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Maynard_G_Krebs

NFL 2017-2018 Season Discussion

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Man today was not a good day to be a Chiefs fan. Something's gotta change or we may end up 6-10 at the rate we keep dropping games. On a somewhat unrelated note, anyone looking forward to the Georgia Dome implosion?

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11 minutes ago, Mike Gordan said:

I won't edit the celery/salary confusion.  Still, fuck the NFL players who only care about their precious celery.  Unless you add in peanut butter, nacho cheese, or a clam dipping sauce to go with your crackers.  Or in a tuna sandwich.  But I digress.


Yes!

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Idiot points assigned to all sports shows that have credited the Legion of Boom's decent with the byline "Legion of Doom," thinking that they're so clever, when the Legion of Boom was originally obviously created as a riff off the pro wrestling tag-team, The Legion of Doom. I don't know what's worst, that someone wrote that byline not knowing the actual Legion of Doom tag team name, or thinking that "The Legion of Boom" was just some random name that professional football players came up with themselves.

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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9 minutes ago, Maynard_G_Krebs said:

Idiot points assigned to all sports shows that have credited the Legion of Boom's decent with the byline "Legion of Doom," thinking that they're so clever, when the Legion of Boom was originally obviously created as a riff off the pro wrestling tag-team, The Legion of Doom. I don't know what's worst, that someone wrote that byline not knowing the actual Legion of Doom tag team name, or thinking that "The Legion of Boom" was just some random name that professional football players came up with themselves.

 

What a rush!!

(haven't watched since 1992)

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And now my weekly Power Rankings after taking the last week off:

 

32.  Cleveland Browns (0-10):  Pretty much eliminated from playoff contention, and the only winless team left in the NFL.  I suppose they'll manage to steal one sooner or later.  My guess is probably the Bears or Packers.

 

31.  San Francisco 49ers (1-9):  The 49ers had the bye week, and if not for Seattle's lack of defensive effort, would have officially been eliminated from playoff contention this week officially.  Still, the odds are statistically nonexistent enough to eliminate them anyways.  Too bad too since their only win of the season came against the Giants, only for....

 

30.  New York Giants (2-8):  The Giants to step it up big time in a huge upset win against the Chiefs.  Eh, to be fair, at least I was wise enough not to call it a real Survival Pick this week (mine was Pittsburgh over Tennessee).  The Giants might actually win a third game this year!  I, on the other hand, lack confidence in my next pick:

 

29.  Denver Broncos (3-7):  Right now, I have absolutely zero confidence in this team winning another game again the rest of the year.  So much so that in spite being the only 3-win team with a statistical shot at the division (they're only behind by three games against the division leader), I'm pretty much pegging them as having absolutely no chance.  Their remaining schedule is irrelevant at this point.  And this 6-game losing streak began against the Giants of all teams.

 

28.  Indianapolis Colts (3-7):  In spite the Broncos having a slightly better shot at an extremely longshot chance at the playoffs, I am convinced that the Colts will end up defeating them in a couple of weeks.  Yes, I really do have such little hope the Broncos by comparison.  Be as it may, the best case scenario I envision for the Colts is probably a 5-11 record.  Now that's pathetic.

 

27.  Chicago Bears (3-7):  Next in line on my list of pathetic teams.  After demonstrating their defensive dominance just before the bye, they now suddenly seem incapable of winning in their home stadium following back-to-back home losses.  Both against division rivals no less.  Goes to show just how much Bears fans desire and perhaps need the McCaskey's usurped from power and replaced by people who'd actually give a shit.  Unfortunately, by the time that happens, the Bears--and perhaps by extension, the NFL itself--may no longer exist.  Such a shame.

 

26.  New York Jets (4-6):  The Jets' remaining schedule are against the Panthers, Chiefs, Broncos, Saints, Chargers, and Patriots.  This is a team that could very easily end up losing out, or at best, a probable win record of 6-10.  Granted, unlike the bottom 6 teams in the league, there is a path to the playoffs laid out for them.  They just need to catch a Panthers team with its pants down following their bye week; a Chiefs team that, following an impressive 5-0 start, is having problems beating anybody not named the Broncos (again, proof that they're that bad), dominant Saints and Patriots squads (though the latter could end up deciding to rest their starters and throw the game away), and a Chargers squad on the rise.  No other team still in the playoff hunt has even remotely close to as steep a hill to climb than the Jets.  Still, maybe they win next week, and then I'll give them a more believable shot.  Be as it may, I always knew that the Jets have greatly overachieved given their utter lack of talent on all sides of the field.

 

25.  Arizona Cardinals (4-6):  The Cardinals merely have a slightly better shot at making the playoffs than the Jets.  But be as it may, their best case scenario is the role of spoiler for potential playoff contenders (looking at you, Seattle).  Speaking of which, in addition to a season finale in Seattle, they also have to play the Jaguars, Rams, Titans, Redskins, and Giants.  Realistically, I only see one or two victories out of them.  Otherwise, their only realistic contribution would have to be in the role of spoiler.  Which by my own estimation, makes them marginally better than the Jets, whose only hope it is to beat up on bad/struggling teams and overachieve elsewhere.

 

24.  Houston Texans (4-6):  Never thought the Texans after losing pretty much every star player you can possibly think of to injury reserve, could even remotely stand a chance at making it out of the bottom 8 on my power rankings, but not only do I think the Jets are comparatively bad as the bottom 6, but a head-to-head win here just barely edges the Texans out over the Cardinals in that regard.  Still, against the Ravens, Titans, 49ers, Jaguars, Steelers, and Colts, their best-case scenario would probably be one or two wins, specifically against the 49ers and Colts.  They could also hypothetically play spoiler, but that mostly affects only playoff contenders in their own division.  Enjoy their current reprieve for now, Texans, because one more loss will effectively end any possible hope you have at making the playoffs.

 

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6):  Right now, their current ranking is mostly due to them being on a hot streak trying to dig themselves out of the 2-6 hole they dug themselves into, a feat that no team to my knowledge has ever been able to accomplish.  Be as it may, their remaining schedule is still the most brutal yet--4 games against their division rivals (all of whom are currently playoff, if not Super Bowl contenders, btw), as well as a matchup against the Packers and Lions.  All six of those games, btw, all currently have five or more wins on their schedule.  I'll be kind and say let's assume they end up beating the Packers, and then maybe stealing one divisional matchup (either against the Falcons (either game), Panthers, or a Saints squad amidst a meaningless season finale).  They pull away with a big upset next week, and then I'll give them a more realistic shot.  Otherwise, the Bucs could just as easily end up going down, down, down!

 

22.  Cincinnati Bengals (4-6):  The Bungles just Bungled their way out of trouble.  When this team can barely escape Denver with a win against the lowly Broncos of all teams, you know the Bungles are a completely dysfunctional mess.  On the bright side for them, their remaining schedule is slightly manageable--they will get rematches against each of their division rivals, and in addition to them, they also play the Bears, Vikings, and Lions.  And to be fair, they have stolen or came close to stealing games against much better teams before.  Let's give them a win or two for realism's sake (let's assume the Browns and Bears for now), as well as the realistic possibility of stealing one or two games other games.  Let's just hope for Bengal fans everywhere that this doesn't come to that, and the Bungles prove to be utter shit.  I'm predicting 6-10 to be realistic, and 7-9 within reach, but not much else.

