play the winner of Green Bay and Dallas. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: give me the Packers all day every day. The Cowboys are balanced and can beat you in a number of ways. The Packers are Aaron Rodgers. We can get to him, we can rough up his receivers, and we can take them down with little-to-no trouble.
I’ll talk more about the AFC next week, but at this point I’m looking at a three-team race between the Patriots, Broncos, and a dark horse candidate in the Steelers. Man, wouldn’t it be something?
- Dallas Cowboys (11-4) – Look, these jinxes take some time. I’m playing the Long Con here! They could still lose to the Redskins next week!
- Seattle Seahawks (11-4) – We know where the Seahawks REALLY stand, but they need to win one more to clinch.
- New England Patriots (12-3) – Frankly, I don’t know why I had the Pats ranked behind the Broncos for so long, considering they beat them earlier this year. I do see this as a flawed team and I welcome the opportunity to beat them in the Super Bowl.
- Denver Broncos (11-4) – Losing to the Bengals? In a night game? Hey, Peyton Manning, GREAT JOB choosing a cold-weather city to play in in the twilight of your career! That won’t totally bite you in the ass every year.
- Detroit Lions (11-4) – Yeah, the Lions will probably go into Green Bay and lose next week, but if I’m being honest, I fear the Lions more than anyone else in the NFC (sorry Cowboys). That defensive line is vicious! And, while their offense isn’t playing particularly well, it feels like a sleeping giant situation: only a matter of time before they explode for 40.
- Green Bay Packers (11-4) – I may regret this later, but I don’t fear their defense, and we’ve proven we can handle their offense. Can’t wait to play them in the NFC Championship Game.
- San Diego Chargers (9-6) – Best team in the Wild Card round by far, if Rivers can stay upright. I just like this Chargers team, don’t ask me why.
- Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Look children, it’s a falling star, make a wish.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) – I can’t wait until they go into Denver to beat a struggling, overrated Broncos team, followed by shocking the world in New England to provide us with the Super Bowl XL rematch we’ve all been waiting for (you know you’ve been thinking about it; I’ve got the guts to SAY IT!).
- Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) – With the monkey off their backs in primetime, maybe they can finally make it out of the first round of the playoffs!
- Baltimore Ravens (9-6) – Yeah, I got nothing. You fucking blew it, Ravens.
- Arizona Cardinals (11-4) – This offense is terrible.
The Loser’s Bracket:
- Miami Dolphins (8-7) – I, for one, would be happy to have Philbin back. You can’t keep jerking Tannehill around with a new offensive coordinator every year or he’s NEVER going to develop into a viable starting quarterback.
- Houston Texans (8-7) – I can’t believe they still have an outside shot at making the playoffs, but it would make me pretty happy to see them get in.
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) – Got some Sanchez catching up with you here.
- Buffalo Bills (8-7) – Well, it was fun while it lasted. Thanks for beating Green Bay for us.
- Kansas City Chiefs (8-7) – Since beating the Seahawks to go to 7-3, the Chiefs have lost four of five. That’s what you get when you play the Seahawks! We will crush you one way or another!
- San Francisco 49ers (7-8) – So long, Harbaugh! One more week!
- St. Louis Rams (6-9) – Falling apart at the right time.
- Cleveland Browns (7-8) – And Johnny JamBoogie is injured. This guy is a crap.
- Minnesota Vikings (6-9) – Okay.
- Atlanta Falcons (6-9) – One game for all the marbles.
- Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) – No way the Panthers should be rooting to make the playoffs; they need high draft picks.
- New Orleans Saints (6-9) – Ha!
- Chicago Bears (5-10) – Hello darkness, my old friend.
- New York Giants (6-9) – This is where I draw the line.
- Washington Redskins (4-11) – No more.
- New York Jets (3-12) – That’s all.
- Oakland Raiders (3-12) – Nothing.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) – That’s it.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13) – Now that’s how you fight for the top draft pick!
- Tennessee Titans (2-13) – You are one pathetic loser!