2010 NFL Predictions: NFC Playoff Picture
It's just week seven, but with the season almost half over it's time to look at who's leading the race to the playoffs. We'll start in the NFC East, where no division has been won yet and questions of doubt looms over every team.
We'll take a look at who'll win each division as well as the two wild card teams that will make the playoffs, So enjoy and be sure to leave comments.
NFC East Champion
When it comes to the east the Cowboys can't get out of their own way, the Redskins are starting to be taken seriously and they'll be content with seven wins, and the Eagles are getting more injured every week. That leaves the Giants as the best all around team in the East.
Eli Manning is having a solid season, and the passing game is doing just fine without Plaxico Burress as Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks have grown up. The running game has taken off with Ahmad Bradshaw as the starter making the Giants attack well balanced.
The Giants are currently ranked second in pass defense and total defense, a huge credit to first year defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who's found a way to use all the athletes on the Giants and blitzes everyone from everywhere.
The only thing going against the Giants is that they have a tendency to lose a trap game and they have one this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Also the Giants have a rough December with three road games against the Vikings, Packers and Redskins.
NFC North Champion
This division is a three way race, but Minnesota is still inconsistent on offense despite their win against Dallas and Favre is injured. Green Bay has been hit hard by the injury bug, as well as dropping two straight at home to inferior opponents.
That leaves the Bears, who seem to do just enough every week to win. Jay Cutler has been a lot better in his second season, cutting down on his interceptions and while Matt Forte has just one 100-yard rushing game, he's been effective getting into the end zone with six TDs this season.
The Bears will need to pick it up however, because winning on other teams mistakes will only take you so far, and a gruesome December has them playing the Patriots, Vikings, Jets and Packers.
NFC South Champion
This division is the most competitive in the NFC. The Saints high powered offense is having engine trouble, meanwhile the Falcons and Buccaneers are exceeding expectations.
The Saints are still the defending super bowl champions and that's who I'm picking to win this division. Drew Brees hasn't been able to go down the field the way he did last season, but he's still been able to get the Saints into the end zone and while their running back by committee hasn't gotten the best results, Reggie Bush should be back by the last month of the season.
The Saints are also blessed with a manageable November at they play five straight games against teams with losing records. If they can use those games to build a lead then they might be able to win the division before they wrap up the season with a road game against the Falcons and their season finale at home against the Bucs.
NFC West Champion
This division is a model of inferiority. It will only take eight wins to win this division mostly because their isn't a team in this division who can win more than eight games.
The Niners have lost every way imaginable and the Cardinals have an undrafted rookie at quarterback. That leaves the Rams, who have the best quarterback in the division in rookie Sam Bradford and the Seahawks who've been finding new ways to win.
I'm going with the Seahawks who've got six games left this season against teams under .500. They're in the bottom of the league in almost every offensive category, but they find a way to win and they stop the run, which will benefit them at the end of the season when the weather changes.
What's even better is that Matt Hasselbeck has cut down on his interceptions and while they don't get a ton a yards, they're efficient with the ball.
Again it won't take much to win this division, so all the Seahawks have to do is win the games they should and they'll be fine.
Wild Card Teams
The Philadelphia Eagles might not be good enough to win the east, but the wild card is certainly within their grasp. They put a beatdown on the Falcons last week, showing they can play with the best in the conference and weather it's Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb running the show they keep winning games.
The defense is still a solid aggressive unit that loves to get to the QB and while DeSean Jackson might be out the next few weeks, the big play ability is still there and LeSean McCoy is doing a good job with the carries he's getting in a pass friendly offense.
The schedule doesn't work in their favor however, as they've played just one division game so far, (which they lost) but coach Andy Reid has done a great job of getting the Eagles up for big games in his tenure with the team.
The Atlanta Falcons will also make a return to the playoffs after missing last season due to injuries to their star players. Micheal Turner is having a great season after being banged up most of last year and Matt Ryan continues to show maturity and poise in the pocket.
What's even better for them, is their defense has played above expectations so far this season. They're still getting torched through the air, but this season they've been able to stop the run making it harder for teams to get in third and short situations. They also have five games left in their division and have already beaten the Saints this season, so the rest of the division shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Next Week: AFC Playoff Predictions
Stay tuned as we'll go the the AFC on Monday. Can the Manning and the Colts keep their hold on the NFC South without two of his favorite targets and Houston and Tennessee on above them in the standing?
Can the Patriots play continue to keep the pressure on the Jets while going back to their old fashioned offense?
Who will win the yearly battle of the north between the Steelers and the Ravens and can the Bengals make themselves relevant?
Will the Chargers go on their yearly eight game winning streak or will the Chiefs see their first playoff appearance since 2006?