John Grieshop/Getty Images
Obviously, before we can get into the predictions for the entirety of the playoffs—a task that is nearly impossible to nail in its own right—there must be a discussion on where every team will stand after the final regular-season snap.
I predicted where every playoff team would finish last week. Although there were a few developments after this past weekend’s action, things are the same for many of the league’s contenders. For the sake of brevity and avoiding redundancy, here’s where I see the league’s best falling.
1. Houston Texans—Sizable lead, winners of six straight.
2. New England Patriots—Own head-to-head over Denver, will be home for remaining difficult games (Houston and San Francisco).
3. Denver Broncos—Only thing that can stop them now is a desire to rest Peyton Manning.
4. Baltimore Ravens—Difficult games for the duration, just not as good as Denver or New England.
5. Indianapolis Colts—Two very winnable games remaining (vs. Tennessee, at Kansas City) and already have one game wild-card lead.
6. Cincinnati Bengals—Surprise! Pittsburgh has more unknowns, Cincinnati has won four straight.
1. Atlanta Falcons—Nearly insurmountable lead in conference.
2. Green Bay Packers—Aaron Rodgers hasn’t lost to an NFC North team since September 27, 2010, three left within the division.
3. San Francisco 49ers—Travel to New England and Seattle in Weeks 15 and 16.
4. New York Giants—Could go 1-3 or 3-1 over final four, 2-2 should be good enough.
5. Chicago Bears—Need two more wins, one home game left.
6. Pick ‘em—I like Tampa Bay as Bucs are home for Philadelphia and St. Louis and travel to a clinched Falcons team in Week 17.
And this was the easy part…