The absurdly premature playoff picture: Week Six

AFC First-Round Byes:
Tennessee Titans
Pittsburgh Steelers

Other AFC Divisional Champions:
Buffalo Bills
San Diego Chargers

AFC Wildcards:
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars

NFC First-Round Byes:
New York Giants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Other NFC Divisional Champions:
Arizona Cardinals
Green Bay Packers

NFC Wildcards:
Washington Redskins
Carolina Panthers

Hated to Leave You Out:

Denver Broncos. Alright, I didn't hate to leave you out, but you're still close enough that you deserve an explanation. I think the Chargers are better than you, which leaves you battling for a wildcard spot. The Colts get one because they're the Colts and they just uglied the Ravens, and I don't think there are more than a couple of NFL teams who are even capable of that. The other wildcard spot came down to you, Jacksonville, New England, or the Jets. New England was just humbled in about every way against San Diego, the Jets struggled with the Bengals, and Jacksonville ... well, they had a pretty successful Sunday, yes?

Chicago Bears. Good news for you, Bears fans. I almost did it! I'm getting closer. I very nearly put the Bears in ahead of the Packers. My mouse pointer thingie was ready to drag you in, because I don't believe that beating Seattle by 10 is any greater accomplishment than losing a heartbreaker like that to the Falcons. The reason Green Bay held on is because Aaron Rodgers is still playing well. If he were to have stumbled significantly, the Bears would've jumped in. But we're making progress!

Dallas Cowboys. And for the first time all year, the NFC East has fewer than three teams in the playoffs. The Romo injury concerns me, Terrell Owens's state of mind concerns me, secondary injuries concern me, Pacman Jones feeling the thump of the Goodell hammer concerns me, and the depth of the NFC East concerns me. What might concern me most of all, though, are these words from safety Keith Davis:

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys

"Yeah, I'm fed up, because there's no reason," Davis said. "Everybody wants to talk, 'Oh, the Cowboys are the most talented team.' Talent's never won nobody nothing. Nothing. It's got to be a complete team.

"Talent's not getting it done. Want-to gets it done. Focus gets it done. Busting your tail every single day, starting on Monday, is going to get it. Not just lining up thinking we can roll the ball out there and take it to these guys."

And we've had three weeks in a row now where talent has not gotten the Cowboys anywhere close to where it should have. Putting a sense of focus, hard work, and "want-to" into a team isn't something that happens overnight. It's not a switch you can flip. And with injuries mounting, potential excuses piling up, and playoff spots being scarce, it really wasn't that hard of a call to leave the Cowboys out.

Here's the upside, though: The Romo injury could be something that forces the Cowboys to heal a little bit. If they're going to win without him, it's not going to be because Brad Johnson stepped in and was mind-blowingly sensational. It'll be because everyone else found a little bit of focus and started playing like men. The injury to Romo provides the perfect opportunity to do that.

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