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Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection – Time to get on Carolina’s bandwagon, Cowboys are done

Anwar S. Richardson
Shutdown Corner

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Every week, we try to project what the playoff bracket will look like in January. To sift through who is for real and will make a postseason push, and who will fade out of the playoff picture down the stretch. 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.

Did you think that by Week 17, only one of these 12 seeds would be locked up?
Heck, I thought the Houston Texans would be in the Super Bowl this season. I did predict New Orleans to win it all, but the Saints do not play well on the road, so I might be 0-for-2. It is probably too late to jump on Carolina’s bandwagon, but I'm going to see if there is room. Despite a really poor offensive line, I like Miami’s chances of making the postseason, especially considering the Dolphins host the New York Jets in Week 17. It is a game Miami should win. New Orleans will play against Tampa Bay on Sunday. it's a game the Saints should win to solidify a wild-card spot.

So Philly over Dallas, think it'll be a blowout?
I did not think Dallas could win with Tony Romo, but this team does not have a shot without him. Cowboys backup Kyle Orton is being asked to keep up with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in a winner-take-all game. That is a tough task for most quarterbacks, but considering Orton’s last start was for Kansas City against Denver on January 1, 2012, it might be mission impossible.

Chicago definitely didn't look good on Sunday night, don't think that carries over to the NFC North showdown vs. Green Bay?
It comes down to the lesser of two evils – Jay Cutler or Matt Flynn. As much as I do not believe in Cutler, I have less faith in Flynn. If Chicago does not know by now what “they have in Cutler," this organization has not watched him force passes and lose games the past five seasons. Chicago decided Cutler was the best option to lead its team into the playoffs, which put Josh McCown back on the bench. Cutler could guide Chicago to the postseason, but would I be surprised if he threw three interceptions and blew it? Not at all.

You've got the Seahawks, Panthers, Broncos and Patriots all taking care of business and getting a bye. Which one of those four has the best chance of getting upset in Week 17?
The safest bet is St. Louis knocking off Seattle for a few reasons. Arizona defeated Seattle in CenturyLink Field on Sunday, proving the Seahawks are beatable at home. In addition, St. Louis’ defense knows how to throw off a quarterback. The Rams sacked Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon seven times on Sunday, while defensive end Robert Quinn had three of his own. St. Louis has talent and nothing to play for, making the Rams a dangerous team.

Which teams can clinch a playoff berth on Sunday?
For a full playoff breakdown by Yahoo, click here.

And here's a breakdown of how these projections went from week to week .... Notice how the Broncos logo never moves ... 

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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