The last time I took a good, hard look at the overall playoff race, we’d just finished Week 11. In the AFC, not a whole lot has changed.
It’s pretty funny that I picked San Francisco to beat New England way back when, noting, “that’s going to kill any hope they (the Pats) had of getting a BYE in the first round.” It’s true, but not because of what I foresaw.
Baltimore has taken a big ol’ shit, losing their last three games, turning what was once a comfortable 2-game divisional lead into a 1-game lead. Other than the Ravens, though, the rest of the divisional leaders have all clinched, with Denver taking over the #2 seed. And I have to believe the Ravens will hold on to that division someway, somehow.
Indy is still holding strong onto the 5-seed, but it’s still not impossible for them to miss out. I know they play KC next week, but it’s in KC, and I’m not calling that a gimme by any means. Cincinnati is in the 6th seed for now, but who the fuck knows what they’re going to do.
My Guess? Indy probably takes care of business, and Pittsburgh wins out (home games against Cincy & Cleveland) to squeak into the playoffs. BFD, right?
The NFC is really where it’s at this season. Obvs, Atlanta is running away with this thing and I don’t think there’s any way they lose that 1-seed (with games against the hapless Lions and the less-hapless Bucs).
In my previous prediction, I had the 49ers rolling, but get a load of what I said right here:
… it wouldn’t shock me to see them fall to a #3 seed. None of those remaining road games are cakewalks by any stretch. I think they fall to the Seahawks and one other (don’t sleep on those Rams who took them to the brink). With 4 losses and the tie, I think that knocks them out of the #2 seed by a half-game.
Shit, you’re damn right, you DON’T sleep on those fucking Rams! If the Seahawks can take care of business at home in front of a nationally-televised audience, I think the 49ers DO miss out on that 2-seed to the Packers! After all, the Pack get a home game against the Titans and a road game against the Vikings. Easy pickin’s, my friends.
And, if you’re any kind of Seahawks fan, even though we’ll lose the division to the 49ers, it’s a nice consolation to know that they don’t get a BYE week in the playoffs. You know how hard it is to win three straight playoff games to get into the Super Bowl? Pretty fucking tough; those teams who get the BYE have a terrific record in that Divisional Round. I think they win something like 3/4 of the time; look it up, prove me wrong.
The current NFC East leader is the Washington Redskins. They’re in a 3-way tie for first with an 8-6 record and in the driver’s seat with a 3-1 divisional record. If they win out (@ Philly, vs. Dallas), they’re in. The Giants have a tougher road, going to Baltimore before hosting the Eagles. The Cowboys don’t have it much easier, hosting the Saints before going to D.C.
Before, with a gun to my head, I picked Dallas. They already lost to the Redskins, which isn’t too good, but they get them again and if they can find a way to beat the Saints, you have to like them as much as anyone. Will RGIII be back in time to save their season? That was a nice little win the Redskins had in Cleveland with a less-heralded rookie at the helm, but can Cousins work his magic the next two weeks? I guess Philly isn’t much of a test, but I wouldn’t like him going up against the Cowboys in a do-or-die game.
Fuck it, I’m sticking with the Cowboys. That would be the prediction of all predictions, if you ask me.
As for the Wild Card teams, the Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise in some ways. I had them going 5-1, but losing to Chicago and winning in Miami. I don’t think there’s any way I saw the massacres that took place against the Cards & Bills, but either way it’s a favorable road to the finish line.
That just leaves the 6-seed which is now up in the air. Minnesota has a temporary hold on the thing with an 8-6 record, but they go to Houston and finish at home against the Packers who will be playing as hard as they can to win that 2-seed. I think they finish 8-8 and are a non-factor the rest of the way.
The Bucs really took a dump all over this season. They’ve lost four in a row (including a heartbreaker to the Eagles) and now need two wins just to finish at .500.
The Bears are still in it and are still my team to beat. I had them going 4-2 in their final six games; they currently need to win out just to get to 3-3. That having been said, they play at Arizona and at Detroit to close out. I think they win both, eliminating the Giants and Redskins.
