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.
Wait a second ... San Francisco is out?
Yep. Please do not let Colin Kaepernick’s performance against Washington, one of the NFL’s worst teams, cloud your judgment. He was one of the NFL’s worst passers since Week 2 prior to that game, and despite 235 passing yards and three touchdowns on Monday, San Francisco’s remaining games are against St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Arizona. Atlanta is the only “easy win," and Kaepernick must face four good defenses to make the playoffs.
Two teams from the NFC East? Is that possible?
If you call me crazy for believing in Tony Romo, then turn up the heat as I jump on Nick Foles’ bandwagon. Heck, I might run for president of Foles' fan club if he puts up impressive numbers against Arizona on Sunday. Dallas has only two teams with winning records remaining on its schedule (Chicago and Philadelphia), while the Eagles face four teams with winning records (Arizona, Detroit, Chicago and Dallas) that are beatable. Yes, it could happen.
Any chance the Bengals overtake New England for the No 2 seed?
Not at all. New England’s remaining opponents are Houston, Cleveland, Miami, Baltimore and Buffalo. Do you see a loss in there? Neither do I.
Of that mess of 5-6 teams in the AFC, why are the Steelers going to emerge to make it?
Pittsburgh is the hottest team right now. The Steelers have won three consecutive games, which is currently the AFC's longest winning streak. Steelers receiver Antonio Brown leads the NFL in receptions, which makes you forget Mike Wallace signed with Miami prior to this season. Mike Tomlin is proving why he is an elite coach – again.
Judging by the NFC pecking order, you don't think the Saints are going into Seattle and winning on Monday?
Seattle is on a 13-game win streak at home, so it is hard to bet against this squad. However, if another Seahawks player faces a league suspension, I am over this team. New Orleans still has the essential elements to defeat Seattle in the playoffs. Nevertheless, it is still hard to get that Marshawn Lynch playoff run against New Orleans from January of 2011 out of my mind.
Is this also a sign that the Broncos are going to win at Arrowhead and sweep the Chiefs?
Kansas City reminds me of every good team that comes out of nowhere – they always get exposed. Kansas City’s biggest strengths were supposed to be its defense and fantastic play at home. Well, San Diego defeated Kansas City, 41-38, in Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday, which debunked two myths. Oh, and Denver previously defeated Kansas City. Stick with Denver.
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