 

21.  Miami Dolphins (4-6):  Okay, so the Dolphins have lost to the Buccaneers just now.  The fact remains, unlike the Texans vs. Cardinals where the only feasible tie-breaker was the head-to-head matchup, the Dolphins at least have a manageable remaining schedule by comparison to the anal raping that the Bucs are surely to be in for.  Other than two games against the Patriots, their remaining schedule is against the lowly Broncos and the struggling Chiefs, plus two shots in against the Buffalo Bills.  6-10 looks more and more like the worst-case scenario for this team, while the best-case scenario is...let's say 8-8.  Though they could indeed steal one against the Patriots, it's very difficult to envision to put it lightly.  And there's no possible way I can possibly envision the Dolphins winning out under any circumstances.  As such, we can barely even qualify them as a dark horse so much as a longshot.  But they are the first team so far on this list where the path to the playoffs is indeed visible, albeit barely.  Truth be told, only three 4-6 teams have a path I can very much feasibly see making the playoffs, and the overall ranking between these teams is indeed quite a challenge.

 

20.  Washington Redskins (4-6):  Honestly, the Redskins are probably a much more talented football team than the Chargers or Raiders (spoilers, they're ranked in the next two spots).  Kirk Cousins alone pretty much single-handedly makes the Redskins a team not to be underestimated (let's hope the Broncos can pull a Wes Welker and snag him away from the Redskins).  So, where do I then draw a line then?  Well, while the Redskins have a very feasible chance at finishing anywhere between 8 and 10 wins on the season, the fact remains, the Redskins absolutely need to win out just to have a shot at a wild card round (they cannot possibly win their division).  They in turn need to run the table and sweep the Giants, and then defeat the Cowboys, Chargers, Cardinals, and Broncos.  And they get a rematch against the Cowboys during Zeke's suspension no less.  It's definitely there, and it's not like they don't have any valuable tie-breakers against the Rams or Seahawks.  However, they still have to contend with the Lions, Falcons, Panthers, and for good measures (in case of a collapse scenario for them), Vikings and Saints.  Anybody else I'm missing?  Because the Redskins absolutely must win out and receive some outside help if they are to make the playoffs.  For this reason, I'm rating them below the Chargers and Raiders, even though I honestly do believe the Redskins are a better team.

 

19.  Oakland Raiders (4-6):  Between the Raiders and Chargers, the decision ultimately came down to who had the easiest road to the playoffs.  Because if the Chiefs collapse continues, either one of them could possibly snag a spot in the playoffs at either 8-8 or 9-7.  I doubt they stand even remotely close to a chance at making the wild card spot, so the division title will have to do.  The Raiders in turn have rematches against each of their division rivals, and they also play the Cowboys during Zeke's suspension, the lowly Giants, and the top tier Eagles.  The Eagles game is especially frightening.  Here, I honestly can't see the Raiders making the playoffs unless they win out with the possible exception being the Eagles.  In other words, 9-7 must be the ranking the Raiders must shoot for if they hope to stand a chance at making the playoffs.

 

18.  Los Angeles Chargers (4-6):  Who'd thought the Chargers were back in the playoff hunt of all things.  And they don't have to worry about any remaining scary scheduling; their remaining games are against the Cowboys, Browns, Redskins, Chiefs (who are struggling), and Jets before their regular season finale against the Raiders (which may or may not be the match that decides the division if the Chiefs collapse continues).  Of course, the Chargers could just as easily find themselves stumbling about to the point that they are no longer in contention for a playoff spot, but I can project the Chargers will win at least half of their remaining games.  As such, the Chargers could end up winning the division at 8-8.  And to think, they started the season 0-4 and have bounced back splendidly.

 

17.  Dallas Cowboys (5-5):  There are 4 teams currently at 5-5.  Because of the Ezekiel Elliot suspension, the Cowboys effectively have the worst shot of any of them at making the playoffs.  I am projecting them to finish anywhere from 5-11 to 9-7.  And yes, Zeke will indeed be coming back for the last two weeks of the season, but unfortunately for them, they'll have to play the Seahawks and Eagles during that stretch.  They also play three other teams ranked right below them during that four-game stretch before Zeke's return (who still have playoff aspirations of their own)--the Redskins, Raiders, and Chargers.  Their only "easy" game during this stretch happens to be the Giants, and for all we know, maybe the Cowboys are so helplessly bad without Zeke that even the Giants can kick their ass.  I'll give them only two week to prove to me that they have what it takes to make the playoffs.  They need to win 10 games if they wish to have a ghost of a chance at making the playoffs, and that especially must include against the Seahawks.

 

16.  Buffalo Bills (5-5):  Aw, Buffalo, Buffalo, Buffalo.  Just like you to get everybody's hopes up of finally escaping the clutches of mediocrity and making it back to the playoffs.  Following your somewhat bumpy-yet-also-convincing 5-2 start, you have lost three straight.  Losing to the Saints is one thing, but you also got your asses handed to you by the Jets and Chargers--the latter team after you decided to bench Tyrod Taylor for a fucking 5th round rookie.  What's especially scary is that the remaining schedule does not get any easier; they get the Patriots AND Dolphins twice apiece during the final six weeks of the season.  They do get the Chiefs, who are also struggling mightily as of late, as well as the lowly Colts.  The latter team is literally the only game left on their schedule that I still feel comfortable picking them to win.  I hate having to decide between them and the Chiefs this week but I have to anyways; the same can be said about the Dolphins.  But say they win out in those four games?  If the Bills even want to think about playoffs, they absolutely must steal a win from the Patriots.  And with that rookie QB leading the pack!?  Honestly!?  Seriously!?  I'm honestly surprised at how generous I am to give them a probable range of 6-9 wins on the season.  And for one of the Wild Card slots, they just barely have a realistic shot at making the postseason compared to the Cowboys.  Even so, they need at least 10 wins as well as some outside assistance just to get there.  But on the bright side, that outside assistance only really involves the Ravens losing and not much else (the AFC playoff picture is looking especially bleak outside of the AFC West).

 

15.  Green Bay Packers (5-5):  I am projecting at least two wins guaranteed for the Packers provided that Aaron Rodgers does indeed come back.  And even then, that's a generous assessment.  In their next three games, they get the Steelers, Buccaneers, and Browns.  Even without Aaron Rodgers, I do think at least one of these games is winnable; the Browns suck, and the Steelers may play down to their competition.  Plus, I don't trust the Bucs.  If the Packers win two of these games, we can expect the return of Aaron Rodgers, and we can in turn see two or three wins during the final and much more brutal stretch--against the Panthers, Vikings, and Lions.  All meaningful tie-breakers, which the Packers have plenty of already (they've beaten the Seahawks and Cowboys, and wins against the Panthers and Lions would prove invaluable in tie-breaking scenarios for a Wild Card spot).  As such, the Packers still very much need to win 10 games if they wish to make the playoffs, and even then, they'll still need a little bit of help in regards to the Lions.  More on them later.

 

14.  Baltimore Ravens (5-5):  Thanks to the Bills shitting themselves badly the last three weeks, the Ravens have the clearest path to a wild card spot of any other team outside of the Jaguars and Titans.  The Ravens have four piss-easy games that they need to win out against--which are the Texans, Browns, Colts, and Bungles.  They still need to steal one though--against the Lions (who are notoriously awful in December) and the Steelers (who are notorious for playing down to their competition).  10 wins will all but guarantee that the Ravens will make the playoffs, provided of course that the Bills don't somehow run the table the rest of the year.  However, 9 wins will also give them a good sporting chance (they do own the tie-breaker against the Dolphins and Raiders due to head-to-head matchups, and they also would own the tie-breaker over the Bills by virtue of conference record or strength of schedule).

