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The not-at-all premature 2010 playoff picture: Week 14

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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• Two questions dominate the landscape in the AFC: Can the Chargers overtake the Chiefs, and what happens if the Jets continue their downward spiral into Kotite-ness?

• We'll start with the AFC West. The Chiefs have two games left that should be close calls -- @St. Louis this week, and at home against Oakland in Week 17. The other game is at home against Tennessee, and I like their chances against Oakland in Arrowhead.

• That means San Diego's best chance to catch them is this week when the Chiefs go on the road to play St. Louis, while the Bolts have San Francisco at home on Thursday night. I like San Diego to win, and, gun to my head, I'll take the Rams at home in a game they have to have. If that happens, San Diego's in the driver's seat with an equal record and games remaining against Cincinnati and Denver.

• If things went down like that, and KC lost to St. Louis and won its remaining two games, it'd be tied with the Jets for the last Wild Card spot, assuming the Jets lose @Pittsburgh, @Chicago and beat Buffalo in Week 17. In that case, the Jets would have the tiebreaker via a better conference record.

• If San Diego wins out, still can't catch Kansas City, and the Jets go 1-2 the rest of the way, then San Diego would be alive for the Wild Card, too. It would likely come down to a "common games" tiebreaker.

• I've been operating on the assumption that the Jets lose two of their last three, but just to get it on record, I'm not assuming that's set in stone. Given their performance of late, I'd say it's the most likely thing, but they are capable of hitting stride and surprising either Chicago or Pittsburgh. Of course, they're also capable of losing to Buffalo in Week 17, too.

• Both NFC top seeds could still yet be snatched away. New Orleans could catch Atlanta, and the Eagles, Giants and Bears are all tied at 9-4. The Eagles and Giants still play each other, though, and Chicago's road isn't a cakewalk, either. I love that there are still so many questions. I also love that there are still so many important games left.

• I had to let go of the Packers. If there weren't other solid options, I'd take the chance that either Rodgers would play, or Matt Flynn(notes) would could handle things capably, because I still believe Green Bay is among the best teams in the conference. But the Bears and Giants are both legit, too, and with both of them having a game up on the Packers, I just couldn't shut them out. Sorry, Pack.

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