November 26, 2013

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NFL Playoff Projections

By: Joe Williams

In just a couple days the nation will be eating turkey and giving thanks for all the Black Friday sales. So if you are planning to spend hours in line waiting for the chance to trample other shoppers and need something to pass the time, try predicting what will happen in the last five weeks of the NFL season. I did. And trust me, I’m in the mood to trample. But I learned a few things along the way, too.

Rob Gronkowski

Will the Patriots end up the #1 seed in the AFC?

Here’s how my playoff field turned out in the AFC:

1. New England: 13-3

2. Denver: 13-3

3. Cincinnati: 12-4

4. Indianapolis: 9-7

5. Kansas City: 13-3

6. Miami: 9-7

The Broncos may have just cost themselves home field advantage in the AFC by blowing that 24-0 lead in New England. And if they don’t bounce back with a win in Kansas City on Sunday, they’ll be looking at a wild card spot.

Suddenly, Sunday’s game between the Titans and Colts is huge. The Colts are reeling after another blowout loss and still have to play the Bengals and Chiefs. A Tennessee win on Sunday would put the Titans just a game back with the Cardinals, Jaguars and Texans as their last three opponents.

The sixth seed is a crapshoot. There will likely be week 17 games in Cincinnati, Tennessee, Miami and San Diego that all mean something.

Here’s how my playoff field turned out in the NFC:

1. New Orleans: 14-2

2. Seattle: 13-3

3. Dallas: 10-6

4. Green Bay: 9-6-1

5. Carolina: 11-5

6. San Francisco: 11-5

Monday night’s match-up in Seattle should decide the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If the Saints can’t win in Seattle this week…they’ll have to do it in January in order to reach the Super Bowl.

The NFC East will come down to the final game of the season when the Eagles head to Dallas to battle the Cowboys. Especially if the Eagles can beat Arizona this week.

The NFC North will come down to the health of Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers. The quarterback that returns and regains his form first will lead his team to the division title. And Detroit is going to regret blowing the game against Tampa Bay last week.

Carolina and San Francisco will be the wild card teams. It’s division title or bust for everyone else.

Several teams are playing for their season in week 13:

Detroit Lions: After losing at home to Tampa Bay the Lions face a must-win situation on Thanksgiving against a probably Aaron Rodgers-less division rival from Green Bay.

Pittsburgh Steelers/Batimore Ravens: This Thanksgiving night showdown is an elimination game. Winner gets to 6-6. Loser is out of the race.

San Diego: With the Giants, Broncos and Chiefs still to play, San Diego cannot take a seventh loss against Cincinnati on Sunday.

Arizona: The Cardinals must beat the Eagles this week if their week 17 game against the 49ers is to mean anything in the wild card race.

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