That means *giddy laugh* the Seahawks, with the 5-seed, go to Dallas in the first round. My God, what I wouldn’t GIVE for that to be the matchup! I swear to Christ, if I get that matchup, I won’t masturbate for a week!
The 6-seed Bears would go to the 3-seed 49ers and get slaughtered, which would give us San Fran @ Green Bay (a rematch of a week 1 49ers victory) and Seattle @ Atlanta. Yeah, Seattle would get two games inside two dome-like stadiums, while the 49ers get the Packers in frozen Green Bay. Ha!
Meanwhile, in the AFC, we’re looking at 6-seed Pittsburgh at 3-seed New England. This so isn’t Pittsburgh’s year it’s not even funny (well, actually, it’s kinda funny). 5-seed Indy goes to 4-seed Baltimore. The Ravens, should they manage to hold on to their divisional lead, need to be thanking their lucky stars. To collapse this bad and then get to face Indy in the first round has to be some kind of miracle. Then again, it wouldn’t shock me in the least to see the Colts figure out a way to pull it out at the end. I got New England and Indy winning, setting up New England at Denver and Indy at Houston.
I still can’t shake the feeling that this is San Fran’s year. They may not totally take Green Bay apart, but I think they eke that one out. And, I think this round marks the end of Seattle’s run. Atlanta won’t be winless in the playoffs (with Matt Ryan) after this season, mark my words. Nevertheless, you couldn’t ask for a better draw for the Seahawks. If they’re beating anyone else in these playoffs, it very well might be a Falcons team that can’t run the ball. Browner will be back, Sherman could still theoretically win his appeal, and even if he doesn’t, we still have some solid depth in the secondary. Who knows?
In the AFC, it’s Denver and it’s Houston. Peyton Manning is back, that team is on the roll of all rolls, and New England’s defense is still shitty.
This is all prelude to San Francisco vs. Denver in the Super Bowl. The team Peyton chose vs. the team Peyton spurned. That’s where the magic ends and the 49ers are annointed top dog. That’s also where Colin Kaepernick officially becomes my worst nightmare.
On to the rankings:
- Denver Broncos (11-3): 9-game winning streak, home games against Cleveland and Kansas City. Holy shit! I would be on Cloud Fucking 9 right now if I was a Denver fan! Of course, the only way they can get the #1 seed is to win out and have Houston lose out. That ain’t happening, but being the #2 seed is pretty fucking good enough, if you ask me. (Last Week: 1)
- San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1): Well, this is it. If the 49ers were ever a top team, they’d find a way to win this game in Seattle this week and lock down that #2 seed. Will they? Good God, for whatever reason, my crystal ball is on the fritz. Picking this game is as tough as it gets. Magic 8 Ball keeps saying to “Ask Again Later”. It’s all kinds of fucked up in my head right now. (Last Week: 2)
- Green Bay Packers (10-4): Hi bitter Packers fans. How are you? It’s been about 12 weeks since the Replacement Refs ruined your season. Still mad at us? Even though we took out the Bears and essentially handed you the division? What will it take to make you forgive us? Do we have to beat the 49ers for you too? Because we’ll do it! Just like us again! PLEASE!!! I hate it when we quarrel! (Last Week: 3)
- Atlanta Falcons (12-2): Love those Falcons. EVERYONE wrote them off against the Giants last week, so what did they do? Shut them the fuck out, that’s what! Teams will keep sleeping on them, but guess what? They won’t be playing a road game and they won’t be playing a divisional opponent once the regular season ends. That’s gotta matter for something. See you in the NFC Championship Game. (Last Week: 4)
- Houston Texans (12-2): Yeah, you beat the Colts, BFD. (Last Week: 6)
- Seattle Seahawks (9-5): Fake punt when you’re up 30? Okay, you got me, that was running up the score. I don’t know what I find more disconcerting, the fact that our head coach is kind of a dick, or the fact that he “forgot” the fake punt was an automatic call. If I’m going to give Pete Carroll the benefit of the doubt and believe his excuse, what does that say, exactly? What else will he be prone to forgetting? What if he “forgets” something important in a big game? Will that be the difference between moving on in the playoffs vs. going home? Say what you will about Mike Holmgren, he never did “forget” the details, no matter how seemingly unimportant. (Last Week: 8)
