Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 11

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NFC ANALYSIS

1. EAGLES: The Eagles keep winning & trying to pull away with the #1 overall seed but New Orleans & Minnesota keep pace every week with wins of their own. The Eagles are 7-0 against conference opponents which is just a game ahead of both the Saints & Vikings. Amazingly enough, Philadelphia doesn’t play either the Saints or Vikings this year so there are no obvious tiebreakers between Philly and their closest threats.

2. VIKINGS: Every week matters. The Vikings beat the Saints in Week 1 which is why the Vikings are the #2 seed & not New Orleans. I keep coming back to this but how amazing is the difference between the #2 & #3 seeds? You can almost argue that the #1 seed doesn’t have that much value over the #2 seed, but the value the #2 seed has over the #3 seed is enormous.

3. SAINTS: The win over Washington this past week made the Saints feel like a team of destiny. Drew Brees is absolutely one of the best QBs to ever don an NFL jersey. It would be fitting if the Purdue product could get himself another Super Bowl ring the way Peyton Manning was able to do with the the Broncos. Brees is already a legend but getting 2 rings for the Saints would be historic.

4. RAMS: Tough loss to Minnesota which drops the Rams to 7-3. The Seattle/Atlanta game was pretty big for the Rams. The Rams actually would be behind Carolina in the tiebreaker had the Seahawks won. That would have dropped the Rams from the #4 seed to the #6 seed. That’s a big drop. Instead of potentially hosting Carolina in the first round, they would have been visiting New Orleans!

5. PANTHERS: The Panthers have to be thrilled to be sitting at 7-3 and just one game behind the Saints. Carolina lost a home game earlier in the year to New Orleans which hurts quite a bit because they still have to play at  New Orleans which could mean another loss. The Panthers also have a remaining road game against Atlanta, but even if they lose both games, they should finish 11-5.

6. FALCONS: It’s worth noting that the Falcons are 6-4 currently. Last year after 10 games the Falcons were 6-4. Last year the Falcons ended the season on a 5-1 run that resulted in a berth in the Super Bowl! Don’t count out a repeat. Four of Atlanta’s final 6 games come at home & they have a very winnable road game against the Bucs. Another 5-1 ending would put Atlanta at 11-5!

7. LIONS: Detroit gets the nod over Seattle for the #7 seed because of a better conference record. The Lions are closer to Atlanta for the last wild card spot but you have to wonder if Detroit wouldn’t have an easier time trying to overtake the Vikings for the NFC North than either the Falcons or Panthers for the last wild card game? The Lions have already lost to Carolina & Atlanta meaning they are in tiebreaker hell should it come to that.

8. SEAHAWKS: The loss to Atlanta stinks because a win would have put Seattle in the driver’s seat in the NFC West. Then again, it doesn’t really matter. Yes the Seahawks are a game behind the Rams, but they’ve also already beaten the Rams once this season & they’ll play the Rams again in Seattle. If the Seahawks get a season sweep, then all they need to do is tie the Rams record to win the West.

9. PACKERS: Green Bay beat Dallas earlier in the season so they get the #9 seed in the battle between the 5-5 squads. Green Bay has remaining road games against the Steelers, Panthers & Lions. They also have a home game against the Vikings meaning the Packers are going to be extremely lucky to get to 8-8. It won’t be enough.

10. COWBOYS: The Cowboys desperately needed to beat either the Eagles or Falcons the last couple of weeks & came up empty on both counts. The season isn’t lost on Dallas because they have winnable games in 5 of their last 6 with the only almost certain loss coming on the road to the Eagles. If they finish end the season on a 5-1 streak, they’ll finish 10-6 which I think will be one game short of the wild card.

11. REDSKINS: Washington isn’t completely finished but they need to finish strong and hope for help. They have winnable games in their final 6 but even if they win out they’ll be 10-6 & will be under the same gun the Cowboys will be, hoping that Atlanta, Seattle or Carolina falter quite a bit down the stretch. Would have been interesting to see a fully healthy Redskins team this year.

12. CARDINALS: Four of Arizona’s final 6 games are coming against playoff teams meaning even if they win the other two games, the best Arizona can hope for is 6-10. This team is starting Blake Bortles and they have games left against the Jags, Seahawks & Rams. Those are guaranteed losses! It should be a very interesting off season in Phoenix.

