Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 15

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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: The Eagles clinched a 1st round bye with their win over the Giants Sunday. At worst Philly winds up the #2 seed at this point. The Eagles have their final 2 games at home against the Raiders & Cowboys. I don’t think they lose both games meaning they are likely to finish 13-3. If Philly wins out they’d of course be the #1 seed in the NFC & would actually finish with an NFL best 14-2 mark. The Cowboys win over Oakland on Sunday night keeps Dallas viable, and now with Ezekiel Elliott returning, Dallas presents a formidable challenge for any potential playoff team they might face should they get into the playoffs. If Dallas wins out, they’ll finish 10-6 and only be in play for the #6 seed. It’s worth remembering that Carolina’s next game is at home against the Bucs. At worst the Panthers finish 11-5 which is going to be more than enough for the #5 seed. If the Cowboys finish 10-6 they still need some help. Atlanta has to finish 9-7 because the Falcons beat Dallas earlier. It would also help if Detroit finished 9-7 or 8-8. Dallas also doesn’t have the easiest road. Next week they are at home against the Seahawks before finishing the season at Philadelphia.

NFC NORTH: Minnesota’s win over the Bengals clinched the North & the Vikings are headed to the playoffs! Minnesota’s final 2 games come at Green Bay & then a home date against the Bears. At worst, Minnesota finishes 12-4. The Vikings have beaten both the Saints & Rams so if those two teams win their divisions, even if they all finish 12-4, Minnesota would secure the #2 seed assuming Philly is 13-3/14-2. The one wrinkle here is if Carolina finishes 12-4 and wins the South. If that happens, then the Panthers would wind up being the #2 seed because they have beaten the Vikings this year giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Vikings also have an outside shot at the #1 seed should they win out and finish 13-3 & the Eagles let one slip away. The Packers loss to Carolina was brutal & it probably cost Green Bay a chance at a playoff spot. The best Green Bay can finish now is 9-7 and they would need a lot to go wrong to secure the final wild card spot. The Lions are the North’s best chance at a wild card team. If Detroit wins out they’d finish 10-6, but they’d need some help. Atlanta would have to finish 9-7 because the Falcons beat the Lions earlier.

NFC SOUTH: The South is still kind of a mess with the Saints & Panthers tied at 10-4 & the Falcons sitting one game behind them at 9-5. The Saints final two games are at home against the Falcons and then on the road to Tampa Bay. AT WORST New Orleans splits and finishes 11-5. I think the Saints win out & finish 12-4 to be honest, but let’s assume 11-5. Carolina finishes their season at home against Tampa Bay & then on the road to Atlanta. Let’s say they split. At worst Carolina is 11-5. Both of these contingencies assume the Falcons win their final 2 games which would make the Falcons 11-5!!!! If those things happen, then the Falcons win the division and the Saints & Panthers are the #5 and #6 seeds respectively. If you think the home team has advantages then New Orleans wins out & finishes 12-4. The Panthers split and finish 11-5 and the Falcons split & finish 10-6. If that is the case then Atlanta wins the final wild card spot. Atlanta has wins over Detroit, Dallas & Seattle & the best those teams can finish is 10-6. Atlanta owns the tiebreaker on all of them.

NFC WEST: The Rams humiliated the Seahawks at home making arguably the biggest statement by any team this season! In theory the Seahawks aren’t completely eliminated from the division title, but it’s over. The Rams finish the season at home against the 49ers which would secure the division title even if they were to lose on the road to Tennessee next week which I don’t think they’ll do. The Seahawks are probably finished. They need to win out to have any hope of getting to the playoffs and that might be a possibility if they can win on the road at Dallas next week because they end the season at home against Arizona. Assuming the Seahawks finish 10-6, they would need Atlanta to finish 9-7. Atlanta’s final 2 games come on the road to New Orleans & then at home against Carolina. Win either of those & Seattle is finished. The Seahawks also can’t dismiss the Lions either. The Lions play at Cincinnati and then finish the regular season at home against the Packers. Detroit could very well finish 10-6.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 15

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

No changes from last week and this scenario looks set in stone at this point. Dallas, Detroit & Seattle could make things interesting for the final spot, but those teams would have to win out while Atlanta has to lose out and I don’t see it happening. I think the Falcons get at least one win in their final 2 games & that would be enough to get the final spot at 10-6. A couple of thoughts about these games. I think you’d have to give the edge to Atlanta in a game with the Rams simply from an experience. Jared Goff isn’t all that removed from rumors of him being a bust after his rookie season. The lights are going to be BRIGHT in the playoffs & the Falcons were in the Super Bowl last season with a veteran QB who seemingly would have his team peaking at the right time. If Atlanta beats the Rams, they would then travel to Philly where they’d take on Nick Foles! If Atlanta wins that game & Minnesota wins their divisional game, Matt Ryan would then take on Case Keenum! To get to the Super Bowl, Matt Ryan would in theory have to beat Jared Goff, Nick Foles & Case Keenum. That’s crazy! The other thought is that the Carolina/New Orleans game breaks bad for the Saints. I think New Orleans would be favored, but beating Carolina would mean the Saints will have beaten the Panthers three times in one season! That’s crazy & incredibly difficult to do. I’m rooting hard for Drew Brees to get a 2nd Super Bowl, but getting Carolina in the wild card is a tough, tough draw.