 

13.  Seattle Seahawks (6-4):  Tonight's game against the Falcons, in spite of their best efforts, just proved just how damaging the loss of Richard Sherman and Kam Chanceler for the season has proven.  Oh, what the heck?  I may have lost the weekly pick-ems, but at least the Seahawks fucking lost!  Be as it may, the Seahawks really don't have that many meaningful tie-breakers so far this season--the only win they have had against a playoff contender so far this season was against the Rams.  And that includes AFC South adversaries too (remember that they lost to the Titans in a battle of field position).  That means they need to finish with better records than the Redskins, Falcons, AND Packers to make the playoffs.  And they still have to deal with a remaining schedule that includes the Jaguars, Cowboys (with Zeke), Eagles, and Rams.  Their easiest games remaining by far are against the 49ers and possibly the season finale against the Cardinals.  8-8 seems like a reasonable record for them to finish in; they pretty much need to win 11 games, and/or require serious help in taking care of the Falcons, Packers, and Cowboys (and while the Packers and Cowboys are in positions right now where such a task is manageable, the same cannot be said about the Falcons).  Or they could also beat the Rams and win the division instead.

 

12.  Kansas City Chiefs (6-4):  At least the Chiefs didn't get embarrassed at home by the Giants.  Instead, they lost in overtime on the road against 50 MPH winds.  Which pretty much meant that throwing the football would be next to impossible to do efficiently.  But be as it may, the Chiefs have still lost four out of their last five--their only win was at home against the Broncos.  They only command a 2-game lead right now--in fact, the Chiefs struggles are so alarming that even the Broncos have a shot at the division.  But all kidding aside, the Chiefs remaining schedule is nothing terribly alarming, and yet at the same time, not the least bit encouraging.  Against the Bills, Jets and Dolphins, as well as rematches against each of their division rivals, they all currently look like toss-up games in my book.  I still have them projected to win at least two more games this season--I honestly do not believe the Chiefs are suddenly so bad that they can't possibly win another game.  But if they don't put the foot down on the throats of both the Chargers and Raiders (especially the Raiders), and then win another game or two on the side, the Chiefs have no chance at making the playoffs (the reason for this is because a 9-7 record with a 4-1 division record guarantees the AFC West for the Chiefs).

 

11.  Detroit Lions (6-4):  The good news for the Lions now is that other than a Thanksgiving home rematch against the Vikings (as well as a possible matchup against Aaron Rodgers in the Season Finale), the Lions remaining games are gonna be against the Ravens, Bucs, Bears and Bungles.  The bad news?  The Lions are notoriously bad in the month of December.  Even at home.  While there might be one or two teams ranked in the top ten that I think the Lions are a better team than, the fact remains, they lost the tie-breaker to the Falcons, Panthers, and Saints.  And it'd be kind of silly to be ranking seven NFC teams in the top ten at this stage of the year (at least the AFC West and a second Wild Card slot still technically in question).  For this reason, the Lions have to pretty much hope that the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers destroy each other during the final six weeks of the season, and then take care of business as per necessary.  Not necessarily meaning to win the division (though it'd certainly help), but at the very least, winning 10-11 games and hoping for the best.  Or the worst-case scenario being to close out the season with 8-9 wins on the season due to December numbness, and thus rendering the upcoming AFC South scourge largely meaningless (for the Lions anyways).

 

The top ten teams are all teams that I currently feel comfortable will be making the playoffs (just minus a few twists and turns here and there).  As such, I am merely ranking most of these teams based on overall skill as well as overall record and Super Bowl chances.  So, here we are:

 

10.  Tennessee Titans (6-4):  There.  I technically consider the Lions to be a much better team right now than the Titans.  Throughout the entire NFL season, no playoff contender has looked so mundane and boring as the Tennessee Titans.  They are, if anything, a team that has merely coasted on a mostly piss-easy schedule.  The Jaguars and Seahawks are the only noteworthy wins so far on the Titans' schedule.  But then you see them against the Raiders; then you see them against Deshaun Watson; or a Super Bowl contender in the Steelers.  Or that dumbfounded performance against the Dolphins after Marcus Mariota was ruled out for that game.  They still have a season finale rematch against the Jaguars (which might become the Sunday Night game for that week), and they still have to play the Rams before then.  But until then, they still get to play the Colts, Texans, Cardinals, and 49ers.  Man, if the Titans can't make the playoffs a remaining schedule this piss-easy, I'm gonna laugh!  Especially given the state of most of the rest of the AFC.  They're very much making the playoffs.

 

9.  Atlanta Falcons (6-4):  The Falcons' road back to the playoffs is quite a bit tougher (they play the Saints twice as well as the Panthers and Bucs again; but they do get the Bears and Bungles to balance things out a bit), but they have built up a decent array of tie-breakers, and three of their losses came against AFC East adversaries (so far, the only NFC team with a win against the Falcons is the Panthers).  As such, the Falcons may not have much room for error, but they still have plenty of roads back to the postseason for them to take.  Specifically, they can win 10 games and pretty much sit on those ten wins and make the playoffs (just make sure to get a win in against the Panthers); they can win 11 games and jump further ahead in the playoff seeding (and additionally feel even more comfortable); or, as improbable as it may sound, win out and win the division (and perhaps even get the third seed locked up, or if lucky, the second seed).  So long as the Falcons keep winning, they'll still have many opportunities open to them.

 

8.  Carolina Panthers (7-3):  I had to shuffle these three teams around a little bit.  I almost thought about putting the Jaguars here since the Jaguars' offense isn't exactly the most trustworthy of teams, but I also decided to settle down on the Panthers.  Why?  Well, their remaining schedule is gonna be against the Jets (definitely a trap game), the Saints (who utterly embarrassed the Panthers to begin their 8-game winning streak), Vikings, the potential return of Aaron Rodgers, the Bucs, and a season finale rematch against the Falcons.  Probably the most brutal of remaining schedules out of all of the playoff contenders.  The Panthers pretty much need to beat the Jets and Bucs in order to have a fighting chance at the playoffs, and it's also preferred that they find a way to beat the Packers just to get one much-needed tie-breaker.  Because the Panthers do not have tie-breakers against the Lions, and they probably do not want to take a chance on being matched up with the Seahawks for a tie-breaker scenario.  Still, 10 games will probably do it for them, and 11 wins will all but ensure it happens.  Also here's a bit of random trivia:  Did you know that even if the Panthers were to win out, they still could end up not winning their division?  This is because both the Saints and Panthers could end up finishing their season with a 5-1 divisional record, splitting their seasonal matchups in the process.  And since the Saints lost to an AFC team but not the Panthers, the Saints would thus still win the NFC South in a 13-3 tie-breaker scenario based on conference record.

