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NFL Playoffs – After Week 9

The NFL season is now all the way past half way done. It seems amazing at how fast the season has gone by! A couple of interesting notes about the playoffs and how they are shaping up. The first is the fate of the AFC Wild Cards. Forget about the division champions, I think you have the Jets, Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Ravens, Titans, Raiders, Chargers, and possibly even the Texans in line for playoff spots in a ridiculously competitive AFC. That is 9 teams for 6 spots meaning you could argue 3 playoff teams won’t make the playoffs at all. I know a lot of talk around Indianapolis on the local radio stations are all about watching other teams now and hoping they lose. That is quite a departure from what has happened to the Colts recently as they raced out to 12-13 wins in almost as many weeks.

I believe a good race in the NFC is whether or not the NFC South can get 3 teams into the playoffs by providing both wild card teams. Tampa Bay showed a little something by not getting blown out by the Falcons. While the Bears & Eagles are making plays for the wild cards spots the Bucs are here to stay in my opinion. After an interesting week behind us, here is how the playoff seeds look after 9 weeks of the NFL!

AFC Playoff Seedings After Week 9

1. Baltimore Ravens 6-2 (Last Week #2)
2. New York Jets 6-2 (#5)
3. Kansas City Chiefs 5-3 (#3)
4. Tennessee Titans 5-3 (#7)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-2 (#6)
6. New England Patriots 6-2 (#1)
7. Indianapolis Colts 5-3 (#4)
8. Oakland Raiders 5-4 (#10)
9. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-4 (#11)
10. Houston Texans 4-4 (#8)
11. Miami Dolphins 4-4 (#9)
12. San Diego Chargers 4-5 (#12)
13. Cleveland Browns 3-5 (#13)
14. Cincinnati Bengals 2-6 (#14)
15. Denver Broncos 2-6 (#15)
16. Buffalo Bills 0-8 (#16)

The big winners this week are the New York Jets & Tennessee Titans who both jump 3 spots. The Titans jump into the playoffs after being one slot outside from a week ago while the Jets move up to the #2 seed which would give them a 1st round bye plus a home game in the divisional round. The Jets benefited from the Patriots losing to the Browns this past week as the Jets currently own the tiebreaker over the Patriots forcing New England into a Wild Card role despite being tied for the best record in the AFC. The Titans benefited from the Colts loss to Philadelphia elevating the Titans past Indianapolis based on divisional record. Oddly enough the Colts & Titans don’t play each other until Week 14 which means they’ll play twice in the last 4 weeks of the season.

The big losers in the AFC are the New England Patriots who fell 5 spots from #1 to #6 after getting blasted 34-14 by the Browns. Even though the Patriots are still a playoff team despite this precipitous fall, it’s so very big because it turns a team who would have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the privilege of only playing 2 games into a team that would have to win 3 games all on the road to make it to the Super Bowl. Keep an eye on Oakland & San Diego. I’m just sayin’.

NFC Playoff Seeding After Week 9

1. New York Giants 6-2 (Last Week #1)
2. Atlanta Falcons 6-2 (#2)
3. Green Bay Packers 6-3 (#3)
4. St. Louis Rams 4-4 (#9)
5. New Orleans Saints 6-3 (#6)
6. Philadelphia Eagles 5-3 (#7)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-3 (#5)
8. Chicago Bears 5-3 (#8)
9. Washington Redskins 4-4 (#10)
10. Seattle Seahawks 4-4 (#4)
11. Minnesota Vikings 3-5 (#12)
12. Arizona Cardinals 3-5 (#11)
13. Detroit Lions 2-6 (#13)
14. San Francisco 49ers 2-6 (#14)
15. Carolina Panthers 1-7 (#15)
16. Dallas Cowboys 1-7 (#16)

The big winners in the NFC this week are the St. Louis Rams who move up 5 spots from #9 to #4 which guarantees them a home field playoff game due to their division championship. It would truly be amazing to see the Rams make the playoffs in Sam Bradford’s first year as a rookie QB. I was reading the other day about a comparison between Bradford and Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Both are overall #1 NFL Draft picks and despite a checkered injury history at Oklahoma, Bradford has been able to stay healthy in the NFL while Stafford has had a bit of trouble in his first two seasons in Motown. It was an interesting thought and one that makes a lot of sense for St. Louis but causes a bit of worry for those in Detroit.

The big losers of course reside in the same division as the Seattle Seahawks take a huge tumble going from the #4 seed to the #10 seed after getting humiliated at the hands of the New York Giants 41-7. The NFC West is going to go back and forth and back and forth deciding who the big winner and loser are because it’s likely an 8-8 or possibly even a 7-9 team wins that divisions. Despite being 2-6, people are still boasting that the 49ers could actually win the division. I’m rooting for the Rams.

WILD CARD MATCHUPS

#6 New England Patriots @ #3 Kansas City Chiefs
#5 Pittsburgh Steelers @ #4 Tennessee Titans
#6 Philadelphia Eagles @ #3 Green Bay Packers
#5 New Orleans Saints @ #4 St. Louis Rams

This is the 3rd or 4th time we’ve had KC/NEP. It’s still a solid game and one I think would be interesting to see. Steelers/Titans is another one of those matchups where I think there should be more history than there is. It is very much like the Ravens/Titans matchup we had after Week 7. The Eagles/Packers & Saints/Rams look OK but I think both would be blow out wins for both the Packers & Saints.

With the way the playoffs are set up, I think the Super Bowl swings back to an all New York City affair with the Giants & Jets going at it for all the marbles. I really like New England as I thought they would come out of the AFC last week, but dropping to the #6 seed and having to go on the road 3 times to get to the promised land seems a little daunting for even Bill Belichick in a season where the AFC is absolutely stacked with good teams.

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November 10, 2010 - Posted by | NFL Playoffs

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