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Old 12-19-2018, 07:41 AM
Status: "Beach time!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg/Virginia Beach, VA
10,674 posts, read 11,076,186 times
Reputation: 13950

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It's not too early to start talking about the playoffs. Part of the fun is the final few weeks of the season that lead to teams making it, not making it, seeding order, and potential big matchups taking shape. I think one of the things that makes this year somewhat exciting is there is no single team in either conference that looks unbeatable. So it seems like a year where anything can happen.


If the playoffs were to start today here's what it would look like:


AFC:


Chiefs: 11-3
Texans: 10-4
Patriots: 9-5
Steelers: 8-5-1
Chargers: 11-3
Ravens: 8-6


Still in the hunt:
Colts: 8-6
Titans: 8-6
Browns: 6-7-1


NFC:


Saints: 12-2
Rams: 11-3
Bears: 10-4
Cowboys: 8-6
Seahawks: 8-6
Vikings: 7-6-1


Still in the hunt:
Eagles: 7-7
Redskins: 7-7


Even with just 2 games remaining for every team, there is a lot of potential shifting in the playoffs landscape. It is always a lot of fun to see how these final weeks shape up. Just about the time a team appears to be getting hot they suffer a setback. Other teams appear to be fading down the stretch and come up big when they need to. It's going to be an incredible finish to the season and the playoffs should be a lot of fun to watch.
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
11,722 posts, read 11,540,543 times
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It will be, especially in the NFC. Most years the guideline for a team is ten wins, and in. This year an 8 win team might take the 6th seed! Record wise hasn't been an outstanding year for wins so there definitely could be surprises!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:14 AM
Status: "Beach time!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg/Virginia Beach, VA
10,674 posts, read 11,076,186 times
Reputation: 13950
My thoughts on the AFC:


I'm a Broncos fan and since they derped their way out of the playoffs after getting everyone's hopes up the whole thing is far less interesting to me than it otherwise would be. That doesn't mean I'm not excited though.


I'm hoping to see the Colts finish strong and overtake the Ravens for the final seed. I'm guessing the Steelers finish with the 4th seed. They haven't looked good lately but they benefit from their biggest threat facing a tough road game against the Chargers. A win by the Steelers and a loss by the Ravens seals the deal on that division race.


I am indifferent to the Chiefs or Chargers winning the West. The tie breakers favor the Chiefs so the Chargers need to win it outright. Both have tough ones up next, with the Chargers hosting the Ravens and the Chiefs visiting the Seahawks. That favors the Chargers, but we know there are no sure things. The bottom line for this Broncos fan: regardless of who wins this division and who ends up in the #5 seed: I will enjoy rooting against them in the playoffs. Of the two teams, I think the Chargers stand a far better chance of surviving as a WC team. I'd be willing to bet if the Chiefs don't win the division they can go ahead and start making off season plans beginning with the week of the divisional round. With their offense I give them a fighting chance at home, but with that defense and in the playoffs I just don't see them being able to get it done. Even playing at home, I wouldn't put it past a team like the Colts getting hot and going into Arrowhead and outshooting them.


Worth noting: the Chargers were my pre-season pick to win the AFC. Whether they win the AFC West or not they are still in a great position to represent the conference and appear to be the best all around team in the AFC at this point.


The Texans are very quietly in a great position to open up new chapters in that young franchise's history. If they hold onto that #2 seed their roadmap in the playoffs just got a little easier too.


Then we have the old guard. The Patriots and Steelers cannot be counted out simply because of HC-QB combo. While neither have looked all that good the past few weeks, playing them in their barn in the playoffs is a tough draw for any team.


All of this leaves out the possibilities if teams like the Ravens hang onto that 6th spot (or wins the North outright) or the Titans manage to get in. These scenarios inject some serious defense into the conference post season. Not to mention the Colts defense has been playing great ball recently, and with their offense they may be one of the better teams right now.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:18 AM
Status: "Beach time!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg/Virginia Beach, VA
10,674 posts, read 11,076,186 times
Reputation: 13950
Quote:
Originally Posted by susancruzs View Post
It will be, especially in the NFC. Most years the guideline for a team is ten wins, and in. This year an 8 win team might take the 6th seed! Record wise hasn't been an outstanding year for wins so there definitely could be surprises!
It's crazy how it ebbs and flows. Some years 10-6 isn't enough to get a team in. Some years 9-7 is. And usually we discount a team's chances when they reach the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but three teams have reached the Super Bowl after having a 9-7 season: the 1979 Rams, the 2008 Cardinals, and the 2011 Giants. Those three teams combined for a 1-2 record with the Giants knocking off the Patriots. So while 9-7 teams making a run is rare, it's not unheard of. Just get in and see what happens!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
11,722 posts, read 11,540,543 times
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Yep and those 9-7 Giants beat the 15-1 Packers who were trying to repeat a SB run, didn't happen. No doubt an 8 win team could make a run, once the playoffs start the season win loss record doesn't matter as much, and 6th seeds do win the Super Bowl. This year will be interesting! I'm not sure who I think is the strongest team in the NFC, can't tell yet!
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:38 AM
Status: "Beach time!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg/Virginia Beach, VA
10,674 posts, read 11,076,186 times
Reputation: 13950
Quote:
Originally Posted by susancruzs View Post
Yep and those 9-7 Giants beat the 15-1 Packers who were trying to repeat a SB run, didn't happen. No doubt an 8 win team could make a run, once the playoffs start the season win loss record doesn't matter as much, and 6th seeds do win the Super Bowl. This year will be interesting! I'm not sure who I think is the strongest team in the NFC, can't tell yet!
A while back I created a thread on the best "one-n-done" teams in the playoffs and I am pretty sure that 15-1 Packers team was ranked pretty high. I wonder if we'll get a chance to update that thread this year?
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:48 AM
 
