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Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection – Jets win AFC East; Packers clinging to playoff spot

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It's never too early to project what the playoff bracket will look like in January, even after just one week.

Through the season we'll guess what the NFL playoff picture will look like when the season ends. You might be 6-2 at the halfway mark, but that doesn't mean you'll be standing on top of your division at the end. It's important to note this is our ever-changing prediction of how we think things will play out and not necessarily a current plugging-in of teams with the corresponding records.

Think of it as "bracketology" for the pigskin set.

(Check out last week's Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection here.)

J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets! So Geno and Rex to the East title?
Why not? I am tired of underestimating this team and looking foolish nearly every week (readers, keep the sarcasm to a minimum). It is time to stop getting so caught up in the Patriots name and look at reality. Tom Brady is struggling, and New England’s defense is ranked 18th in the NFL. More important, New York defeated New England this past Sunday and the Jets are 2-1 in the AFC East. Why not?

[Watch: Fred Jackson a top bye week fill-in for Week 8]

Why Denver still at No. 1 in the AFC? Could make a case for a few teams.
I did not expect Denver to finished 16-0, so there is no reason to panic after one loss. Denver’s defense has its issues – 48 points allowed against Dallas and 39 versus Indianapolis – but let’s see what happens when the Broncos host Kansas City on Nov. 17. For now, I still believe Denver is the team to beat.

What about Kansas City in the AFC West? The 7-0 record gives them a nice head start.
I like the Chiefs. I do not buy the argument that Kansas City has not played anybody this season because this was a group of nobodys last year. Kansas City deserves a lot of credit, and that defense has been impressive. I would rather be cautious when it comes to a surprise team than jump in feet first.

Bengals over Colts ... that's interesting.
Two things I do not like about the Colts: Reggie Wayne’s injury and Trent Richardson. Wayne’s season-ending injury will really hurt quarterback Andrew Luck, but Richardson has made Cleveland’s front office look like a group of geniuses, and that is hard to do. Indianapolis has enough talent to make the playoffs, but Cincinnati is a better team.

Still can't move you off the Lions in the North, huh?
Green Bay loses tight end Jermichael Finely, and Chicago is without Jay Cutler for at least four weeks. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is without receiver Randall Cobb and Finley, while the Bears could collapse again without Cutler. In 2011, Chicago started 7-3 before Cutler sustained a thumb injury, and the Bears dropped five straight. The stars are aligning for Detroit.

Is Dallas for real? A No. 3 seed seems high for a team coming out of that sloppy division.
I would not empty my 401K and bet money on Dallas making the Super Bowl, but this team is good. Dallas won this past Sunday without running back DeMarco Murray, which says a lot about the Cowboys’ defense. I expect Dallas to struggle against Detroit on Sunday, but heat up down the stretch.

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