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AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: The Patriots win over Pittsburgh clinched the AFC East for New England with their last 2 remaining games coming at home. In theory, the Patriots won’t play another game away from Foxboro until the Super Bowl now that they own the tiebreaker over the Steelers. It’s not completely over yet however. If the Bills keep winning they’ll end up with the #6 seed (and possibly the #5 seed!), but that means they’ll have to win next week in New England. That’s a big time game because it would also potentially take away New England’s home field advantage. If the Bills lose, they won’t be completely sunk, but it’ll be difficult. The Dolphins aren’t completely out of it I suppose but they play at Kansas City next week. If they can win that game then there would still be a faint glimmer, but that’s a lot of speculation.

AFC NORTH: Nothing really changed in the North at this point. The Steelers are still going to end the season as division champions and they are likely to take down the #2 seed considering their last two games come against the Texans & Browns. Pittsburgh does have to play hard though. If they wind up tied with the Jacksonville then the Jaguars would have the tiebreaker due to the Jaguars beating Pittsburgh earlier in the season. The Ravens are on the outside looking in at the moment, but it’s hard to see them not getting a playoff spot. Their final 2 games are home dates with the Colts & Bengals so it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Ravens will end the season at 10-6. If Buffalo loses to New England and Tennessee loses to Jacksonville, then the Ravens slide into the #5 seed. One thing to keep in mind with the Ravens is that they lose to the Titans earlier this season. Should Buffalo, Tennessee & Baltimore all win out, the Ravens could potentially miss the playoffs because of that loss.

AFC SOUTH: The Jaguars are in the playoffs although they haven’t quite clinched the AFC South just yet. That should come next week when the Titans play the Rams and the Jaguars take on the 49ers. San Francisco has been pretty good of late, but Jacksonville should be able to come in and impose their will & secure the South division. Tennessee is in complete free fall at this point so it’s unclear whether or not they can hold on just enough to get into the wild card. The head to head win over Baltimore is nice, but the Titans two remaining games come against the Rams & Jaguars. Yes both are home games, but Tennessee looks overmatched in both which could lead to an 8-8 finish. I mentioned this in the Pittsburgh comment, but expect Jacksonville to be a motivated football team. They beat the Steelers earlier in the year so any hiccup by Pittsburgh could give Jacksonville the #2 seed in the playoffs.

AFC WEST: Kansas City’s win over the Chargers was HUGE. It gave the Chiefs the season sweep over Los Angeles meaning the only way LA could win the West now is for Kansas City to lose their last 2 games while the Chargers won their last two games. That seems unlikely given that the Chiefs play at home against the Dolphins next week followed by a road date at Denver in the season finale. Kansas City is going to finish 10-6 & win the West. There is still hope for the Chargers. They get the Jets & Raiders to finish the season which should be wins. That would make LA 9-7. Forget the Ravens. Baltimore is finishing 10-6 which means the Bolts need Buffalo & Tennessee to falter. The Titans aren’t going to beat the Rams & Jaguars in back to back weeks so AT BEST the Titans finish 9-7. Buffalo loses at New England which means AT BEST the Bills are 9-7. If those 3 teams finish 9-7, the Chargers are toast because of conference record. The only way LA can get into the playoffs at 9-7 is if two of the Bills, Titans & Ravens finish 8-8. That won’t happen with the Ravens. I think it does happen with Tennessee. I think Buffalo loses to New England which means the Bills have to lose their season finale in Miami. It’s possible. But then again, the Chargers would have win both of their remaining games and that isn’t guaranteed given how this season has turned out.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 15

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

No changes but this is getting more solidified by the week. I think at this point it’s almost guaranteed that Jacksonville & Kansas City are going to the #3 and #4 seeds. For them this is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario for those squads is to have Baltimore & Los Angeles grab the final 2 wild card spots. From a QB perspective you’d be switching out Tyrod Taylor & Marcus Mariota for Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers! It would be interesting to see the Ravens & Chargers get those final 2 playoff spots. If that were to happen, then the 6 playoff QBs would be: Tom Brady (NE), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), Blake Bortles (JAX), Alex Smith (KC), Joe Flacco (BAL) and Philip Rivers (LAC). You wouldn’t have Bortles in a top-6 ranking of AFC QBs, but the other 5 would be the best 5 showing the AFC breaking almost exactly to the strengths of their QBs.

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December 19, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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