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Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection – Bears win NFC North; Bengals are out

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PlayoffProjectionWeek3

Each week through the season we'll try to guess what the NFL playoff picture will look like when the season ends to see through which teams are for real, and which are going to collapse despite their great early-season record. Think of it as "bracketology" for the pigskin set.

Here's last week's playoff projection.

Hey, wait a second. The Saints win 31-7 and you pick now to see the light on the Seahawks in the NFC?
Please, do not get me wrong. I am still sold on New Orleans. The Saints were my Super Bowl pick prior to this season, and I am sticking with them. I just think New Orleans has a tougher schedule than Seattle. The Seahawks may finish with more wins, but there is plenty of room on this Saints bandwagon, folks.

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A different NFC North winner every week? Are the Vikings next?
No matter what happens this weekend, Minnesota will not land in that No.1 spot. The decision to go with Chicago is simple. Detroit lost eight of 10 games without Nate Burleson last year, and I do not like the Lions’ offense without Burleson after his recent car accident. Opponents are averaging 29.3 points per game against Green Bay’s defense. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has stopped forcing passes and is playing smarter. Da Bears!

You have San Francisco and Green Bay both rallying from 1-2 to make the playoffs, no worries about either of those teams?
I am more concerned about Green Bay than San Francisco, but there are only five teams in the NFC with winning records right now (Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Seattle). It is just a matter of time before the 49ers and Packers put it together. Do you really think Washington or the Giants will make another late-season surge?

The Colts with the bye, huh? You know they almost lost to the Raiders at home in Week 1, right?
C'mon son (thank you Ed Lover). I know Oakland has the reputation for being horrible, but the Raiders are not terrible. Secondly, Indianapolis went to Candlestick Park and bullied the San Francisco 49ers. The acquisition of Trent Richardson makes Indianapolis one of the AFC’s best teams.

Why not the Bengals over the Ravens in the AFC North? That win over the Packers wasn't too shabby for Cincinnati.
The AFC is not like the NFC. There will be a good team in the AFC that will not make the playoffs. Baltimore played well without Ray Rice, and tight end Dennis Pitta could return to the active roster after Week 6. However, I am not counting Cincinnati out at all.

So what do the Jets gotta do to get in the picture? Show 'em some love!
New York is still the third best team in its division. Rex Ryan is winning with defense, and he deserves a lot of credit right now. However, the Jets are easily 1-2 if Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David does not blow that win. New York is 2-1, Geno Smith is playing well, Ryan could receive an extension, but the season is still young.

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