 

7.  Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3):  In stark contrast, I think the only way the Jaguars could miss the playoffs is if Blake Bortles causes the team to effectively self-destruct during the final six weeks of the season.  Now that would be some collapse.  Especially since other than the now vulnerable Seahawks and the uninspiring Titans, all of the Jaguars' remaining games are against the Cardinals, Colts, Texans, and 49ers.  Not exactly a scary schedule, especially for one of the two best defensive units in the entire NFL.  Other than perhaps the Seahawks giving Blake Bortles fits (and even then, their secondary is depleted), there really are not too many teams left on their schedule that can feasibly stop them.  They are perhaps one of the few teams in the NFL as well that might be able to upset the Patriots in the playoffs as well.  The only problem though is that I do not wholly trust them.  Like, if they were to somehow upset the Patriots in the AFC Championship and reach the Super Bowl, they would probably lose.  I don't care if it's against the Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Rams, Seahawks, Falcons--well, okay, maybe Falcons--Panthers, Lions, etc.  I honestly do not think the Jaguars could win this game.  We're pretty much staring at this year's equivalent to the 2006 Chicago Bears--definitely a Super Bowl caliber team, but with a QB that'd likely be detrimental to their success.  So there's that.

 

6.  LA Rams (7-3):  I honestly thought about docking them a couple of spots down on the list following that porous showing in Minnesota (at the very least, they'd be number 7 while the Rams would be number 6).  But as of right now, I still consider the Rams to be a Super Bowl-caliber team.  The fact that they still have to play the Saints, Eagles, and Seahawks (again) is pretty much their only realistic threat to a shot in the playoffs, let alone a division title the Rams actually have.  And the fact that the Rams play all three of the current divisional leaders in the NFC may prove crucial to them when it comes to making preparations for the postseason anyways.  And if they do defeat the Seahawks and their depleted secondary in Seattle?  The division will be all but secured.  No need to debate who else remains on their schedule; they get the Cardinals, Titans, and 49ers.  Not exactly a group of teams to be threatened by.  Seriously, the odds of making the Rams are especially small even compared to the Jaguars and Titans.  However, similar to the Jaguars, I think if they do go the distance and reach the Super Bowl, they will probably lose.  Their only decent (yet realistic) matchup in a Super Bowl would have to be the Jaguars, which is their only shot at winning this thing this year, provided that they get there.  I don't care if they play the Patriots or the Steelers; they're gonna lose, if they even get there at all.  Still, they do have the ingredients needed to get there, provided of course that they're well-prepared for the other division leaders.  Still, regardless of their overall rankings, the fact that I honestly do not think the Rams have much of a shot at winning this thing is why I do not consider them top 5 worthy.  Then again, they did have a piss-easy schedule to coast through.

 

5.  New Orleans Saints (8-2):  Finally, I honestly think that their loss to the Vikings may ultimately hurt the Saints as far as playoff seeding goes (they can win out and still be stuck as the 3-seed, due to their head-to-head loss to the Vikings back in Week 1).  The bright side is that I can definitely see the Saints possibly making it to the Super Bowl, provided that they do not have to fly to Philadelphia in order to get there.  Though their first and only road playoff win in Saints history did occur in 2013 against the Eagles.  As for their remaining schedule, it's pretty much the NFC South Scourge as per usual (play the Falcons twice, the Panthers again, and also the Bucs).  They also play the Rams too.  Literally their only easy game left on their schedule would have to be the Jets.  It would be a greek tragedy of epic proportions if their recent injury to their defensive line literally means they win only one or two more games on their schedule.  Even if they keep their spot in the playoffs secured at 10-6, what they pretty much want is either the second or third seed behind Minnesota.  That is essentially key to getting back to the Super Bowl.  Can they win?  Eh...maybe.  They could match up well against the Patriots, and I know they can match up well against the Steelers.  So...maybe?  But they have to actually get there first, and they absolutely do not want to go to Philadelphia in order to do so.

 

4.  Minnesota Vikings (8-2):  Remaining schedule includes the Lions, Falcons, Panthers, Bungles, Rodgers' potential return, and the Bears.  No exactly an easy remaining schedule, though the Vikings do match up well against a lot of these teams defensively.  The Lions are perhaps scary due to their general success when it comes to Thanksgiving games; the Falcons I know can be scary offensively (though they are built similarly in structure to the Rams), and the return of Aaron Rodgers definitely has the potential to be scary (provided that he actually does return).  I honestly do not think the Vikings' remaining schedule is anywhere near as difficult as the Saints.  For one thing, two of their remaining teams are bad, while they have the potential to match up well against everybody else very well.  Defensively, the Vikings are also very healthy, and Case Keenum isn't making too many mistakes.  The point is, if the Vikings get it together during the final six weeks of the season, and are good enough to secure a first round playoff bye, they will definitely be a talented enough football team to reach, and potentially win the Super Bowl (and yes, I honestly do believe the Vikings defensively match up exceptionally well against the Patriots and Steelers; the only question mark if anything is Case Keenum himself; trivia; no journeyman QB has won the Super Bowl during the Brady-Belichick era since 2002's Brad Johnson, let alone start in one; Kurt Warner, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning--all among some of the greatest QB's of all time--were the only other QB's to have gotten there after jumping from one franchise to another).

 

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2):  Literally the only threat to the Steelers right now is the Baltimore Ravens.  Their remaining schedule?  Also includes rematches against the Browns and Bungles, a key home date against the Patriots, and a game against the depleted Texans.  Oh, yeah!  And the Packers next week.  We know of the Steelers' penchant for playing down to their competition, and we also know of the Steelers inability to beat the Patriots.  Especially in the playoffs.  However, other than a key matchup against the Patriots that will not only have an effect on playoff seeding, but also potential Super Bowl odds as well, the Steelers really have no reasons or excuses to not win this division and finish strong (the worst they can possibly finish is 3rd seed, and that's due to one of their losses having occurred against the Jaguars earlier in the year already).

 

2.  New England Patriots (8-2):  It's taken a while, but the remainder of the Patriots schedule--which, outside of a road game in Pittsburgh, consists entirely of divisional matchups.  Yeah, they have yet to play the Dolphins or Bills at all, and their season finale is against the Jets.  My prediction?  If they beat the Steelers, their only remaining loss will probably be in a meaningless season finale against the Bills (unless of course they would somehow end up losing a two-way or three-way tiebreaker with the Jaguars and maybe Steelers alongside 'em).  If the Patriots lose?  Well, they'll probably avenge their loss in the AFC Championship just like the last three times the two teams squared off in the postseason.  The Patriots pretty much are not just a given will make the playoffs (even if something bad happens to Brady between now and then), but presumably will reach the Super Bowl.  The Jaguars or the loss of Tom Brady due to age or injury are pretty much the only realistic scenarios where the Patriots do not make it back to the Super Bowl.

 

1.  Philadelphia Eagles (9-1):  And yet in spite of all this, I still cannot make the decision to pick the Patriots over the Eagles for number 1, even though if both teams were to win out and then reach the Super Bowl, yes, I reckon the Patriots will still win anyways.  This is all currently based on record, which has not changed one bit since Week 7 of the season.  The Eagles have not lost since Week 2 of the season.  Do I think they'll lose again?  Sure, I honestly think it's possible!  Their remaining games are against the Bears, Seahawks, Rams, Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys.  Other than losing one to the Rams and possibly a potentially meaningless season finale though, I do not see a single scenario where the Eagles do not make the playoffs.  And there's only one or two scenarios where the Eagles do not even secure homefield advantage, let alone a first round bye.  Still, Carson Wentz is all but certainly going to be our next League MVP, which in the 21'st century is pretty much a death sentence as far as winning the Super Bowl is concerned.  Just ask Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Rich Gannon, Peyton Manning, that Seahawks RB in 2005, LaDanian Tomlinson, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Adrien Peterson, Cam Newton, and especially Matt Ryan (unfortunately, Steve McNair, who wasn't able to win a Super Bowl either is no longer alive to ask in person)!  So, sure!  Go ahead and relish the Eagles as the best team in the NFL; it pretty much mean they're not gonna win the Super Bowl.  Unless they end up playing the Jaguars, in which case, they'll win!

