Thursday, November 14, 2013

Analyzing How the NFL Playoffs Would Look Starting Today

These would be your NFL Playoff teams if the playoffs started today:

AFC Division Leaders-New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wildcard Leaders-Denver Broncos, New York Jets.

NFC Division Leaders-Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks
NFC Wildcard Leaders-Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers

Cowboys win the tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles on head to head match up and better division record for NFC East crown.

Panthers win the five seed over 49ers on head to head match up and better conference record.

All the rest of the playoff spots are won off of each team's win/loss record.  There were no other tie situations to account for.

So, for fun's sake, let's play the Wildcard round out.

The Wildcard Round consists of four games:

#6 Jets (5-4) at #3 Colts (6-3)
#5 Broncos (8-1) at #4 Bengals (6-4)
#6 49ers (6-3) at #3 Lions (6-3)
#5 Panthers (6-3) at #4 Cowboys (5-5)

Here's what I'm thinking on these four games.  Let's just go with momentum and who won their last games and who lost their last games.

For the AFC teams:  The Jets won a shocker by beating an elite Saints team.  The Colts were real flat and lost soundly in an upset to the St. Louis Rams.  The Bengals lost in overtime on the road to the Baltimore Ravens, though they needed a lucky bounce on a 'hail mary' to get to OT.  The Broncos have continued their roll getting their groove back for a second win in a row on the road in a solid win over the San Diego Chargers.

For the NFC teams:  The 49ers were disappointed at home as they couldn't get on track throughout the game and the Panthers were able to squeak by in a very big win for their franchise.  The Lions were able to find a way, like they have been doing most of this season, to beat arch-rival-the Chicago Bears on the road in a tight one.  The Cowboys also found a way, like they have been doing for the past 15 years, to even out their record at .500 as they lost in a demoralizing way to the Saints.

Thus, the Jets, Broncos, Lions and Panthers move on to the Divisional playoffs round.  The match ups would be the following:

#6 Jets at #1 Chiefs
#5 Broncos at #2 Patriots

#5 Panthers at #1 Seahawks
#3 Lions at #2 Saints

These are terrific match ups.  There are the two dome teams playing each other.  There are the incredibly wild crowds to be expected in Kansas City and Seattle, two cities starving for a winner. And, then there's the spotlight game-Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady again, for the Broncos at the Patriots.

It's always fun looking ahead and thinking about the NFL playoffs.

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