Fantasy Football News

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who's the Favorite?: AFC and NFC Playoff Pictures

Each week of play has told us something different. Last week I got the idea that maybe, just maybe, this Minnesota Vikings team has a chance to excel without Brett Favre in the lineup.

Right away I have discovered that that's not necessarily true, as the Giants man-handled Tarvaris Jackson and the Vikings' offense on Monday night.

This week, the clear-cut favorites have been discovered. New England's offense racked up 36 points on Chicago's stellar defense, clinching the league's first playoff berth with the victory (11-2). Atlanta extended its win streak to seven games with a 31-10 victory over Carolina. Both teams are Super Bowl favorites coming out of their respected conferences, but Atlanta has a little more competition than New England.
With Seattle, New Orleans and Carolina still left on their plate this season, Atlanta has the potential to snag the NFC South title. New Orleans (10-3) and Tampa Bay (8-5) are both battling for Wild Card spots, but next week's New Orleans/Atlanta showdown on Monday Night Football may end up being the game of the year, and will without a doubt be pivotal in the race for the division title.
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The NFC West continues to be the laughing stock of the National Football League, with both St. Louis and Seattle at a deadlock for the division lead, both at 6-7. As insane as this sounds, San Francisco is still very much alive in the chase, just one game behind at 5-8. Arizona isn't statistically eliminated, either, with a record of 4-9.

The battle for the Wild Card will be a wild one for sure, with New Orleans (10-3) Philadelphia/New York (both 9-4), Green Bay (8-5) and Tampa Bay (8-5) all jockeying for two spots.
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The AFC playoff picture isn't much clearer than the NFC's, as the second-place teams in all four divisions are just a game behind the leader as we hit the final three weeks of the regular season.

The Colts and Jets continue to crumble: Indy is 2-3 in their last five games, New York is on a two-game losing streak. New York, 9-4, is still very much in the Wild Card hunt as long as they win two of their final three games, but Indy will be battling for their playoff hopes against Jacksonville this Sunday. If the Jags--current AFC South leader with 8-5 record--defeat Peyton and Co., they will likely end the season with their first division title since 1999.

After a quick start to the season, Kansas City has hit a few bumps in the road. At 8-5, they are still the West's leader, but San Diego (4-1 in last five games) is breathing down their necks, just one game behind Kansas City. Matt Cassel's appendectomy, which caused him to miss last week's game against San Diego, was a huge setback, but if he's back in the lineup this week expect the Chiefs to recover.
Miami (7-6), Oakland (6-7) and Houston/Tennessee (5-8) shouldn't be ruled out of the playoff hunt, either.
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Lucky for us, all four of the AFC's divisions will likely be decided in the final week. If we're lucky, maybe the NFC will turn out that way as well.

Photo Credit
Brian Urlacher and Tom Brady: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Maurice Jones-Drew: AP Photo/Stephen Morton

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