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I just wanna add that the Chiefs f*CC!n succ!!!.....and Andy Reid, or whoever is callin' the offensive plays is a dumba$$.  They've completely gone away from Kareem Hunt as an every down back and are sticken that shitty #35 in on 3rd down which just yells out pass........and they're treating Alex Smith like an all-star QB  and he's far from it!!!  He's average with some mobility at best......the only reason they were winning is because they had a well rounded offense, now they are leaning heavily toward the pass and they're gonna lose every game in the rest of the fucc!n season for it

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Only way he could help is if he suddenly becomes like Darrell Green and sees a resurgence in skills. As for Tailback's assessment, i think Reid is trying not to blow Kareem Hunt out but he's doing it the wrong way.

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Here's the Semi-Finalists for this year's Hall of Fame Ballot.  And not one of them is a Quarterback, either (sorry Phil Simms, Randall Cunningham, and Donovan McNabb; maybe next time, if ever):

Steve Atwater, safety, 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

Ronde Barber, defensive back, 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tony Boselli, offensive tackle, 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)

Isaac Bruce, wide receiver, 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers

LeRoy Butler, safety, 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

Don Coryell, coach, 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Roger Craig, running back, 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Brian Dawkins, safety, 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos

Alan Faneca, guard, 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals

Torry Holt, wide receiver, 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

Steve Hutchinson, guard, 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans

Joe Jacoby, tackle, 1981-1993 Washington Redskins

Edgerrin James, running back, 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks

Jimmy Johnson, coach, 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins

Ty Law, cornerback, 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos

Ray Lewis, linebacker, 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens

John Lynch, free safety, 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

Kevin Mawae, center/guard, 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans

Karl Mecklenburg, linebacker, 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

Randy Moss, wide receiver, 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers

Leslie O’Neal, defensive lineman, 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs

Terrell Owens, wide receiver, 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals

Simeon Rice, defensive end, 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts

Richard Seymour, defensive lineman, 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders

Brian Urlacher, linebacker, 2000-2012 Chicago Bears

Everson Walls, cornerback, 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns

Hines Ward, wide receiver, 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers

Now for my Hall of Fame Predictions (or perhaps they're simply people I want to see more than anybody else):  Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Steve Atwater, John Lynch, Jimmy Johnson, Roger Craig, and Brian Urlacher.  If I am to extend my list, then I'd include the likes of Joe Jacoby (gotta get 'em hogs in there), Tory Holt, Isaac Bruce, Ronde Barber, Hines Ward, and LeRoy Butler.  Terrell Owens is far, far behind them in my preferential list.

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Packers have now not won @ Pittsburgh, in 46+ years.

(0-5, since '70.)

 

 

And Roethlisberger narrowly avoided being out-dueled - this season - by Glennon, Bortles, and... Brett Hundley.

 

(Although we never know; Brett Hundley could wind-up being the next Garoppolo)

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I love the hype the Eagles are getting. I love that they are hyped as the team to beat in the playoffs. I love that a team that hasn't been to the playoffs in almost a decade gets top billing because of some hot sophomore quarterback play this season against mostly god awful teams. Keep it coming, news media. Anything to keep the spotlight away from the Patriots.

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Just now, buck said:

Again dude, the eagles aren't just wentz. They've got a heck of a defense. They have a for real running game, too.


I know it's not just him, but without Wentz, they wouldn't be nearly the same team. He's in the running (currently leading?) for MVP for a pretty good reason.

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Well, I understand that the QB is probably the most important single position, but my point is that they'd (eagles) still be a pretty good team without him (wentz) due to their defense and running game.

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A slight against Wentz and the reason why I would be (mostly) cool with an Eagles/Patriots Super Bowl (should it happen) is that he’s been saved a lot this year by his legs/agility/ability when his protection has broken down. He scrambles outside the pocket multiple times a game due to broken protection, and the Hoodie won’t stand for that bush league, college freestyle sh*t. 

 

They’ve played some really sh*tty-to-mediocre offenses this year. Green Bay with Rodgers was arguably their greatest threat to date in the 2017 schedule on week 1, and they lost that sh*t. Patriots play in a weak AFC East, but the Patriots are a proven post-season commodity despite their division’s competition level. The Eagles’ Achilles heel is time of possession. In close games, they’ve won out in the 4th by keeping the ball for long stretches at a time in-between Wentz’s freestyling and admittedly solid pocket work. But I like the Pats’ secondary against the Eagles WRs. I trust in Matt Patricia’s ability to throw Wentz’s read progression off with solid man-to-man by the DBs, and some designed blitzes to f*ck up his sophomore sensibilities. 

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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Has the Patriots every kicked a team's ass in the Super Bowl?  I mean 49ers' style blowout victories?  If anything, every team that's played the Patriots in the Super Bowl has made them rather competitive, and were in fact just as good if not better than the Patriots in some way, shape or form.  This is perhaps due to Bill Belichick's penchant of closing the talent gap between his team and his opponents, which, unfortunately, even includes teams that one could deem inferior (looking at you, Panthers and especially Giants).  The only team I could deem as a true equal to the Patriots in the Super Bowl would probably be the Seahawks--so much so that it literally came down to one final play, and Vegas never designated one team as a favorite over the other.

 

If there's one thing the Patriots have been known for under Brady and Belichick, it's the outcome of every game coming down during clutch time.  Not exactly what I would deem a dominant performance.  Now, if Carson Wentz were to become the first Eagle to be named League MVP, then it's pretty much a death sentence for the Eagles come Super Bowl time.  Even if they ended up playing the Steelers or the Jaguars in the Super Bowl (let's be honest; the Titans are not going to make it to the Super Bowl, nor will whoever ends up winning the 6th seed in the AFC or the AFC West division), the Eagles would still lose with a League MVP on their team.  Just because they had a player named League MVP and nothing more to it.

 

Personally, I think it will be the Vikings vs. either the Patriots or Steelers in the Super Bowl.  The Jaguars could get there, but then they'll probably lose because as my suspicions were confirmed last week, it doesn't take much for the team to sabotage themselves.

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That you’re tallying all of the many recent Patriots Super Bowl victories/appearances as a retrospective measure on how dominant they’ve been is really all the content I need to disregard the ol’ ‘dominant win’ dialogue.

 

The Vikings are not going to the Super Bowl. That’s a ‘fist-full of pubes’ bet right there. (Sorry, Pocky.)

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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Time for another round of NFL Power Rankings:

 

32.  Cleveland Browns (0-11):  Officially eliminated from playoff contention when the Chargers beat the Cowboys.  Still, I figured that of all the remaining games on their schedule, they might be able to steal one from the Bungles.  At least they still have the Bears and Packers, and might be able to steal one from the Steelers if they manage to clean up homefield advantage by that game.  But...probably not.  Projected to finish the season anywhere from 0-16 to 2-14!

