“If The Season Ended Today” arguments have no merit entering Week 7. Yes, time is running out for teams to turn their seasons around, but nothing’s impossible at this point. But it’s interesting to look at the standings if the playoffs began today.
If The Playoffs Ended Today…
AFC Playoff Teams: (1) Houston, (2) Baltimore, (3) New England, (4) Denver, (5) San Diego, (6) New York Jets
The most surprising fact about this group (besides the Jets making it in) is that everyone is 3-3 except for Houston and Baltimore. Also 3-3, but losing out on tiebreak are Buffalo, Miami, and Cincinnati. In other words, this list will look much different at season’s end. The two Wild Card games would also be divisional matchups, making for a great weekend of football.
NFC Playoff Teams: (1) Atlanta, (2) Chicago, (3) San Francisco, (4) New York Giants, (5) Arizona, (6) Minnesota
Like the AFC West, the NFC West would earn two of the six playoff spots. Universally seen as the two weakest divisions in football (though few will admit to it now), this year is not the case. Does either division have the best team in football? I’d say no. But are they the best divisions in their conference, top to bottom? No question. Two great first round games as well, with a rematch between San Francisco and Minnesota plus Arizona traveling to face the Giants.
So Baltimore’s defensive woes and the quarterback situations with the Cardinals and Jets? Still overblown to this point. None of the three look great, but they’d be in playoff contention at this point in time. And all bets would be off then.
Now let’s pick. Last week started bad and ended worse – I was 5-9 on the week and am currently 52-39 on the season. Moving on…
San Francisco over Seattle
Didn’t expect many points in their Thursday night affair and they certainly delivered on that front. But San Francisco’s decent offense still gets the nod over Seattle’s just OK one.
Buffalo over Tennessee
Both teams are coming off of big wins last week, but the Titans are still winless on the road. Were the game in Nasvhille, I’d pick Tennessee. Unfortunately for them, it isn’t.
New York Giants over Washington
Washington’s run game can definitely move the ball against New York. But if they’re stifled, Robert Griffin III would need to make big plays through the air to win this one. I don’t think he has the capability yet. Not to mention the Redskins defense giving up boatloads of yardage through the air.
New Orleans over Tampa Bay
If New Orleans has any shot of turning their season around, they’ll need to win this one. Their next three will be tough. Look for Drew Brees and company to give the Bucs defense fits all day.
Houston over Baltimore
Easily the game of the week. Both teams are 5-1 and two games ahead of the rest of the conference. But with Ladarius Webb and Ray Lewis out for the season (with emphasis on Webb – surely the bigger loss on the field), is there enough talent to stop Houston’s offense?
Indianapolis over Cleveland
Each of their performances were a surprise last week. Cleveland picked up their first win against Cincinnati, while Indianapolis was embarrassed by the Jets. I’m predicting a reversal of fortune today.
Dallas over Carolina
Dallas is without Demarco Murray. So while, the Panthers run defense breathes a sigh of relief, fantasy owners pick up backup running backs Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner.
St. Louis over Green Bay
I know that Aaron Rodgers literally silenced his team’s critics after beating Houston last week, but I’m not completely sold on them yet. St. Louis performs like a different team at home and I’m picking them to make it 4-0 at home this season.
Minnesota over Arizona
The game of the week, on paper, in the NFC. However, Arizona has dropped their last two and may be coming back down to Earth. The Vikings loss last week against Washington has been the exception to the rule so far; they’ve been in every other game until the end.
New England over New York Jets
As much flak as New York constantly gets, has New England really been all that great? Their losses have been by two points or less, but they’ve looked pretty pedestrian in all three. All criticism aside, they’ll get past the Jets.
Oakland over Jacksonville
If I were Oakland, I’d stack eight in the box on 1st and 2nd down the entire game. If they keep Maurice Jones-Drew contained, they’ll win. Jacksonville doesn’t have much else to rely on.
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
What an anomaly the Steelers have been so far. They check out statistically, but the ground game has struggled without a fully healthy Rashard Mendenhall. All of their losses have also come on the road. The teams are even talent-wise, but Pittsburgh has had Cincinnati’s number since 2009. Andy Dalton won’t help them turn the corner just yet.
Chicago over Detroit
Detroit just hasn’t looked good this season. Their offense put up enough points to make up for their overrate defense last season, but as teams have found better ways to slow Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford has struggled to spread the wealth around. With Chicago forcing turnovers and defensive scores against nearly everyone, they should have a field day on Monday night.
Record (Week): 11-2
Record (Season): 63-41