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I believe the Dolphins are still in the hunt. Winning the division might be the only possibility slim as it is.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:04 AM
Status: "Beach time!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg/Virginia Beach, VA
10,674 posts, read 11,076,186 times
Reputation: 13950
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill the Butcher View Post
I believe the Dolphins are still in the hunt. Winning the division might be the only possibility slim as it is.
I think you're right, but I didn't run every possible scenario prior to posting. That would require a 4 game skid for the Patriots to close out their season. I consider that highly unlikely. I think we all do. But "unlikely" is not "impossible" so who knows? That's why we watch!
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
4,205 posts, read 2,822,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susancruzs View Post
Yep and those 9-7 Giants beat the 15-1 Packers who were trying to repeat a SB run, didn't happen. No doubt an 8 win team could make a run, once the playoffs start the season win loss record doesn't matter as much, and 6th seeds do win the Super Bowl. This year will be interesting! I'm not sure who I think is the strongest team in the NFC, can't tell yet!
The Saints are the best team in the NFC, if I had to guess, but it's close. They've been the most consistent team through 14 games. I will say, there is a ton of parity at the top: the Saints, Bears, and Seahawks all have Top 10 offense and defense; this is one reason why, I don't think it's likely, but I think Seattle is good enough to run the table. They have an elite defense and the ability to score in a shootout...

The Saints and the Bears both have the highest point differentials in the NFL. Both for the season, and for the last three weeks. Its remarkable, one if them will win the NFC, but I do have Seattle as a dark horse. I'm surprised how many people seem down on the Saints. They just played three consecutive road games, two versus division rivals, went 2-1, and the game they lost they shut the other team out in the second half and lost by 3...

If anything the last three games showed the Saints are resilient and can beat you on your field, and they can beat you when their offense isn't playing well, which we didn't know a month ago. Everybody is ragging their offense, but people aren't paying attention. This league has always been about adjustments. The season started with record breaking offensive play, and everyone was ready to say defense doesn't exist. The last month of NFL football has showed us after a rough first half, defenses have begun to catch up to the new rules and offensive favoritism. All of the top offenses have been grounded in the last month by elite defensive play:

•the Chiefs had only scored fewer than 30 points only twice all year, and have been held to less than 30 in back to back weeks now, and basically were shut down in the 4th quarter last week...

•Rams had also only scored under 30 just twice, and haven't even scored 30 in the last two weeks combined...

•Pittsburgh clearly had trouble running the ball until last week and came off a 3-game losing streak that the offense looked dysfunctional at times...

•New England's offense was shut down in the second half by an average, #15 Steelers defense!

•the Colts have the #8 offense and yet were just blanked two weeks ago by a Jaguars team that not only got 40 dropped on them by Dallas, but a Jaguars team that couldn't even score a touchdown and kept begging the Colts to steal that game. Indianapolis would gave won the game with a frigging touchdown lol...

So all week I'm hearing people pile on the Saints. To be sure, the offense has lacked explosiveness recently and they have line injuries, but they are part of the league-wide story that defensive staffs have figured out how to neutralize these potent offenses. And to me, that's a beautiful and exciting thing. You still win if you can create takeaways and keep the opponent out of the endzone. It doesn't matter how many yards the other team rolls up anymore, that's an archaic defensive measure in today's NFL. Force turnovers, play strong in the red zone and on 3rd downs and keep the other side from scoring touchdowns...

Nobody is unbeatable, but I still have more confidence in NOLA than anyone else. I think they can win anywhere, and when the offense starts clicking again, provided the #8 defense continues elite play, I still think they win it all...

The Chargers are the only AFC team with both a Top 10 offense and defense, and the only AFC team i think can win anymore. The Colts are my AFC dark horse if they can get in, but they gotta get in first. I still think LA is better but the AFC bracket is weak. Never was sold on Kansas City!
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
11,722 posts, read 11,540,543 times
Reputation: 12484
Good summation by you, can't disagree with any of it! If I had to choose, I would like to see Saints and Chargers in the SB. I like both of their QBs (not a good reason to some probably).
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