 

31.  San Francisco 49ers (1-10):  Officially eliminated from playoff contention with their loss at the hands of the Seahawks.  Off the top of my head, they still have the Bears left on their schedule, and they still have the, uh...maybe the Texans.  Similar to the Browns, the 49ers are projected to finish anywhere from 1-15 to 3-13.

 

30.  New York Giants (2-9):  I checked.  Because the Giants lost to the Seahawks, and because the Falcons would own the Giants in a tie-breaker scenario by virtue of conference record (the Falcons lost three games to AFC teams, whereas the Giants' two wins both came against AFC adversaries), the Giants are now officially eliminated from playoff contention.  Based on my projections, however, the Giants could still end up stealing one or two from the Cowboys, Cardinals, and maybe Raiders.  Overall, I'm projecting anywhere from 2-14 to 4-12 finish for the Giants!

 

29.  Denver Broncos (3-8):  None of these next three teams have been eliminated yet (per se), and it's highly unlikely the Broncos will be officially eliminated any time soon (due to the porous conditions of the AFC West--the Broncos are still behind only three games for the division crown).  However, it is such a colossal longshot that they might as well be eliminated.  Why?  Because while the Chiefs are in freefall, the Raiders and Chargers are both on the rise.  And as such, either one of them could end up winning the division overall.  I am projecting the Broncos to not win another game again for the rest of the season...though if they do, it might be against the Chiefs or Jets (the Colts pretty much always beat us anyways, so I'm not counting them).  But those are HUGE maybes.  In all seriousness, 5-11 is the best-case scenario for us, so might as well just shoot for a high enough draft pick so we can finally pick up a signal caller.

 

28.  Indianapolis Colts (3-8):  I'd probably rate the Colts a bit lower than the Broncos if not for the fact that I'm all but certain the Colts are gonna beat the Broncos anyways.  Still, the division title is next to unobtainable (the Colts would have to win out, and the Titans and Jaguars would have to lose out, only to tie in their season finale).  As far as wild card chances go?  The Colts would need to win out and require so major help in deterring the Ravens and Bills respectively.  So while the Colts' playoff hopes are much more bleak, they are merely a marginally less bad team compared to the Broncos.

 

27.  Chicago Bears (3-8):  The Bears is perhaps the bleakest of the 3-win teams by virtue of their position in the NFC compared to the previous two AFC teams.  Unlike the Colts and Broncos, the Bears have no shot at making the playoffs.  However, just to clinch the 6th seed, they would need either the Falcons or the Panthers to collapse down the stretch alongside the Seahawks, and for the Packers, Cowboys, Redskins, Cardinals, and Bucs to each finish the season finishing with no less than a 7-9 record each.  I am very much prepared to dock the team below the Broncos real soon.  However, the Bears still have winnable matchups against the 49ers, Bungles, and Browns (and maybe the Lions).  As such, I am expecting the Bears to remain as they are eventually.  Anywhere from 4-12 to 6-10 seems like a probable finish for the Bears!

 

The next sleight of four games are all the remaining playoff longshots (though they have much better shots compared to the previous three teams):

 

26.  New York Jets (4-7):  Outside of the fact that the Jets are an overachieving football team, it's kind of hard to picture the Jets winning another game the rest of the way.  Though given that their remaining schedule includes a Chiefs squad in freefall, the lowly Broncos, the high-powered Saints, the rising Chargers, and a dominant Patriots squad, it is hypothetically possible for the Jets to win out.  Even then, to win the division, they'd need to win out, the Patriots to fall apart the rest of the way, and for the Bills and Dolphins to finish with no better than an 8-8 record respectively.  The latter is the most likely outcome to happen in this scenario.  For the wild card, they pretty much need to finish with a better record (divisional or otherwise) than the Bills and Dolphins, to win out, for the Raiders to win the AFC West, and for the Ravens to fall apart.  It's pretty bleak, but they at least have a slightly better cushion than just about all the other 3-win teams but the Broncos.  Overall, I'm projecting a finish anywhere from 4-12 to 6-10!

 

25.  Houston Texans (4-7):  Ultimately, I had a toss-up between the Texans and the Jets for worst 4-win team at this stage of the year.  I ultimately decided that the Texans were marginally better because at least the Texans still have the 49ers and Colts remaining on their schedule.  It's even hypothetically possible for them to steal a game or two from their division rivals (who are not totally dependable as of this moment), leaving only one brutal game left in the Steelers (who, of course, always play down to their competition).  Ultimately, I am just slightly more confident in the Texans stealing a win or two down the stretch, if not three.  Ultimately, I project the Texans to finish anywhere from 5-11 to 7-9.  Any better than that, and then we'll talk playoffs (too bad their recent loss to the Ravens may have all but killed their shot at the division, but winning out does give them a shot at the division, and may even help the Bills clinch a Wild Card berth to boot).

 

24.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7):  While the Bucs playoff hopes are all but completely gone at this point, I still think they are marginally better than the Jets and Texans.  At least the Bucs have some semblance of a roster; the Jets are made up of scraps, while the Texans' entire starting roster is on injury reserve.  By default though, the Bucs have a much lower shot at making the playoffs than the Texans or Jets do by virtue of the fact that the Bucs play in the NFC.  There's also their remaining schedule to consider:  Packers, Lions, Falcons, Panthers, and Saints.  They still have a marginal shot at anywhere from 5-11 to 7-9.

 

23.  Miami Dolphins (4-7):  Of all the longshots, the Dolphins perhaps have the least difficult path to the playoffs.  If they were to win out though, they'd still require some help in dealing with the Ravens (especially since Baltimore has a two-game lead on the Dolphins as well as the tie-breaker).  Their remaining schedule includes home games against the Broncos and Patriots, two games against the Bills, and finally a date against a Chiefs team in freefall.  I am projecting the Dolphins to finish anywhere from 6-10 to 8-8 though.  Meaning out of playoff contention.

 

22.  Dallas Cowboys (5-6):  This is kind of an oddity here.  On the one hand, they are still technically a Dark Horse.  But then you have to remind yourself that the Cowboys are in the NFC, Zeke is still halfway through serving his 6-game suspension, and they have lost much valuable tie-breakers to the Falcons, Packers, and Rams for good measure.  They are pretty much out of contention for their division as well.  The Cowboys would need to win out, and then be of much-needed help in neutralizing in neutralizing the Falcons to a meager 9-7 record, and Seahawks still need to lose another game too in addition to their loss against the Cowboys.  Luckily, the Falcons are matched up with the Vikings, Panthers, and twice against the Saints; and the Seahawks still have to play the Jaguars, Eagles, and Rams.  That's the good news.  The bad news is, even with a remaining schedule consisting of Redskins, Giants, Raiders, Seahawks (right on time for Zeke's return, too), and then Eagles (presumably during a meaningless season finale), the Cowboys have consistently failed to put up points on the board since Zeke's suspension was put into place; over the last three games, they have failed to score 10 points or more a single time.  Which, as a Bronco fan, I know just how difficult it is to win when you are unable to produce, especially without the necessary pieces on defense in play.  They may technically count as a dark horse, but already, they feel like a longshot.  Anywhere from 5-11 t 7-9 seems like the reasonable projection here.

