Most of you certainly know this, but if I’m documenting this season for historical purposes, then I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it: all the Seahawks have to do is win one of their final two games (both at home, vs. Arizona this week and St. Louis next week) and they win the division and the #1 seed.
Essentially, it’s no different than it was two weeks ago at this time, when all the Seahawks needed to do was win 2 of their final 4. We’ve won one of two, now we need one more of two.
In the unlikely event that we lose our last two and the 49ers win their last two, then the 49ers would win the division (based on better divisional record, 5-1 vs. what would be 3-3). The 49ers would have one of the top two seeds, however they lose the tie-breaker to both Carolina and New Orleans thanks to head-to-head defeats back in November, so if Carolina or New Orleans win out in this scenario, they would have the #1 seed. Of note: New Orleans plays in Carolina this week, so only one could possibly win out.
The Seahawks will either have the #1 seed, or the #5 seed. There’s no other option. If we fall to 12-4 and the 49ers somehow lose one, we would still have a tie-breaker over both the Saints and Panthers thanks to head-to-head victories.
Unless something freaky happens, the playoffs are set in the NFC. The West & South division winners will have the top two seeds. Philly has the inside track in the East, with one game left to play against the Cowboys (who are one game back). The North is a clusterfuck right now. But, the wild card spots are all but certain. The team between the Panthers & Saints that doesn’t win the division will have one wild card spot. The other will almost definitely go to the 49ers (as I envision no way they don’t win out). In all likelihood, the 49ers will take the 5th seed, and I’m going out on a limb and saying the Saints take the 6th seed.
In happy news, the Green Bay Packers have no shot at getting the 6th seed. When you consider the two wild card teams will probably have better overall records than the division winners of the East & North, though, it probably means we have more to worry about than Aaron Rodgers recovering from his fractured vagina.
Here are my predictions for the way things shake out:
I think the Eagles win out and take that division. I think the Bears lose out. I think the Packers win out and finish 9-6-1. I think the Lions finish 9-7 and blow the division.
That puts San Francisco at Green Bay in the 4/5 game and New Orleans at Philly in the 3/6 game. I think both San Francisco AND New Orleans win those two games, putting New Orleans at Seattle in the second round, and San Francisco at Carolina. A couple home team wins puts Carolina in Seattle for a repeat of the 2005/2006 NFC Championship Game.
I’m not even going to try to take a crack at the AFC, because who KNOWS how that’s going to shake out? Anything could happen and it wouldn’t shock me. I will say this: I’m more convinced than ever before that Denver makes the Super Bowl.
On to the rankings. But, before I do, a little shift in the process. We have a Top 2, then another set of 5 who are all still contenders for the championship, and THEN everyone else. Sorry, Eagles, Bengals, and Colts fans, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
- Seattle Seahawks (12-2) – Pretty happy to own the Seahawks’ defense in fantasy football right about now.
- Denver Broncos (11-3) – You REALLY dodged a bullet! I don’t know if I can keep you in my Top 2 if you’re going to continue to play defense like that. Thanks to New England, though, you still control your own destiny with the #1 seed.
- New Orleans Saints (10-4) – Mighty wide of you to help us ease our way into the #1 seed.
- New England Patriots (10-4) – Yeah, if Julian Edelman is going to be your leading receiver, you’re NOT going to make the Super Bowl.
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) – Chiefs/Raiders is what NFL Sunday Ticket was made for … so you can avoid watching these shitbird teams!
- Carolina Panthers (10-4) – HUGE showdown next week, hosting the Saints for a chance at the division.
- San Francisco 49ers (10-4) – Certainly feels like the hottest team in the NFL, though they’re only riding a 4-game winning streak.
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) – Ouch!
- Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) – Double-Ouch!
- Indianapolis Colts (9-5) – Without a whole lot to play for (probably locked out of the top two seeds), that was a much-needed easy win for the Colts.
- Arizona Cardinals (9-5) – For a team that supposedly has a great defense, they really shit the bed against the Titans.
- Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – Uhh, damn! How many lives to the Ravens have left?
- Chicago Bears (8-6) – This offense can be really scary. Of course, so can Jay Cutler (in a bad way, for the Bears).
- Miami Dolphins (8-6) – So many teams came so close to beating the Patriots the last few weeks. The Dolphins punched one through.
- Detroit Lions (7-7) – The Lions blew the division AND they blew it for the best team in my fantasy league with that choke job against the Ravens.
- Dallas Cowboys (7-7) – I think Jason Garrett might be THE worst head coach in the National Football League.
- St. Louis Rams (6-8) – Again, how do you figure out this team? They beat Indy, Chicago, and New Orleans; they lose to Tennessee, Atlanta, and Dallas. Good grief!
- San Diego Chargers (7-7) – You beat the best team in the AFC, you have my attention.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) – Too little, too late.
- Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) – Uhh, is Matt Fucking Flynn going to lead the Packers into the playoffs?
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) – Yeah, I dunno.
- New York Giants (5-9) – Five picks for Eli? Absolutely SHOCKING!
- New York Jets (6-8) – Yeah, whatever.
- Atlanta Falcons (4-10) – Losing to the Redskins could have been GREAT for your draft standing.
- Buffalo Bills (5-9) – You beat my Jags! How could you?
- Cleveland Browns (4-10) – This team fights, you gotta respect that.
- Tennessee Titans (5-9) – Probably should have gone for two and played for the win instead of going to overtime.
- Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1) – Don’t even try to stop those Vikings! Doesn’t matter WHO they put in at running back, they’re going to BEAST you!
- Oakland Raiders (4-10) – I guess they just left their defense at home?
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) – Your 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars!
- Washington Redskins (3-11) – Going for two at the end of the game to “play for the win”? I see what you did there. I’m calling collusion! You and the Rams worked out some secret, back-alley deal, didn’t you?
- Houston Texans (2-12) – Legit: the worst team in football.