If you don’t like “If The Season Ended Today” posts, then I encourage you to skip all of this and move straight to the power rankings. If you don’t like both “If The Season Ended Today” AND power rankings posts, then I apologize for wasting your time. It might not be a total loss though; there’s a new Jacksonville Jaguars YouTube clip you might enjoy (or might find totally bananas).
For the record, if I were wealthy and didn’t have to work a day job anymore, I would spend all of my time finding YouTube clips for all of the teams in my Power Rankings and it would be the most splendid 14 hours you’ve ever spent reading an Internet post.
Anyway, getting back … if the season ended today, the Seattle Seahawks would have the #1 seed, the New Orleans Saints would have the #2 seed, and the Wild Card Round would look like this:
#6 San Francisco @ #3 Detroit
#5 Carolina @ #4 Dallas
If this, indeed, is the way the playoffs shake out (remember, we have another 7 weeks of football to go, so anything could happen), then I’m putting my money on San Francisco and Carolina winning their respective playoff games. Which would make the Divisional Round look like this:
#6 San Francisco @ #1 Seattle
#5 Carolina @ #2 New Orleans
How sick would THAT be? Two divisional games IN the Divisional Round! For the record, I think the Seahawks and Saints both win these games, leaving us with an NFC Championship Game of New Orleans @ Seattle, with the Seahawks winning the rematch and going to the Super Bowl.
Everything that follows is an assumption that the Seahawks will win the #1 seed and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Here’s the thing, there aren’t many teams I legitimately fear, as a Seahawks fan. If you ranked the above five other playoff teams, in order from Most Feared to Least Feared, it would look something like this:
- New Orleans
- San Francisco
The 49ers don’t scare me, whatsoever. You play that game in Seattle, and you’re talking about a team in the 49ers who don’t have a prayer of moving the football on us. Yes, they have a good defense, but we’ve proven we can move the ball on their defense pretty well. Carolina, on the other hand …
We’ve looked pretty shitty against the Panthers the last two years. Granted, those games were on the road, but they’ve still got a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball. AND, while they haven’t scored that much against us the last two times we’ve played them, I remember a ton of receiver drops and inopportune fumbles. If they manage to clean up their act, they could be the second-most dangerous team the Seahawks face.
The first? Well, let’s do a little tinkering to our playoff roster.
Right now, the teams on the bubble are the Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers. The Eagles are 5-5 and tied with the Cowboys (who currently hold the tie-breaker, but still have a game left to play against the Eagles). I would be shocked if two teams from the NFC East made the playoffs, so let’s just assume the East gets only one team and leave it at that (besides, you still can’t count out the Giants, even though they’re only 3-6). The rest of those teams are 5-4, but if the Cardinals find a way to sneak into the playoffs, I’ll eat my hat.
That leaves the Bears and Packers. The Bears look talented-enough, but is Josh McCown really the guy to hold the fort until Cutler is totally healthy? They don’t have the easiest schedule in the world, plus they host a week 17 matchup against the Packers that could decide everything.
Which brings me to the Packers, the team I fear the most. Don’t ask me why. Just know that the last team I want to see sneak into that 6th seed is the Packers. It would make me a very happy man for the Bears to just take care of business, but I don’t know if I’m that confident.
If Aaron Rodgers comes back in time for the Thanksgiving game against the Lions, I could see this team going on a run to end all runs. The Packers will probably lose in New York against the Giants this week, dropping them to 5-5. After that, they host the Vikings, which could go either way. If they go 1-1 before Thanksgiving, that puts them at 6-5 with games against Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Pittsburgh. It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see this team finish 10-6, a game behind the Lions, and thus forcing them into the 6th seed Wild Card matchup against … the Lions.
What we’ve got going for us is the fact that the 49ers hold a tie-breaker over the Packers thanks to their week 1 win. So, the 49ers (or, I guess the Panthers) would have to totally fall apart to let the Packers sneak in there with a 6-seed.
