North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Seperating the wheat from the chaff

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Week 13 is when the real season begins.

By now we’ve already seen who the pretenders, the winners, the dark horses and the losers are in the NFL. This is when the real competion begins for the few spots left in the NFL playoff race – and when teams have to give it all to get in.

Who’s in – NFC Edition:
Division Winners:
NFC Central + Bye Week: Chicago Bears
Even with Rex “third string on anybody else” Grossman as their QB, dah Bears have locked up their division again. The real question now is if their defence can keep it up. Either way, it’s a given (since they already clinched the spot) that they’ll make the postseason.
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
I never thought I’d say this – but how many people thought they would, right? – but Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this year. He’ll carry the Cowboys into the playoffs for sure; they’ll play a slumping Atlanta team, a subpar Philadelphia Eagles and the terrible Detroit Lions – and one game against a good New Orleans Saints. All things considered, I expect the Cowboys to win their division with a 11-5 record.
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
The Saints offence is great this year – Reggie Bush has been on fire the last few games (including a great 4 TD showing on December 3rd) and Drew Brees is on pace for being the QB of the year, not to mention how good Duece McAllister, Marques Colston and Joe Horn have been. Their main problem is that they’re facing a bit of a tough schedule towards the playoffs (Dallas, Washington, New York and Carolina), so they won’t go in on any kind of a roll. Expect them to finish 10-6.
NFC West + Bye Week: Seattle Seahawks
Even without their two best players (Matt Hasselbeck and Sean Alexander) the Seahawks are still a force to be reckoned with, especially when they have as easy a second half as they do: they play Arizona, San Francisco, San Diego and Tampa Bay – and they should easily win three, if not all four, of those games. Look for them to enter the postseason on a positive four-game winning streak, with a record of 12-4.
Wild Card: New York Giants
Yes, the team appears to be on a skid – but they’ve lost their last two games by a total of six points (all year they haven’t been able to win close games: they either win by a touchdown or they lose by a field goal, generally). And while having them run the table would be nice – it won’t happen, but it’d be nice – they’ll pull out wins against Philadelphia and Washington and squeak into the playoffs. Final record: 8-8
Wild Card: Carolina Panthers
They’re good, but their schedule (Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans) and conference record (4-4) aren’t. But their divison record is (3-1). They’ll finish 8-8 and just make the cut.

Who’s out (and why):
Atlanta Falcons – Vick’s better then ever, but his receivers aren’t. They’ll finish 8-8 and just miss the cut.
Minnesota Vikings: They looked good for a bit, but won’t have enough to finish. They’ll finish 7-9 with wins against St. Louis and Detroit.
St. Louis: The early underdog favorites looked good early on, but have faded fast (does anybody even count them anymore?). They’ll finish strong, beating Oakland and maybe Washington (maybe) but it won’t be enough (look for them to give St. Louis a good game, though): 7-9 overall.

AFC editon will be up by the end of the week.

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