- New England Patriots (10-4): Again, fuck you very much. You had ONE fucking job! And what do you do? You go down by a 4-TD margin and don’t have enough in the tank to finish the comeback. God, you guys are toolbags. (Last Week: 5)
- Baltimore Ravens (9-5): Did anyone tell the Ravens they haven’t locked down a playoff spot yet? Was this the time to fire your offensive coordinator? Good lord! (Last Week: 7)
- Washington Redskins (8-6): Smart move drafting two quarterbacks this year. To anyone questioning why, I direct you to their third stringer: Rex Grossman. You do whatever it TAKES to not let that guy start for you! (Last Week: 12)
- Cincinnati Bengals (8-6): They’ve won 5 of 6, but I’ll be damned if their season isn’t over. This team needs a breath of fresh air in the coaching department like nobody’s business. Do the Harbaughs have another brother? (Last Week: 13)
- New York Giants (8-6): Looks like your late-season magic has run out. Eli can suck a bag of dicks for helping destroy my fantasy season, too. (Last Week: 9)
- Dallas Cowboys (8-6): HUGE win against the Steelers. Just when I write this team off, it keeps things interesting. Way to try to save your head coach’s job, Cowboys! (Last Week: 14)
- Indianapolis Colts (9-5): Oh, would you look at that, the Colts lost to another good team … WEIRD! (Last Week: 10)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-6): I hope Adrian Peterson breaks the record. That is all. (Last Week: 18)
- Chicago Bears (8-6): I hope I’m right and the Bears make the playoffs so I can gloat some more. (Last Week: 11)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7): I hope I’m right and the Steelers make the playoffs so the bitter taste of defeat is all the more sour when they go out in Round 1. (Last Week: 16)
- St. Louis Rams (6-7-1): The Rams only had 7 home games because of that travesty in London, and now they finish their season with back-to-back road games. Is it safe to assume the person who makes up the schedules is a die-hard Rams hater? (Last Week: 17)
- New Orleans (6-8): I still say 7-9 is a quality record for a team that was so wrongly decimated by the league. (Last Week: 19)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8): 7-9 is also a quality record when you take into account their defense has been so utterly, utterly bad. (Last Week: 15)
- Miami Dolphins (6-8): 7-9 is ALSO a quality record when you consider Ryan Tannehill is the next in a long line of total quarterback flops since Dan Marino passed away. (Last Week: 20)
- Carolina Panthers (5-9): I gotta say, even though the Chargers are bad, that was an impressive fucking win on the road for the Panthers. Enough to save their coach’s job? Boy, I hope not. They need to hire Chip Kelly and get him the fuck out of the Pac-12 already. (Last Week: 25)
- Buffalo Bills (5-9): Hey, thanks for playing! Bills fans should be thanking us for classlessly running up the score too, by the way! You know you want Chan Gailey shitcanned like yesterday! (Last Week: 21)
- Cleveland Browns (5–9): Coulda done us all a solid by taking out Washington when they were most vulnerable. Instead, you had to bite the wiener. (Last Week: 22)
- San Diego Chargers (5-9): Glad I’m not a Chargers fan. (Last Week: 23)
- Tennessee Titans (5-9): At some point, Jake Locker is going to have to do more than beat the Jets to keep his starting job. Know that I’m rooting for him, but seriously, SHOW us something! (Last Week: 26)
- New York Jets (6-8): Ha! You got knocked out of the playoffs. Suck it. (Last Week: 27)
- Arizona Cardinals (5-9): Way to show some pride after that shellacking in Seattle! Still, their starting “quarterback” only managed to throw for 104 yards. Let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet. (Last Week: 30)
- Detroit Lions (4-10): Yikes. (Last Week: 24)
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-10): It’s over Johnny. (Last Week: 28)
- Oakland Raiders (4-10): It’s OVER! (Last Week: 31)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12): Back in their second-to-last spot, right where they belong. We left your room just as you left it! (Last Week: 29)
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-12): Bad year for a bad QB draft class. Maybe you can select an offensive lineman, continue to suck next year, and draft first overall again! Reach for the skies, Chiefs! (Last Week: 32)