13. BUCCANEERS: The Bucs are screwed. They are currently 4-6 with their last 6 games coming against the Falcons twice, Panthers, Saints, Lions & Packers. Maybe they get lucky & beat Green Bay, but the game is in Lambeau so that is no sure bet. Tampa Bay might be headed towards 4-12 for crying out loud. That’s insane given the preseason hype surrounding the team.

14. BEARS: Kind of crazy to think this team is 3-7 with 2 of their 3 wins coming against the Panthers & Steelers! The Bears are 0-3 in their last 3 games but could just as easily have been 3-0 which means they could be sitting at 6-4 and in the thick of the playoff race. They aren’t going to the postseason but they could potentially win 3-4 more games making them 6-10/7-9.

15. GIANTS: Lose to the 49ers one week, come back and beat the Chiefs the next! Who knows!? Winning a 2nd game put the Giants drafting 3rd now behind both Cleveland & San Francisco. They can’t win too many more games or else their draft prospects keep getting worse & worse!

16. 49ERS: If the 49ers want to avoid their worst season in franchise history they are going to have to win road games against the Bears & Texans. The other games they have on the slate are almost guaranteed losses no matter if Jimmy G comes in and plays like the 2nd coming of Tom Brady. The best the 49ers can hope for is 3-13.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 11

#6 ATLANTA @ #3 NEW ORLEANS
#5 CAROLINA @ #4 LOS ANGELES

NOW WE ARE TALKING! How is this for a wild card foursome: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton & Jared Goff!? I say this every week and I’ll keep saying it, but the potential #4 v. #1 matchup between the Eagles & Rams is incredible. Goff v. Wentz could be another Manning v. Brady in the making so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes down. Something else that is subtle that probably needs mentioning. The Saints might be the most dangerous team in the NFC right now. Keep in mind that in this scenario, Brees will play his first game in a dome against the Falcons. A win there & he’s going off to Minnesota to play the Vikings indoors which will be right up his alley. If the Eagles win their divisional game & Brees can beat the Vikings on the road, he’d then have to travel to Philadelphia & potentially battle the elements to get back to the Super Bowl. Brees is 1-4 all time in the playoffs on the road. That one road win? It came in Philadelphia!



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AFC ANALYSIS

1. STEELERS: The Steelers still hold the #1 spot over New England because their conference record is better than New England. This is a function of Pittsburgh playing more more conference game than the Patriots at the moment, but these two will be able to settle their differences on the field in mid-December. Unless one of the teams screws it up, that game probably decides the overall #1 seed in the AFC.

2. PATRIOTS: Does home field really matter to the Patriots if the Steelers are the home team? In his career, Tom Brady is 5-2 all time in the Steel City. He’s also 5-0 at home meaning Brady in his career is 10-2 all time against the Steelers! I guess if Brady is going to lose to Pittsburgh, it’s probably going to be in Heinz Field, but he doesn’t really lose to Pittsburgh so maybe it doesn’t matter.

3. JAGUARS: At 7-3 the Jaguars are just a game behind both Pittsburgh & New England, but the Jags have one more conference loss than both of those teams. One thing to note about the Jaguars is that they beat Pittsburgh earlier so if they find themselves tied with the Steelers at the end, they win the tiebreaker. That could very well could determine the #2 & #3 seeds in the AFC!

4. CHIEFS: The Chiefs are 6-4 but are slowly imploding. They are 1-4 in their last 5 games and lost to the Giants with 2 weeks rest! What is going on? The question is can Kansas City hold on to the West? Given their schedule it seems likely, but their dreams of getting a bye in the first round are now over. They are likely hosting a wild card game & then either going on the road to Pittsburgh or New England.

5. TITANS: Losing to Pittsburgh this past week showed the Titans weren’t ready for prime time, but their schedule is such that they shouldn’t have any issues finishing 10-6. If they can steal a game then they could get to 11 wins, but I’m not sure that is enough to overtake the Jaguars by season’s end. Regardless of what happens, Tennessee looks destined to play the AFC West winner in the wild card.

6. RAVENS: Baltimore seems poised to win the battle of attrition for the last wild card spot. Buffalo going to Nathan Peterman was a complete disaster & the Ravens blanking the Packers leads Baltimore to the #6 seed. The Ravens need to win the rest of their games in Baltimore. If they do that, then they have a very good chance at finishing the season 10-6. Given their injuries, it would be a minor miracle.

7. BILLS: The Bills are behind Baltimore because they have a slightly worse conference record than the Ravens. Do they beat the Chargers if Tyrod Taylor is the QB? Who knows. What I do know is that the loss cost the Bills quite a bit. If Buffalo had beaten the LA Chargers on Sunday, Buffalo would have moved up to the #5 spot in the playoff seedings by virtue of a  better conference record than the Titans. Opportunity lost.