Any way you slice it, though, you’re talking about teams coming into Seattle, so my fear is all relative. Can we be beaten at home? I guess anything’s possible. Will we be beaten at home? I highly doubt it.
On to the rankings.
- Denver Broncos (8-1) – Got pretty damn conservative in the second half of that game. Look for similar tightness when the Broncos get in the playoffs and start playing nothing but good teams.
- Seattle Seahawks (9-1) – Big, “complete-game” win in Atlanta. Granted, it’s Atlanta, but you gotta play the teams you’re scheduled to play.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) – If they find a way to beat the Broncos, you’ll be looking at a Top 3 followed by “The Rest”.
- Carolina Panthers (6-3) – This team is fucking TOUGH!
- New England Patriots (7-2) – Well well well, look who goes into Carolina next week. Suddenly, it’s the Patriots who should be afraid.
- New Orleans Saints (7-2) – Yeah, their offense looked pretty good against the Cowboys. But, just about every offense looks good against the Cowboys.
- Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What the shit was that?
- San Francisco 49ers (6-3) – Well well well, look who lost a game they probably should’ve won. WEIRD! It’s not like I totally called that or anything.
- Detroit Lions (6-3) – Absolutely huge win in Chicago! Looks like my pre-season pick of the Lions winning the division isn’t so mind-blowingly dumb.
- Chicago Bears (5-4) – What are you doing bringing Cutler back before he’s fully healthy? You had a good thing going with McCown taking care of the ball and Forte carrying the mail.
- Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) – Not a contender.
- Green Bay Packers (5-4) – Well then. By the time Rodgers comes back, will the Playoffs even be an option?
- New York Jets (5-4) – I have no idea about this team. They play Buffalo, Baltimore, Miami, and Oakland in their next four games. They could win all four, lose all four, or anything in between and it wouldn’t shock me.
- Arizona Cardinals (5-4) – I guess I haven’t paid much attention, but apparently this defense is in the Top 3 or something? They give up enough points to throw morons like myself off the scent.
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) – Nick Foles! And they said it couldn’t be done! They said he couldn’t be great!
- Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – As long as Nick Foles stays healthy, the Cowboys miss out on the playoffs. It’s as simple as that.
- San Diego Chargers (4-5) – I don’t know what to make of a world where Philip Rivers doesn’t throw multiple idiotic interceptions per game.
- Miami Dolphins (4-5) – I don’t even know what to say right now.
- Baltimore Ravens (4-5) – Just good enough to keep things interesting in the AFC North. Just bad enough to miss out on the playoffs.
- Cleveland Browns (4-5) – This is how weird this season is going: if the Browns win this week, they will have swept the season series against the Bengals – and the Bengals are the favorite to win the division!
- New York Giants (3-6) – Whoop-dee-doo, they beat up on the Oakland Raiders, BFD.
- St. Louis Rams (4-6) – Well, I’m going to have to start rating this team higher, if they’re going to look this good.
- Houston Texans (2-7) – I guess Keenum can’t do everything.
- Atlanta Falcons (2-7) – This ain’t your year. Pack it in, get a high draft pick, and come back better than ever next year.
- Buffalo Bills (3-7) – Young teams will have games like this. They’ll also have games like the one against Carolina earlier in the year. You take the good with the bad and hope everyone improves going into next year.
- Tennessee Titans (4-5) – Locker can’t stay healthy. An ex-Husky quarterback who can’t stay healthy in the NFL long enough to make an impact: where have I seen this before?
- Washington Redskins (3-6) – So, I guess we can write off that huge comeback season for the Redskins this year.
- Oakland Raiders (3-6) – Wow Raiders. Just wow.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) – The Steelers can’t work their way back into the playoff picture, can they?
- Minnesota Vikings (2-7) – Hey, way to go on Thursday night! Way to make the Seahawks’ strength of schedule just a wee bit better.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) – HEY NOW!!! No more winless teams! I knew you could do it!
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – Your 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars.