Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike: NFL Update

C KSenior Analyst INovember 22, 2008

Hello friends, and welcome back to your favorite weekly talk show (or whatever you call this).
Scott Eisenlohr and I are back to debate our next subject.
This week, the topic is "What is your current outlook on the NFL playoffs?"
Since Scott published the article last week, it is my turn to publish it, so Scott was the one giving his side of the story to me first.
If you have not read any of our series before, here's how it goes down:
Someone makes a few points on the topic and expands on those points. Then, the other person comes back with counter-points. So it's basically a point-counterpoint.
Here we go folks, enjoy (his point will be in regular text, mine will be in italics).
Scott: It’s Week 12 in the National Football League and playoff dreams can vanish quicker than a Thanksgiving turkey leg.
There are just two almost sure bets in the NFL: the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South sitting at 10-0, and the New York Giants at 9-1 with a 3-game lead in the tough NFC East.
Here are my division winners, wild-card picks, and the Super Bowl representatives in both leagues. I will take a look at each division, some obviously more clear than others, which are as cloudy as the turkey gravy.
Enough of this turkey talk, let's get down to business!

East: The Jets (7-3) face a statement game on Sunday against the undefeated Titans. Even if they lose, the are the class of the division. Their win against the Patriots could mark a passing of the guard.
The Dolphins are streaking with a four-game win streak and are tied with the Patriots 6-4. The Bills at 5-5 are not out of it, but sinking fast with a four-game losing streak. Jets win division, Patriots wild card.
I agree, the Bills are pretty much done. There's almost no hope for them. And the same goes for the Dolphins in my mind. I cannot see them sustaining anything.
But I have to disagree about the Pats and the Jets. As good as the Jets looked, I still think the leadership and experience of the Patriots will pay off big in the end. It's just a one-game lead, and both teams have the same kind of schedule, so I see the Pats, the better team, prevailing here.
Yet, I do see the Jets winning a wild card.

West: Are the Broncos for real at 6-4? No, I think the Chargers surge, sitting at 4-6, to take the West. No wild card.
Are the Broncos for real? No. But the Chargers are just a joke. This team is a bigger disappointment than the Eagles, and that's hard to beat. No way Chargers charge (clever) here. Broncos win division, no wild card.

North: Ravens? Browns? Nope. Bengals? Excuse me! Steelers and Big Ben Roethlisberger win the North. The Ravens could win wild card, but doubtful. No wild card.
I have to completely agree here. I think it's almost obvious that the Steelers will win this division, and after that, I don't think the Ravens have the consistency on offense it takes to take down the South wild card winner.

South: Are the Titans for real? Sunday, and Week 11, could go a long way towards telling. And when will the Dorian Gray picture of Kerry Collins be ripped up? Remember Jeff Garcia in last year’s playoffs? Titans win, but lose in the first round of the playoffs. Colts (6-4) charge ahead make the wild card.
I think it's already evident that the Titans are for real. Their defense is one of the toughest in the league, and their offense is somehow finding ways to score in the pass game.
I do agree here that the Titans will win the division, and I also agree that the Colts take the final wild card spot. Both teams are playing very well, and that should continue.

AFC Champion: Indianapolis Colts.
Not so fast! Colts ain't goin' anywhere!
I see the Steelers taking this title home. Their big and tough defense is the best in the league by far in my opinion, and their offense should be getting healthy very soon. If the Steelers can get a first round bye, Willie Parker will be able to get as healthy as he can, and Big Ben will get even more chances to rest.
The only team I could see taking them down is the Titans, but I think they'll get the Colts disease...go undefeated until Week 12, 13, or 14, then lose in the playoffs.

East: Giants, Giants, Giants. Brandon Jacobs, left; Derrick Ward, right; and in the fourth quarter, Ahmad Bradshaw, up the gut in when defenses are tired. And don’t get lulled by the running game.
Eli Manning has as many Super Bowl rings as his brother, and Plaxico Burress is the Giants' top receiver. Dallas tops Washington as the wild-card winner.
Yes, Giants win this division easily. It's obvious to me.
Yet, it's still unclear to me who will get the wild card here in the East. So what am I going to do? I'm going to pick nobody. That's right. Who would have thought? Just one NFC East team makes it to the playoffs?
That's how I see it...the Redskins seem to be falling piece by piece, the Cowboys are unpredictable, and the Eagles are too inconsistent.

West: Kurt Warner is out Favring Favre. The Cardinals walk in this division. No wild card.
Is there any need for an argument here? Cardinals win easily.

North: Who wants this division? Packers, Bears, and Vikings all sit at 5-5. Home cooking wins the division for the Vikings. No wild card.
I beg to differ.
Have we forgotten how good the Packers were last year? They're are the same team as last year, just a different QB, who is actually playing just as good as the QB last year. That's Aaron Rodgers over Brett Favre.
I think the Packers put it together and make a late push for the North. Packers win the division, and no wild card.

South: Everybody is alive here, but unlike the North, all have records above .500, except the Saints at 5-5. Buccaneers win the division and the Carolina Panthers make the wild card in a tight race with the Falcons and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan.
Now this is the powerhouse division! This is the most underrated division I can remember.
We have one of the best teams with the Carolina Panthers, a very strong team with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a young and surprising Atlanta Falcons, and a little disappointing, yet still strong, New Orleans Saints.
I would say the Panthers win the division easily, but it's very unclear who will take the two wild card spots.
I think the Buccaneers will lock up a wild card spot pretty easily, yet it's hard to choose between the Falcons and the Saints.
Picking the Falcons would be a risky pick, but I'm going to pick them because of their consistency over the Saints' inconsistency.

NFC Champion: Arizona Cardinals
I almost agree, but I just can't. As much as I would love to see Kurt Warner win the Super Bowl, I don't see it happening. I see a much more consistent Panthers team beating out the Giants and Cardinals en route to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl- Peyton tops Eli in the family race for Super Bowl wins as the Colts clip the Cardinals’ wings, 34-20.
I say the Panthers top the Steelers. The one-two punch for the Panthers' running game (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart) is turning it on, and I expect Jake Delhomme to get his pass game with Steve Smith going as well.
The Steelers just do not have enough offensive scoring ability, as it will lead to their downfall.
Panthers take down Steelers, 27-23.

There you have it folks.
That's all for this week.
For Scott Eisenlohr, this is Christian Karcole signing out, and wishing you a joyous and peaceful Thanksgiving.