8. DOLPHINS: The Dolphins have the 3rd worst point differential in the AFC and have lost 4 straight games, but here they are still #8 in the seedings and just a game behind Baltimore for the last wild card spot! Two games against the Patriots and one against the Chiefs are almost sure losses meaning AT BEST the Dolphins will finish 7-9 and that’s not good enough.

9. JETS: At 4-6 the Jets are better than people thought but their remaining schedule is brutal with almost 5 guaranteed losses. That means the Jets might wind up losing 11 games and possibly more depending on whether or not they can win the games they have a chance to. Still, if they can figure out a way to 6-10 or even 7-9, this season will have been a huge success.

10. BENGALS: So how do the 4-6 teams break this way? The Chargers beat Oakland so they own the tiebreaker over the Raiders. The Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Texans are the other 4-6 teams from the other divisions. The Dolphins own the tiebreaker over the Jets due to their better division record although the teams have split during the regular season. That leaves Miami, Cincinnati, Houston & Los Angeles. None of these 4 teams have played the other 3 so best conference record wins. That means the Dolphins are the best of the 4-6 squads because their conference record is 3-3. That elevates the Jets to go with Cincy, Houston & LA. At 4-4, the Jets own the best record of the 4. That leaves Cincy, Houston & LA. Even though Houston beat Cincinnati earlier, the Chargers haven’t played either so best conference record wins which is Cincinnati at 4-5. That leaves Texans & Chargers. Houston has the better conference record so they are 11th. The Chargers all in line at 12th and the Raiders fall to 13th.

11. TEXANS: Four Houstn’s final 6 games are on the road & they will have 4 games against teams who will certainly be playing for playoff position. Their only winnable are a road game against Indianapolis and a home game against the 49ers. At 4-6, the best Houston can probably get to is 6-10. At worst they could be 4-12.  Even is Houston steals a game or two, it won’t be enough.

12. CHARGERS: The Chargers are 4-6 after administering a BEATING to the Bills and rookie QB Nathan Peterman. Amazingly enough, the Chargers find themselves in 2nd place in the AFC West just two games behind the reeling Chiefs. San Diego doesn’t have the easiest of schedules, but if they can find some momentum, this team is still a playoff caliber team. I’m rooting so hard for them!

13. RAIDERS: Despite the thrashing at the hands of the Patriots, Oakland, like their division mates Los Angeles, are still in the playoff hunt. The 4-6 is only a game out of first place & remember that last week the Raiders were the #8 seed! Losing a conference game was tough on their seedings, but Oakland has two very winnable games coming up. Let’s see where they stand if they get to 6-6.

14. COLTS: At 3-7, the Indianapolis Colts move up a spot by having a better conference record than the Broncos! Who would have saw that coming? It’s going to be difficult for the Colts to do anything for the rest of the season, BUT they do have home games left against the Texans & Broncos meaning Indianapolis could finish 5-11 & they could avoid last place in the AFC South. Better than nothing!

15. BRONCOS: Denver isn’t as bad as a 3-7 record would indicate, but they are an example of how things can get sideways when you don’t have at least a decent QB under center. John Elway is complaining that the team is soft, but it might not be a bad criticism. To be fair, the best QB in the Broncos organization right now probably is John Elway himself!

16. BROWNS: Sheesh! At 0-10 the Browns have a legit shot at getting to 0-16. They have home games left against the Packers & Bears which are probably their best chances to get a win. I don’t see it. I think at the end of the year the Browns are starting over yet again which is nuts. Hue Jackson is gone & I’m guessing that the Browns will draft a QB with the #1 overall pick because the new HC will want his own QB.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 11

#6 BALTIMORE @ #3 JACKSONVILLE
#5 TENNESSEE @ #4 KANSAS CITY

Just when we think there is some clarity to the AFC playoff picture, it gets a lot muddier with the Bills completely tanking. I think there are quite a few things that can happen because in reality the only locks in the AFC playoff race are New England, Jacksonville & Pittsburgh. I’m not even sure Kansas City is guaranteed to make the playoffs if they keep playing like they have been. Assuming Kansas City can somehow survive, there are still 2 playoff spots with 8 teams within one game of each other! Even the Colts aren’t completely out of it! We should be in for an exciting finish to the season in the AFC because I’m not sure any of the possible wild card teams have the ability to really pull away from the pack.

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November 21, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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