With the official halfway mark of the season being this week, I’ll have a few mid-season posts coming throughout the week. So let’s look at the playoff picture, shall we?
Current NFC Playoff Picture: (1) Atlanta, (2) Chicago, (3) New York Giants, (4) San Francisco, (5) Minnesota, (6) Green Bay
The current scenario gives us two great Wild Card games. The Packers would get in as the six seed and travel to New York in the first round, while San Francisco and Minnesota would meet for a rematch of San Fran’s first loss of the season. Just missing the top six are NFC West teams Seattle and Arizona, who are 4-4.
Current AFC Playoff Picture: (1) Houston, (2) Baltimore, (3) New England, (4) Denver, (5) Miami, (6) Indianapolis
With five rookie quarterbacks currently starting around the league, it’s no surprise that one of them is playoff-bound. Also less surprising is that Andrew Luck is the one making it to the postseason. What is surprising though is that the second rookie quarterback in is Ryan Tannehill and his Miami Dolphins. But that would be the reality if the season ended today. We would also get to see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the Wild Card as they face off against the first year signal-callers. Just missing out is actually Pittsburgh, who Indy jumps over based on win percentage in conference games.
So what do I expect the playoffs to look like at the end of the season? I’ll make a prediction later on in the week. Let’s pick for now. Last week, I went 9-5, bringing my season record to 72-46.
San Diego over Kansas City
Kansas City look more and more like the 2010 Panthers each week. Do they have weapons? A few, yes. As a whole? They’re bad. And their QB situation? Awful. They’re well on their way to a top QB in April’s draft.
Denver over Cincinnati
Every week, the Broncos offense continues to gel and look more like a playoff contender. What Peyton is doing with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker secured Comeback Player of the Year in Week 1. Now he’s gunning for a fifth MVP award (a fifth).
Baltimore over Cleveland
Baltimore may have shown their true colors minus, Lewis and Webb, against Houston two weeks ago, but the playoffs are still in sight. They need this win against Cleveland though, who is riding a two-game win streak and playing much better on offense.
Green Bay over Arizona
Green Bay hasn’t looked nearly as dangerous as they did last season, but Arizona’s bubble burst on offense weeks ago. Green Bay will take this one and push Arizona further towards the bottom of the NFC.
Chicago over Tennessee
Again, if the Titans have any shot in this one, they’ll need Chris Johnson to continue his recent output. But against the league’s best run defense and one that forces so many turnovers, Hasselbeck and company are in for a rough day. The question for the Bears defense is who’s going to score this week?
Indianapolis over Miami
Another battle between rookie QBs. Both teams have built their 4-3 reputations as teams you can’t write off. This looks to have Game of the Week all over it, but I’m taking the Colts in a nail-biter. Can’t help but love what Andrew Luck’s done in the clutch this season.
Carolina over Washington
Ignore the fact that Robert Griffin is under center now, and go back to Cam Newton’s game against Washington his rookie year. It was literally too easy against a defense that hasn’t changed from last year. I’ll break the trend and take Carolina today.
Detroit over Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s season has been one to forget so far, but this looks winnable on paper. Especially if they can slow down Calvin Johnson like other teams have. Without Megatron running free, the Lions offense struggles. Detroit’s special teams could also allow a valuable Jags touchdown return at some point. With all that said, I’m taking Detroit.
Houston over Buffalo
Buffalo will need to utilize both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson this week. Both should be on the field at all times to stretch the defense, opening up some options for Ryan Fitzpatrick through the air. But if that fails, J.J. Watt will be in the backfield to greet the Bills QB.
Oakland over Tampa Bay
I changed this one at the last minute because, well, neither of these teams have been a model for consistency. Either one can take it and I’m expecting Darren McFadden to break out and have a big day, while Carson Palmer makes smart throw and limits his turnovers. Don’t prove me wrong, Oakland.
Seattle over Minnesota
The key to this game will be how Minnesota uses Percy Harvin. I expect him to have trouble against the physical corners of Seattle (Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman), but with Adrian Peterson running so well out of the backfield he may just have to suffer through it. Both teams have a better run game, but Seattle is a different team at home.
New York Giants over Pittsburgh
The two best QBs in the 2004 draft class. Whether it’s the best QB class of all-time is up for debate, but what isn’t is the Giants being the better team. If it is close, it’s hard not to favor Eli.
Atlanta over Dallas
Dallas fans are feeling an upset, but I’m not sold. Say what you want about how Atlanta’s looked this season, but a team that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as well as they do will always get the edge over a team that has done the opposite.
Philadelphia over New Orleans
I switched this game around a few times as well. New Orleans is at home, but that defense is bad everywhere. Vick turns the ball over constantly, but he’s on the hot seat right now. *Flips coin* Eagles.