North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Early NFL Playoff Picks

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So, it’s week 16 now. The NFL is pretty much set, but not 100%. So, here are some pretty much blind (only a look at the standings and schedule) pick of the playoff teams.

AFC playoff teams – New England (East), Pittsburgh (North), Tennessee (South), Denver (West), Baltimore (Wild Card), Indianapolis (Wild Card)

After nearly losing a home game to the Bills, the Jets are looking shaky. And with a tough end to their schedule, a home game to the Dolphins, I don’t know if they can pull it out. It feels too much like their season will come down to that game. But the Patriots are looking better as the season goes on, and they have a tepid schedule – a home game against Arizona and an away game in Buffalo. I like their odds more then I like the Jets.

Denver’s lead over San Diego seems to be enough for me, especially after the Chargers nearly lost to Kansas City. Even if the Broncos somehow let them back into the race, they’ll meet on the last day of the season, and they beat the Chargers once already.

Given the AFC East’s tightness, I don’t think any team will have a good enough record to emerge for the Wild Card since Indianapolis already has 10 wins. That leaves Baltimore as the other Wild Card, but they have a tough schedule – Dallas and Jacksonville. It’ll either be them or the Jets, but think the Ravens defence will carry them to the playoffs.

Pittsburgh and Tennessee have already clinched.

NFC playoff teams – New York Giants (East), Chicago (North), Carolina (South), Arizona, (West), Dallas (Wild Card), Atlanta (Wild Card)

Why Chicago? Minnesota has won four in a row, but I still don’t trust them. They play Atlanta, who seem to still be coming on, and the Giants, who are looking great so far. However, the Bears have an easier schedule: Green Bay and Houston. I like them to win the North by a game.

Carolina has a two-game lead in the NFC South, and although they haven’t clinched, they would need to drop their next two (Giants and Saints) and have either Tampa Bay or Atlanta win their next two, just to force a tie break. So, I like their odds.

Dallas is coming on strong as the season progresses, but their locker room drama could scuttle their season. They have two tough games coming up (Baltimore and Philly). I expect they’ll win at least one of those and sneak into the playoffs with a 10-6 record, just beating out Minnesota.

Atlanta is a sentimental pick. I like Matt Ryan and they have an easy schedule: Minnesota and St. Louis. If they beat the Vikings, I like them to make the playoffs. If they lose that, though, they’re finished, and Minnesota might even win the NFC North, pushing the Bears to the other Wild Card (or even Tampa Bay, if they can stop their free fall).

I suppose that makes Atlanta / Minnesota the game to watch next week. The NFC playoff picture kind of hinges on it. Still, I’m taking the Falcons. Their offense is looking dynamic and they’ve just come off a gutty win over the Buccaneers.

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Written by M.

December 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm

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