 

21.  Arizona Cardinals (5-6):  The good news for the Cardinals was that they got a much-needed win against the Jaguars Sunday to keep them in the playoff hunt still.  The bad news is, they are in the NFC, and they don't have any meaningful tie-breakers.  Luckily, so far, they only have tie-breaker losses against the Rams, Seahawks, Cowboys and Lions.  So the Cardinals winning out and getting some help in dealing with the Cowboys and Lions isn't totally out of the question as of yet.  Still, they need to deal with the Falcons, Panthers and Saints too, all of whom have 2-3 game leads on the Cardinals.  It's just a shame then that 2 of the Cardinals' 5 wins came against AFC South foes (Colts and Jaguars), another against the Bucs, and the rest both came against the 49ers.  Based on projections, I predict the Cardinals to finish anywhere from 6-10 to 8-8.

 

20.  Cincinnati Bengals (5-6):  Good news for the Bungles--if they are to win out, then all they'd need to make the playoffs is 1 Buffalo Bills loss to secure the 6th seed over both the Bills and Ravens (due to head-to-head tie-breakers as well as divisional tie-breakers respectively).  The bad news is, their remaining games are against the Steelers, Bears, Vikings, Lions, and then Ravens.  And outside of the Bears, none of their remaining games are exactly going to be a walk-in-the-park.  I project anywhere from 6-10 to 8-8 finish, and with the Bungles signing Marvin Lewis to an extension so that their futility can continue.  It's only because of this brutal remaining schedule that I do not have them rated higher than the next two NFC Dark Horses.

 

19.  Green Bay Packers (5-6):  The Packers absolutely needed to win last night's game just to remain on pace with the Lions, Seahawks, and Falcons for a playoff berth.  The division is pretty much out of reach at this point as well.  Still, their next two games are going to be against the Bucs and Browns, and if they win out in those games, Aaron Rodgers gets to come back.  Then, all the Packers would need is to win out against the Panthers, Vikings, and Lions during Rodgers' revenge tour, and then to hope for some help in cutting the Seahawks and either the Falcons or Panthers down to size.  I'm projecting anywhere from 7-9 to 10-6, the latter only if Aaron Rodgers comes back.

 

18.  Washington Redskins (5-6):  Similar to the Packers, if there's a silver lining in the Redskins playoff hopes, it's the fact that they own the tie-breaker over the Seahawks and Rams.  Unfortunately, the Redskins pretty much need all the help they can get in cutting down them as well as the NFC South teams down to size and then to win out themselves.  Luckily, the NFC South will be spending a better part of December in a civil war against one another, and the Seahawks still get the Rams, Eagles and Jaguars on their schedule.  The Redskins are officially eliminated from contention for the NFC East division, but they still have a shot at a sixth seed.  They just need some help to get there.  Their remaining games are against the Cowboys, Chargers, Cardinals, Broncos, and Giants.  So the Redskins running the table is definitely within the realm of possibility here.

 

17.  Oakland Raiders (5-6):  And here is where we begin the transition from Dark Horse to Playoff Contender.  Similar to the case with the Cowboys, Cardinals, and Bungles, it's because of their record that they now qualify as Dark Horses.  But due to situations regarding the AFC West now being a 3-team race for the division crown, and the team currently ahead for the division crown is now up by only 1 game, the Raiders also qualify as playoff contenders.  This is further demonstrated by the fact that the Raiders currently own the tie-breaker over the current division leader.  The only reason why he isn't ranked any higher than this is due to their remaining schedule:  They still play the Giants, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Eagles before settling in on a season finale with the Chargers that may very well decide the winner of the division.  Unfortunately, because of that matchup against the Eagles (as well as early season losses against the Bills and Ravens), the Raiders do not own any real tie-breakers for a Wild Card spot.  This means that it's pretty much going to be the division or bust for them.  I'm predicting anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7 for the Raiders.

 

16.  Los Angeles Chargers (5-6):  It must be noted that the Chargers started the season out 0-4 and are now riding on a hot streak.  In addition, their remaining schedule is against the Browns, Redskins, Chiefs, and Jets before settling down for a potential season finale for the division crown against the Raiders.  In addition, since the Chargers have beaten the Bills, even if, say, the Chiefs end up winning the division, the Chargers could still clinch a Wild Card berth (with a little bit of help in dealing with the Ravens too, of course).  All their remaining games are otherwise quite winnable, with their toughest remaining games presumably being against the Redskins and Raiders--both of whom are very much competing for the division themselves.

 

15.  Kansas City Chiefs (6-5):  And even though I still consider them a Playoff Contender, the Chiefs feel more like a Dark Horse by comparison.  So much so that one has to wonder if the Chiefs are even going to be able to close out the season with a winning record at all.  Their remaining schedule shouldn't be terribly difficult; they get to play each of their division rivals again, as well as the Jets and Dolphins.  And yet, everything the Chiefs have shown since their 5-0 start seems to imply that they are no longer a trustworthy playoff contender.  They look more like the Vikings team that started the previous season 5-0 only to fall apart at the seams down the stretch.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 2017's NFL Collapse of the Year!  They're projected to finish anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7.  But otherwise feel more like an 8-8 team to me.

 

14.  Detroit Lions (6-5):  The Lions ought to consider themselves lucky that they are only behind the Seahawks and Falcons by only one game.  Unfortunately for them, the Lions have lost pretty much every single meaningful tie-breaker scenario against the NFC South contenders in the books.  Still, if they win out, then all they need is a little bit of help and they're in.  Their remaining schedule?  Against the Ravens, Bucs, Bears, Bungles, and Packers (who may or may not have Aaron Rodgers by this time).  On paper, all five of these games are very much winnable.  The only problem of course, is the fact that the Lions are notoriously bad when it comes to playing in December.  Overall, I'm projecting anywhere from 8-8 to 10-6.

 

13.  Buffalo Bills (6-5):  I've done the math.  If the Bills were to somehow win out now, they could still end up missing the playoffs altogether (this is due to the fact that the Ravens have lost to pretty much every single NFC North opponent they've faced so far, whereas the Bills had beaten the Falcons and Bucs).  The Ravens are guaranteed the Conference tie-breaker over the Bills, so the Bills need to close out the season with one win more than the Ravens.  Against their remaining schedule, they pretty much are stuck playing the Patriots and Dolphins twice apiece, with a brief reprieve against the Colts.  Still, the Patriots alone will push the Bills to their limit.  But, there is an upside to this; if the Bills somehow manage to sweep the Patriots and win out, then all they'd need to clinch the division then would be yet another loss from the Patriots--presumably against the Steelers--to pretty much clinch the AFC East.  That's very hard to envision, but it's far more believable a scenario than pretty much everybody ranked below them barring the AFC West teams and Lions (and presumably the Bungles).  Currently projecting anywhere from 8-8 to 10-6!

 

12.  Baltimore Ravens (6-5):  If the Ravens win out, then consider their playoff ticket officially punched in.  No further help from any other team to make it happen.  Just win, and they're in.  Their remaining schedule, by the way, is against the following teams:  Lions, Steelers, Browns, Colts, and Bungles.  Not a terribly easy remaining schedule, but still very much manageable, especially compared to the Bills (only one brutally difficult game against the Steelers versus two against the Patriots).  I project anywhere from 8-8 to 10-6 with a playoff ticket likely punched in.

