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The absurdly premature playoff picture: Week 7

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See last week's absurdly premature playoff picture here.

AFC First-Round Byes:
Indianapolis Colts
Denver Broncos

Other AFC Divisional Champions:
Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots

AFC Wild Cards:
Cincinnati Bengals
Houston Texans

NFC First-Round Byes:
New Orleans Saints
Minnesota Vikings

Other NFC Divisional Champions:
New York Giants
Arizona Cardinals

NFC Wild Cards:
Green Bay Packers
Dallas Cowboys

• The big theme this week is stability. The entire AFC is the same, and all four first-round byes are the same, even though one of them, the Vikings, went down. I'm not going to kill anyone for a could've-gone-either-way road loss to Pittsburgh though, and it's not like anyone else is making a bold charge at the spot right now.

• Dallas joins the Absurdly Premature Playoff Picture for the first time in '09. To be honest with you, I was close to throwing caution (and perhaps reason) to the wind and making them the NFC East champ, because I'm so down on the Giants and Eagles right now. Giants @ Eagles this Sunday is so interesting and so important for both teams. Do yourself a favor, Andy Reid, and let Donovan McNabb(notes) take a handful of snaps consecutively.

• Arizona edged out San Francisco for the NFC West spot. Sorry, 49ers. It's not about you, really, I'm just liking what the Cardinals are doing, particularly up front defensively. Four of their next five are against the Panthers, Seahawks, Rams and Titans, too. If they do what they're supposed to do, they could build a healthy divisional lead.

• I'm feeling pretty good about moving the Texans into the picture last week. I don't know if I'm getting suckered in just because they're so much fun to watch, or because the Battle Red uniforms make me think they have the strength and determination of firemen, but I'm feeling really good about their Wild Card chances.

• Every week I do this, I stop and look up the next Steelers vs. Bengals game. It's the week after this one. (Wildly giggling to myself.) I'm excited for that one.

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