NFL Playoffs: Down the Stretch They Come Who Will Make the Playoffs in the NFC
Can you imagine Michel Vick returning to Atlanta for the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl?
It would be one of the most intriguing conference championship games of all-time. But the only way it can happen is if the Eagles make the playoffs.
Some of you may think the Eagles are a lock to punch a playoff ticket and that's due in large part to people blindly thinking the Eagles are good.
And then there's the other fraud team polluting everyone's brains: the Chicago Bears.
How fraudulent are the Bears? Glad you asked.
They will beat the Patriots next week, find themselves considered one of the best teams in the league and then lose their final three games of the regular season.
The following slides show NFC teams competing for a playoff spot with their current record through Week 13 and how they will finish the season based on my predictions.
Not Quite Ready: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5), (9-7)
No one thought Tampa Bay had a legit shot to make the playoffs except for head coach Raheem Morris, the players and a few delusional fans.
In the end, the experts and a majority of the country will be correct in assessing the Bucs as a team not ready for the playoffs this season. But the majority was wrong in assuming this team was not going to be in the playoff hunt throughout the season.
As it stands, the Bucs need to find a way to upend Washington and New Orleans and on the road. I don't think either is going to happen.
@ Washington – L
Detroit – W
Seattle – W
@ New Orleans – L
Epic Collapse: Chicago Bears: (9-3), (10-6)
This pick is going to make Bears fans say, "Oh you're an Eagles fan and you're just jealous we beat your team."
If you're going to come up with that illogical response, then please tell me why the next team on the list is in the playoffs. I'd love to hear how you spin it then.
Bottom line is this: The Bears are getting a little too much love for beating an Eagles team that drove the ball up and down the field and failed to convert in the red zone. Keep bending because you will eventually break.
And if you still don't believe me that the Bears miss the playoffs, then please tell me what result listed below is so out of line.
The terrible loss to the Giants is going to come back to haunt this team.
Oh, and don't forget that Jay Cutler is still the quarterback and he is just dying to throw a stupid pick to blow it.
New England - W
@ Minnesota - L
N.Y. Jets - L
@ Green Bay - L
No. 6 Seed: New York Giants: (8-4), (10-6)
The Giants may be the most difficult team to get a read on.
At the beginning of the season it looked like they were destined to go 8-8. And then after five straight wins they were considered the elite team in the NFC.
And now what?
I still don't think this is a great team, but I think they benefit greatly by playing Washington for the season finale and catching an overrated Eagles team at home.
The best part about the Giants finishing as the No.6 seed is who they will face in the playoffs.
@Minnesota - L
Philadelphia - W
@ Green Bay - L
@ Washington - W
No. 5 Seed: New Orleans (9-3), (12-4)
The Saints will kind of get screwed by finishing as the No. 5 seed and finding themselves on the road during Wild Card weekend. But they will be rewarded by playing whatever slop emerges out of the NFC West.
New Orleans isn't getting the turnovers they got last year, and the offense isn't clicking like we are used to. The scary part is that both phases are slowly coming together for the stretch run.
And if the Saints start to play like the defending Super Bowl champions, they could easily find themselves playing at Dallas' stadium for the second time this season.
St. Louis - W
@ Baltimore - L
@ Atlanta - W
Tampa Bay - W
No. 4 Seed: NFC West
When John Skelton is bailing out Derek Anderson and Max Hall you know it's bad.
We could go on and on about this division, but why waste our time if they are going to waste a playoff spot?
No. 3 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles (8-4), (11-5)
Make no mistake about it, this is the second-most overrated team in the NFL behind the Chicago Bears.
The offense stalls in the red zone, and the defense can't stop teams in the red zone. It's a deadly combination that can only survive against terrible teams.
Enter the final four games on the Eagles' schedule.
@ Dallas - W
@ New York Giants - L
Minnesota - W
Dallas - W
No. 2: Green Bay Packers (8-4), (11-5)
This team has two huge hurdles in the playoffs.
First they need to overcome their terrible, non-existent running game. With a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye they should be able to knock off whoever rolls into Lambeau Field.
The second obstacle in their way is the Atlanta Falcons. The Packers went into Atlanta a couple weeks ago, made some mistakes, didn't capitalize on others and eventually lost. Now the Falcons have the inside track to the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and it will burn the Packers.
@ Detroit - W
@ New England - L
N.Y. Giants - W
Chicago - W
No. 1 Seed: Atlanta Falcons (10-2), (13-3)
The Falcons were handed an unbelievably favorable home schedule and they have taken full advantage of it. That may sound lucky to some, but to me that sounds like a good team not wasting a golden opportunity.
So far this season they've played terrible Arizona, San Francisco and Cincinnati teams.
Then they came off a bye to face Tampa Bay, caught Baltimore on a short week and faced Green Bay on its second-consecutive road game following a divisional game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The only team that matches up well against the Falcons is the New York Giants. But I don't think that matchup is going to happen.
@ Carolina - W
@ Seattle - W
New Orleans - L
Carolina - W
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