 

11.  Seattle Seahawks (7-4):  In spite ranking higher than the Ravens or Bills by virtue of their record, they are currently on the outside looking in as far as playoff seeding goes.  This is due to a number of tie-breaker losses--specifically against the Falcons, who are also 7-4 currently.  So, what hope does Seattle have at making the playoffs.  Mostly, it boils down the upcoming war for the NFC South.  Because when one takes into consideration the remaining adversaries on the Seahawks' schedule, the closest thing to an easy win for them on paper would come in their season finale against the Cardinals (and perhaps even the Cowboys the week before that).  As I said previously, the Seahawks still have to overcome teams like the Eagles, Rams, and Jaguars if they hope to make it back to the playoffs.  Currently, I am projecting them to finish anywhere from 8-8 to 11-5.  Which may in fact turn out to be just good enough to win their division though, especially since the Rams also have to deal with the Eagles.

 

10.  Atlanta Falcons (7-4):  Now for some interesting information going forward.  The Falcons winning out would be all that is needed for this team to defend their division crown--especially since the Falcons only have one loss against a divisional foe thus far, and winning out means securing the tie-breaker over the Panthers based on divisional records.  Unfortunately, before the Falcons becomes a participant in the NFC South War, they must first get past the brutal Minnesota Vikings defense.  Of all the NFC South teams, the Falcons perhaps have the most difficult road back to the playoffs out of everybody, as their only easy win left on their schedule is against the Bucs.  For this reason, I'm predicting the Falcons to finish anywhere from 8-8 to 11-5 by season's end.  We'll see just what the Falcons are truly made of when they take on the Purple People Eaters.

 

9.  Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4):  The next two teams are both neck-n-neck in the race for the AFC South, with the loser likely turning up as a wild card team (presumably as the 5th seed no less).  However, after their disappointing showing against the Cardinals in which the Jaguars ultimately sabotaged themselves (thanks a lot, Blake Bortles), the Jaguars are not exactly the most trustworthy of teams to depend on to win the division.  Still, their remaining games are against the Colts, Seahawks, Texans, and 49ers before having a season finale rematch with the Titans to determine the AFC South Champion.  It would be a great tragedy if the Jaguars somehow fail to manage to pull away with at least a 10-6 record during that stretch.  Projecting anywhere from a 9-7 to 11-5 finish.

 

8.  Tennessee Titans (7-4):  This team currently holds the divisional tie-breaker over the Jaguars, hence the reason why I am ranking them a tad higher right now.  That, and their remaining schedule is marginally easier:  Texans, Cardinals, 49ers, and Rams before their season finale rematch with the Jaguars to determine the division title winner.  Okay, so perhaps it's not quite as easy, but still.  It's just a shame then that the Titans are perhaps the most lackluster of playoff contenders out there.  I'm projecting anywhere from 10-6 to 11-5; I see no possible way for the Titans to beat the Rams (at least the Jaguars have a somewhat realistic shot at getting the Seahawks).

 

7.  Carolina Panthers (8-3):  The Panthers have to deal with each of their division rivals, including a long awaited rematch against the Saints.  Plus, they also have to deal with that brutal Viking defense (which I have an awful hard time imagining this squad overcoming).  Did I forget to mention that Aaron Rodgers may very well end up coming back to the NFL just in time to take on Cam Newton?  Like with the Falcons, their only easy game remaining on their schedule is against the Buccaneers.  I'm projecting anywhere from 10-6 to a 12-4 finish for the Panthers--so unless forced into a tie-breaker scenario against either the Seahawks or Packers (the Panthers would lose out to both teams), they're absolutely making the playoffs.

 

6.  New Orleans Saints (8-3):  They lost, so the Saints get docked down a point, with a possibility of being docked even further heading into the War for the NFC South.  Their remaining games are against the Falcons (twice), as well as rematches against the Panthers and Bucs.  They also get the Jets--which by default makes the road back to the playoffs just a touch bit easier.  I'm projecting anywhere from 10-6 to 12-4, with a playoff berth feeling the most certain out of all three NFC South teams (and that's in spite the injuries sustained on defense).

 

5.  LA Rams (8-3):  So the Rams have finally bested a worthy adversary.  I somehow doubt that they have what it takes to truly compete for a Super Bowl as of yet.  But, they still have to play the Eagles and Seahawks (again), as well as rematch the Cardinals and 49ers.  Throw in the Titans for good measure, and I am projecting this team to finish anywhere from 11-5 to 12-4 (once again, having a hard time imagining the Rams beating the Eagles, but you never know).

 

4.  Minnesota Vikings (9-2):  Here, I think it's pretty clear that Super Bowl LII will feature any combination of the final four teams.  As such, I officially consider the Vikings a Super Bowl contender.  All thanks to that brutal defense of theirs, having shut down a high-scoring juggernaut like the Rams the way that they did?  Man!  Their remaining games are against the Falcons, Panthers, Bungles, Packers, and Bears.  Personally, as good as teams like the Falcons and Panthers are (and as scary as the possible return of Aaron Rodgers might be), it's hard to imagine the Vikings losing more than 1, maybe 2 games out of that bunch.  I'm pretty much projecting the Vikings to finish anywhere from 12-4 to 13-3.  Let's just assume he loses either one game he shouldn't have, and/or perhaps a meaningless season finale.

 

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2):  As untrustworthy as the Steelers have been, they haven't lost a game since that debacle against Jacksonville that led to Big Ben stating that maybe he doesn't have it in him anymore.  They still have rematches against each of their division rivals, as well as a game against a depleted Texans squad.  Still, what could possibly determine which AFC team ultimately reaches the Super Bowl could very well be decided in a duel between the Steelers and Patriots during Week 15.  However, given recent history, especially between these two teams, it shows that there really isn't much of a real rivalry at all (I think the last time the Steelers beat the Patriots might have been way back in 2008).  As such, the Steelers do not rate much higher than this.  Still, a win against the Ravens (or a win plus a Ravens loss) will win them the division.  Overall, I am projecting anywhere from 12-4 to 14-2 (perhaps even with their starters rested, the Browns could be so bad that they win anyways).

 

2.  New England Patriots (9-2):  Their remaining schedule consists entirely of divisional matchups (twice against the Bills, and then rematches against the Dolphins and Jets).  The only interesting matchup during that sleight of games is against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, where the winner of that game will all but certain secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.  Projecting anywhere from 12-4 to 13-3--with that one loss either being against the Bills, Steelers, or the Jets during a meaningless season finale.

 

1.  Philadelphia Eagles (10-1):  The Eagles not only have the best record in football, but they've been dismantling virtually every team they have come across.  They still need to play the Seahawks and Rams just to see their true metal, and they also have to deal with the Cowboys during the season finale as well.  Then there's the potentially hungry Oakland Raiders squad who's very much still alive in the playoff race.  Their only easy game left is against the Giants in the middle of it all.  Still, what are the odds of the Eagles finishing worse than 13-3?  Speaking of which, I am predicting anywhere from 13-3 to 15-1 to be their final record.

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I am by no means a Giants fan, for obvious reasons. I take great joy in taking shots at the Manning legacy in the NFL. This all being said, Ben F*ckadoo benching Eli Manning is a disgrace. F*ckadoo and Jerry Reese clearly care more about their positions than honoring a career that has brought the Giants more success than the majority of their quarterbacks. Gino fkn Smith... F*ck you, Ben F*ckadoo and Jerry Reese. May the Giants not reach the playoffs for the remainder of their tenure.

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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