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NFL Playoffs – After Week 7

Oddly enough this was a fairly consistent week for the NFL. There wasn’t hardly any movement in the AFC while the NFC adjusted just a bit although none of the primary teams really moved that much further in or out of playoff contention according to the seedings. It seems early although maybe that is just an illusion? At this point I think we can start to look at the teams & their schedules in terms of games they “should” win. For example, the Jets should probably win all of their homes games remaining because championship teams take care of their own backyards. That puts the Jets with 10 wins.

New York has road games remaining against Lions, Browns, Patriots, Steelers, & Bears. The Jets should be able to beat Detroit, Cleveland & Chicago which means the Jets are looking at a potential record of 13-3 to end the season assuming road losses to the Patriots & Steelers who consider themselves championship football teams in their own right. The Jets have laid a solid foundation at 5-1 to start the year. Now it’s just building on it. We can pretty much do this with all the teams to get an idea of the storylines moving forward.

AFC Playoff Seedings After Week 7

1. New York Jets 5-1 (Last Week #1)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-1 (#2)

3. Tennessee Titans 5-2 (#7)

4. Kansas City Chiefs 4-2 (#4)
5. New England Patriots 5-1 (#5)
6. Baltimore Ravens 5-2 (#6)
7. Houston Texans 4-2 (#3)
8. Indianapolis Colts 4-2 (#8)

9. Miami Dolphins 3-3 (#9)
10. Oakland Raiders 3-4 (#12)
11. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-4 (#10)
12. Cincinnati Bengals 2-4 (#11)

13. Cleveland Browns 2-5 (#15)
14. Denver Broncos 2-5 (#13)
15. San Diego Chargers 2-5 (#14)

16. Buffalo Bills 0-6 (#16)

The big winners this week are the Tennessee Titans who took advantage of Houston being idle to move into the 1st place spot in the AFC South by a half game over both the Texans & the Colts. The Titans can keep this advantage up if they beat the Chargers this week in San Diego because they’ll be on bye in Week 9 which would allow the Texans to catch back up if they can beat Indianapolis at Lucas Oil on Monday night this week. Speaking of the Texans, they are the big losers this week, dropping 4 spots from #3 to #7 by way of losing the top spot in the AFC South despite not playing. For the most part we are only 6-7 games in, but the AFC seems pretty stable with the top-9 teams. Unless something crazy happens, I think it’s safe to say Oakland, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, San Diego & Buffalo are not playoff teams. That’s 9 teams for 6 spots.

NFC Playoff Seedings After Week 7

1. New York Giants 5-2 (Last Week #1)
2. Atlanta Falcons 5-2 (#2)
3. Seattle Seahawks 4-2 (#7)
4. Chicago Bears 4-3 (#3)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-2 (#8)

6. Washington Redskins 4-3 (#9)
7. New Orleans Saints 4-3 (#5)
8. Green Bay Packers 4-3 (#11)
9. Philadelphia Eagles 4-3 (#6)
10. Arizona Cardinals 3-3 (#4)
11. St. Louis Rams 3-4 (#10)
12. Minnesota Vikings 2-4 (#12)
13. Carolina Panthers 1-5 (#16)

14. Detroit Lions 1-5 (#14)
15. Dallas Cowboys 1-5 (#13)

16. San Francisco 49ers 1-6 (#15)

The big winners & big losers reside in the NFC West as the Seahawks & Cardinals went in opposite directions after Seattle beat Arizona this past Sunday. This will probably be a common theme for most of the year if any team in the West makes a run at Seattle. They’ll flip flop between that #4 seed & somewhere way down the seedings. Seattle made a 4 spot jump from #7 to #3 while the Cardinals nosedived from #4 to #10. The NFC isn’t as clearly delineated as the AFC in my opinion. While I think it’s fairly safe to assume the Lions, Panthers, Cowboys & 49ers as dead in the water, the other 12 teams have shots at the playoffs. Mostly that’s a function of the Bucs being decent so far & the East & North division being a bit haggard outside of the Giants. I mean, Raheem Morris went on record as stating he thinks the Bucs are the best team in the NFC! Whoa coach! Get a hold of yourself!

Wild Card Matchups

#6 Baltimore Ravens at #3 Tennessee Titans
#5 New England Patriots at #4 Kansas City Chiefs
#6 Washington Redskins at #3 Seattle Seahawks
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at #4 Chicago Bears

No real showcase games from an historical perspective. We are still in line for the Patriots/Chiefs tilt which would be interesting because of all the former Patriots guys now playing/coaching for Kansas City. We also get an old NFC Central battle between the Bears & Bucs! That would be pretty cool if only Tampa Bay would come back out with the dreamcicle uniforms with Buccaneer Bruce on the helmets!

I think the Ravens/Titans are interesting. To me this should be a bigger rival than what it is because a lot of times both teams are sort of about the same stuff. Both have made their reputations on fantastic defenses. The Ravens have been a little more successful than Tennessee, but for the most part this is somewhat of a close regional game as well because it’s not like Nashville is cross country from Baltimore. Some of that is the short history of both squads. The Ravens were established in 1996 & at that time the Titans were still the Houston Oilers.

Baltimore didn’t get any good until 2000, but there were some good games there. Remember at this time both the Ravens & Titans were in the same division as Tennessee won the AFC Central with a 13-3 record followed by Baltimore’s 12-4 mark. In the regular season, Baltimore beat the Titans in Tennessee 24-23 but lost at home 16-9. The teams would play a rubber match in the divisional round of the playoffs as Baltimore beat the Titans in Tennessee again 24-10 en route to winning the Super Bowl. The Titans weren’t very good in 2001 & in 2002 the divisions split again with the Ravens in the AFC North & the Titans in the AFC South.

In 2003 the Titans would beat Baltimore 20-17 in Baltimore but in 2008 the Titans hosted Baltimore & lost meaning that in every playoff game the Titans & Ravens have played, the road team has come out on top. Historically the Ravens & Titans have only played 17 times with Baltimore holding a 10-7 advantage:

9/21/97: Ravens 36, Titans 10
12/14/97: Ravens 21, Titans 19
10/11/98: Titans 12, Ravens 8
12/6/98: Titans 16, Ravens 14
10/10/99: Titans 14, Ravens 11
12/5/99: Ravens 41, Titans 14
10/22/00: Titans 14, Ravens 6
11/12/00: Ravens 24, Titans 23
1/7/01: Ravens 24, Titans 10 (AFC Divisional Playoff Game)
10/7/01: Ravens 26, Titans 7
11/12/01: Ravens 16, Titans 10
11/24/02: Ravens 13, Titans 12
1/3/04: Titans 20, Ravens 17 (AFC Wild Card Playoff Game)
9/18/05: Titans 25, Ravens 10
11/12/06: Ravens 27, Titans 26
10/5/08: Titans 13, Ravens 10
1/10/09: Ravens 13, Titans 10 (AFC Divisional Playoff Game)

The Ravens had a pretty good run from 2000 to 2002 but these games have been TIGHT! The average score is Baltimore 17, Tennessee 15! These two teams haven’t played each other in the regular season since 2008 & won’t meet this year either. The only way we get Titans/Ravens is in the playoffs.

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October 27, 2010 - Posted by | NFL, NFL Playoffs

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