#16 Chicago Bears
The Bears have scored a combined total of 13 points in the last two weeks. I think this team is not going to make the playoffs because their two best offensive players are sitting by the sideline.
#15 San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers are clinging on for dear life, but if they can manage to beat the Ravens on Sunday with the Broncos playing the Patriots in a very loseable game with the Patriots. If the Chargers win and the Broncos lose it will make things very interesting down the stretch.
#14 Cincinnati Bengals
I’ve been really rooting for the Bengals to make the playoffs, it’s kind of a feel good story, but it looks like they are playing their way out of the playoffs. Like the Titans they’ve shown that they could have a very bright future though especially on offense.
#13 Dallas Cowboys
Two weeks in a row the Cowboys have lost games they should have won. Now they get to play the in Tampa Bay (which looked like a more difficult game before the season started), against Philadelphia, and with the Giants. They can’t afford to blow anymore football games. Are the Cowboys less talented than we all think they are?
#12 Detroit Lions
The Lions are clinging on for dear life to the final playoff spot, thanks in large part to the injuries suffered by the Chicago Bears. The Lions looked to be on their way out of the playoffs a few weeks ago with the Bears sitting in great position, but they have looked awful since losing Jay Cutler (even losing to the Chiefs 10-3, yikes!). The Lions don’t have an easy schedule left, they travel to Oakland, host the Chargers, and travel out to Green Bay, if they can win two of those three games they should clinch a playoff berth.
#11 New York Jets
The Jets are 11th use they are the lowest seeded/worst A.F.C. playoff team. Every year the Jets don’t look like they should be a playoff teams in way too many games, but every year they catch a few breaks (like every team ahead of them collapsing in one weekend, or the Colts resting their starters instead of trying to remain unbeaten) and sneak into the playoffs where they wreck some havoc. Looks like they are right on schedule. Games against the Eagles, Giatns, and Dolphins though will ensure the Jets don’t back into the playoffs this year.
#10 Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are the top wild card team in the N.F.C. They are really playing much better the last month or so. They have found their running game and their defense is playing good enough for them to be competitive. The issue for the Falcons this year will be traveling to San Fran or Green Bay (or New Orleans) in the second round of the playoffs, assuming they get there.
#9 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers could arguably be number two, but I don’t feel right putting them ahead of the Ravens after they have lost to the Ravens twice already. Their QB and defense are built for the playoffs though. They are both tough, gritty and make plays when all the chips are down.
#8 New York Giants
I don’t feel confident in the Giants at all. They are here by default. Somehow, despite having one of the worst defenses in the league, despite losing four games in a row, despite trying to lose every game, they are leading the N.F.C. East. Eli Manning is a S-T-U-D.
Eli Manning has now thrown for 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in three straight seasons a feat not accomplished by Brett Favre, or Tom Brady. Eli Manning also tied the N.F.L. record for most touchdowns in the fourth quarter in a season already. Every touchdown in the fourth Quarter the rest of the season (if there are any) will set a new record.
The other positive for the Giants is DE Jason Pierre Paul who is an absolute monster.
#7 Denver Broncos
And the Broncos win again and now have a nice lead in the A.F.C. West, which is good because they could afford the loss to New England this weekend as long as they bounce back against the Bills and the Chiefs. Somehow this team keeps winning, even when Tebow doesn’t play well his magic rubs off on the other team and Mario Barber runs out of bounds and fumbles the football away. Can’t argue with results.
#6 New Orelans Saints
The Saints are clearly a different team outside a dome than they are in it. Bad news for the Saints, they are going to have to travel to Green Bay, and/or possibly San Francisco. Can they overcome this? The Saints can score with anyone and with Drew Brees at the helm they can beat anyone any week.
#5 San Francisco 49ers
The shine is coming off the 49ers a bit, but they still have a favorable schedule with Pittsburgh, Seattle, and St. Louis. The 49ers have 2 conference losses the Saints have three. They currently hold the tie-breaker, but if New Orleans wins out and San Fran loses to the Steelers they will not have home field advantage.
#4 Houston Texans
amazingly the Texans keep winning. Right now they are the #1 seed in the A.F.C. because they are 8-2 in the conference. I don’t think anyone really expects them to win thenumber one seed, but I’m rooting or them. They have finally made the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history.
#3 New England Patriots
I never count out Tom Brady, but the Patriots are really vulnerable on defense. They also lack a playmaker at the wide receiver position, scratch that, they lack a traditional play-maker at the wide receiver position to stretch the field. If they can somehow manage to win the number one seed I think the Patriots could get to the Superbowl.
#2 Baltimore Ravens
I’ve had the Patriots here for awhile as the best A.F.C. team, but with the Patriots terrible defense I just can’t trust them to pay well. The Ravens offense isn’t great, but it at least has play-makers on it. The Defense isn’t great either, but again it is filled with play-makers. Many will argue that the Steelers are better but with the Ravens owning both tie-breakers it’s likely the Steelers will have to go through Baltimore.
#1 Green Bay Packers
The only other ranking other than the Colts that comes without any controversy. Their defense looks much better than it did at the beginning of the season, but it still is a sieve against the pass and the defense doesn’t look Superbowl Champion caliber even though the offense might overcome that. The Packers have had some close calls on the road, but who cares? They won’t see the road in the playoffs.
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