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MJD

The absurdly premature 2010 playoff picture: Week 11

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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• Over the last two weeks, the Packers have outscored their opponents 76-10, and have potentially ended two head-coaching careers. I'm not entirely confident that they'll end up here at the end of the year -- the remainder of their schedule includes Atlanta, New England, the Giants and Bears -- but their recent murder spree has at least earned them the opportunity to stick at numero uno.

• Aside from that, very few changes this week. The AFC, in fact, remains exactly the same, and only the Pack and Saints switched places in the NFC. We appear to have a little bit of stability, and really, there's not a whole lot that can change. Obviously, both Western divisions are still up for grabs, and the Bucs and Bears are in play, but aside from that, everything else seems almost locked in, except for seeding. Saying that out loud, though, is a pretty good way to ensure things go haywire in Week 12.

• The Bears are making me reconsider saying two weeks ago that I wouldn't consider them for anything. They are 7-3, their defense is laying the wood, and they do have the best net-points mark in the league at +106. To continue to deny them would make me a stubborn, irrational, crotchety old curmudgeon, and, as I think we can all agree, my Kangol hat makes me way too cool for such a label.

• Still, let's look at the Bears' last five games. They lost at home to Seattle, lost at home to Washington, barely squeaked one out against the Bills, beat an imploding Vikings team, and what -- I'm supposed to be impressed that they won in spite of their offense against an impotent Dolphins team that might have been better off punting on first down all night? So there, I've considered them. They came up short. Two of their next three are against Philly and New England, though, so the opportunity is there to prove me wrong.

• The other spot that's sort of up for grabs? Indy's spot in the AFC South. The Texans are two games back, the Titans are just one game back (though they seem to be spiraling downwards) and the Jags and Colts are tied at 6-4. Both of them have tough games this weekend, too: the Jags travel to play the Giants and the Colts get the Chargers at home. Envisioning a scenario where the Jags make the playoffs and the Colts don't ... well, it makes me question everything I thought I knew about the human condition.

• Also, this is the last week in which the Rams get a free pass. Seattle appears to be getting better, and thus, the Rams will have to earn it. Sorry, fellas. I have faith in you.

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