2012 NFL Playoff Picture: Where Does Your Team Sit?
With the NFL season as short as it already is, no-one wants to miss out on the playoffs. Sadly, with the way the league is set up, players across 20 teams will be watching January football from the luxury of their $15 million pads across the country.
So is your mob primed for postseason action this season? Let’s run through each team’s chances.
Disclaimer: I’m in no way an expert, clearly, so please take this with a grain of salt.
– Atlanta Falcons (8-0), Chicago Bears (7-1), New York Giants (6-3), San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
All the talk at the moment is how the Falcons are undefeated — can they go 16-0? It’d be a mighty feat, especially considering they’re the third best team in the NFC. Truth is, I’d take the Bears and 49ers over them any day. These four teams nonetheless sit proudly atop their respective divisions and either way will make it to the postseason.
Keep on sluggin’:
– Green Bay Packers (6-3), Seattle Seahawks (5-4), Minnesota Vikings (5-4), Detroit Lions (4-4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4), Dallas Cowboys (3-5)
It looks like the Packers are set to snag at least a wildcard spot into the playoffs — with that roster, it’d be an embarassment if they didn’t. Seattle holds key victories over the Vikings, Packers and Cowboys which may come in handy later in the season (wouldn’t it be grand if they got in over Green Bay after TateGate?).
The Vikings are still a chance but Christian Ponder needs to improve, fast. That horrid WR core doesn’t help his cause. Detroit and Tampa seem to be yapping at the heels of the NFC leaders, and as for the Cowboys? Well, something just seems to indicate they’ve still got a bit left to give.
Book those January holidays:
– Arizona Cardinals (4-5), St Louis Rams (3-5), New Orleans Saints (3-5), Philadelphia Eagles (3-5), Washington Redskins (3-6), Carolina Panthers (2-6)
The Saints sit very cautiosly on this list — they still have one of the best offensive units in the league but it’s just a matter of too little too late. Having Atlanta at 8-0 in the isn’t ideal for them either.
The Cardinals and Eagles are now in freefall and are proving to be baskets full of shambles, while the Rams, Redskins and Panthers just aren’t there quite yet. The Redskins in particular have killed themselves this season with a farcical inability to overcome their own errors and undisciplined mistakes — take those out and they could well be fighting for a spot.
– Houston Texans (7-1), New England Patriots (5-3), Denver Broncos (5-3)
The Texans have been one of the best units all season — if not the best unit — and for them to have a monumental collapse and fail to take out the division would be, well, a surprise. New England may be sitting at 5-3 but they benefit from two things: (1) they play in the AFC East, arguably the worst division in football and (2) they have the Bills, Jets, Dolphins (x2) and Jaguars yet to play. They’ll make it.
As for the Broncos, playing in the AFC West has its advantages. San Diego aren’t good enough to topple Peyton Manning’s crew and the Raiders and Chiefs just plainly aren’t good.
Keep on sluggin’:
– Baltimore Ravens (6-2), Indianapolis Colts (6-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3), Miami Dolphins (4-4)
Having the Ravens as certainties, while many may disagree, is not so clear-cut. Their remaining schedule is brutal, with the Steelers (x2), Redskins (at Washington), Broncos, Giants and Bengals beyond the horizon. It’s lucky they’ve started well because it’s not going to be easy during the final stretch.
The Steelers continue to pester Baltimore and have the weaponary to make it, be it as divisional champion or through a wildcard entry. No-one can look past the Colts any more either, and with emotion running rampant throughout that organisation they’re right in it.
And don’t for a second overlook the Dolphins — Reggie Bush and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill are doing great things down in Miami, and that defence ranks sixth overall in points allowed per game (18.6). They’re no pushover by any means. Making the postseason would be a longshot but they’re not dead just yet.
Book those January holidays:
– San Diego Chargers (4-4), Oakland Raiders (3-5), New York Jets (3-5), Buffalo Bills (3-5), Cincinatti Bengals (3-5), Tennessee Titans (3-5), Cleveland Browns (2-7), Kansas City Chiefs (1-7), Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8).
Frankly the Chargers aren’t good enough to snatch a wildcard spot, and they’re simply nowhere near the Broncos. Sick a fork in ‘em. As for the Bengals, they’re in no way a “bad” team but having the Steelers and Ravens in their division doesn’t help — the AFC North won’t send two wildcard teams to the playoffs.
As for the Jets, Bills and Titans, no right-minded person can honestly see them clawing their way back into the picture, albeit in a weak AFC conference.
And the Chiefs, Browns and Jaguars? Well, Cleveland is looking towards a bright future but right now these three teams are pimping the “Shambles4Lyf” motto.
2012/13 playoff seedings predictions
- Chicago Bears
- Atlanta Falcons
- San Francisco 49ers
- New York Giants
- Green Bay Packers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Houston Texans
- New England Patriots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Denver Broncos
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Indianapolis Colts
Don’t agree with me? Please, direct your hate mail here.