October 27, 2011
The absurdly premature playoff picture presents one man's projection for the NFL playoffs, at each given week in the season -- even if that week is unreasonably early.
• The Jets are one of two new teams this week, making their appearance at the expense of the Buffalo Bills. I don't feel strongly about it, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it switched back in a week or two, but it's kind of looking like Kyle Williams will miss the season, and if that's the case, that's a big ouchie for the Bills. At the same time, their lead over the Jets has shrunk to half a game, and the Jets showed signs against the Chargers of getting back to a halfway-competent level of offense.
• Pittsburgh jumps up to the No. 2 spot, because Baltimore set football back 70 years on Monday night. I even considered moving the Bengals in and the Ravens out of the picture all together. That's how ugly it was. The Absurdly Premature Playoff Picture is a day late this week because I couldn't bring myself to go back and think about that game. It hurt. It made my eyeballs hurt.
• The Raiders still get the nod in the AFC West, which pains me, because they just lost 28-0 to the Chiefs. At home. You know why I can't put San Diego here? It's not that the Chargers lost to the Jets, or even that they blew an 11-point lead. It's because after the game, all they could do was blame the officials, which tells me that this team still has a major case of "We still think we're way better than we actually are" -itis. San Diego vs. Kansas City is one of the week's more interesting matchups. We might be one week away from having Kansas City winning the West here in the A3P.
• Over in the NFC, we're mostly stable, with Atlanta shoving the Buccaneers out the only change being made. Atlanta went in to Detroit and dropped the Lions, which puts them at 4-3, and they're back to playing physical football. I'm still looking for consistency out of the Bucs, and it just hasn't been there.
• Everything else stays the same, with the hardest call of the bunch still being the winner of the NFC East. Dallas was here last week, and the Cowboys did what they should have done in bouncing the Rams last week. Everyone else in the division either lost, had a bye, or was the Philadelphia Eagles.
• The Detroit Lions still easily have their spot, but for the first time in about a month, I can envision a world where they're not in the Absurdly Premature Playoff Picture. They've lost two straight, they're not a healthy group, and I don't even see them as a lock against Denver this weekend. They haven't been able to run the ball. It's a good sign that Matthew Stafford practiced Thursday, but if he misses time or is limited by his injury, and the passing game goes south, too? The Lions start to look a lot shakier.
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