The NFL Playoffs are nearly upon us, and while that’ exciting, it means the end of the line for 20 other NFL teams. It’s been a fantastic season of football, and it’s sad to see it nearing a close, but some of the best is yet to come.
Here is how I think things will shake out as this Sunday plays out with so many intriguing scenarios and so much yet up in the air. You’d better post up with the Red Zone channel, because you’re not going to want to miss a minute.
It’s hard to believe the Saints and 49ers are Wild Card teams, but this is an incredible year for the NFC as far as a couple of divisions go. The Arizona Cardinals could win 11 games and miss the playoffs, which is remarkable. There are a lot of teams that need help, but I think this is how it will play out.
The one real surprise I have on this list is Chicago, which has a terrible defense and could easily lose to the Packers. I like the Bears coming off of a bad week against the Eagles last week, playing in Chicago, Cutler getting his feet back underneath him–I think the emotion of this game will be drastically different, but the Bears are messing with a completely different beast going against Aaron Rodgers. We don’t know what Rodgers we’re going to see today. It’s not that I think the Packers can’t win, I just think the Bears could have a bounce back game. They are certainly capable of scoring a lot of points.
Crazy things could happen in the AFC on Sunday. Here are some weird scenarios for you to ponder:
Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:
1) BAL win + SD loss OR
2) BAL win + MIA loss OR
3) PIT loss + SD loss + MIA loss
Miami clinches a playoff spot with:
1) MIA win + BAL loss OR
2) MIA win + SD win
Pittsburgh clinches a playoff spot with:
1) PIT win + BAL loss + MIA loss + SD loss
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
San Diego clinches a playoff spot with:
1) SD win + BAL loss + MIA loss
This #6 spot in the AFC is SO wide open. San Diego’s scenario could easily happen, but I think the Steelers are basically out of it at this point. I don’t foresee San Diego losing at home Sunday with the Chiefs benching players (in all likelihood).
If Miami WINS their game, they are basically in it. If they win, I think the Chargers also win which would put the Dolphins in it. I also think the Ravens have a good chance of losing in Cincinnati but if they come up with a big win, they would only need for the Jets to beat Miami to get in.
That would give us some interesting matchups in the first round:
(6) New Orleans Saints @ (3) Philadelphia Eagles
(5) San Francisco 49ers @ (4) Chicago Bears
(6) Miami Dolphins @ (3) Cincinnati Bengals
(5) Kansas City Chiefs @ (4) Indianapolis Colts