Fantasy Football News

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How it will all play out

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful New Years this year, and all the coaches and players enjoyed time with their families over the holidays, because from here on out, it's all business (although for most it still was all about business).

Tomorrow marks end of the 2010 regular season, meaning the playoffs are just around the corner. Of the 12 available playoff seeds, nine have been clinched and only three are left up for grabs. But, only one of the four first round byes have been clinched (Patriots).

Since commissioner Roger Goodell introduced his new plan (last season) of only division matchups during the final weekend of play, we will get to witness 16 games between rivals tomorrow, making for exciting January football.

Here are the scenarios for teams looking for playoff berths tomorrow:

In the AFC...

*Clinched
--Patriots 13-2, AFCE division, first round bye
--Jets 10-5, playoff spot
--Steelers 11-4, playoff spot
--Ravens 11-4, playoff spot
--Chiefs 10-5, AFCW division

*Can Clinch
--Colts (9-6) can clinch the AFC South with a win over Tennessee OR a Jacksonville loss.
--Jaguars (8-7) can clinch the AFC South with a win over Houston AND an Indianapolis loss.

*Seeding Scenarios
--Pittsburgh will win AFC North with a win over Cleveland OR a Baltimore loss. If they win they will also be awarded the second seed in the playoffs.
--Baltimore can win the AFC North with a win over Cincinnati AND a Pittsburgh loss. If they do not win the division but win tomorrow they will be the fifth seed in the playoffs (hold head-to-head tiebreaker over New York Jets).

(Note: You heard it here first! This year the Kansas City Chiefs will be the '08 Cardinals. A.K.A. the sleepers of the 2010-2011 playoffs. Especially since they'll play at least one game at home in Arrowhead Stadium. Don't underestimate K.C.)

*Prediction: Without David Garrard under center for the Jags, the Texans will shock Jacksonville and ruin their playoff hopes, giving Peyton Manning's Colts the AFC South title. Steelers beat the Browns (and Ravens beat Bengals), to give them both an 12-4 record, but the Steelers' hold the tiebreaker and will take the North title and first round bye. Projected seedings: 1. Patriots, 2. Steelers, 3. Chiefs, 4. Colts, 5. Ravens, 6. Jets.
In the NFC...

*Clinched
--Eagles 10-5, NFCE division
--Bears 11-4, NFCN division
--Falcons 12-3, playoff spot
--Saints 11-4, playoff spot

*Can Clinch
--Packers can clinch Wild Card spot with a win over Chicago OR a New York Loss.
--Giants can clinch Wild Card spot with a win over Washington AND losses by Green Bay and Tampa Bay.
--Tampa Bay can clinch Wild Card spot with a win over New Orleans AND losses by Green Bay and New York.
--Winner of St. Louis/Seattle game wins the NFC West division.

*Seeding scenarios
--Atlanta can clinch the division with a win over Carolina.
--New Orleans can clinch the division with a win over Tampa Bay AND an Atlanta loss.
--If Atlanta wins they will be awarded the top seed in the NFC and a first round bye.

Prediction: Atlanta clinches the South, and top spot in the NFC, as they easily handle the Panthers, meaning despite the victory over Tampa Bay, the Saints can only finish the season with a Wild Card spot. The Bears defeat the Packers, giving them the second seed in the NFC (Eagles clinch second seed with victory over Cowboys). With losses from Green Bay and Tampa Bay, the Giants clinch a spot with their victory over the Skins, despite Eli's horrendous four interception game against the Packers one week ago. The Rams, led by rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, defeat the Seahawks in primetime to clinch the West, despite an unimpressive 8-8 record. Projected seedings: 1. Falcons, 2. Bears, 3. Eagles, 4. Rams, 5. Saints, 6. Giants.
One more interesting piece of information to keep in mind while tuning in tomorrow:

New England and Kansas City are trying to become the only two teams this season to finish with a perfect record at home. They will most definitely be two of the toughest places to play in the postseason as well, so beware.

With three playoff spots still to be clinched, it looks like we're in for one crazy slate of Sunday games. Lucky us, huh?

Oh, I almost forgot! Here are my game picks as well. Might as well include them with this article...

Falcons over Panthers
Ravens over Bengals
Steelers over Browns
Vikings over Lions
Chiefs over Raiders
Patriots over Dolphins
Saints over Buccaneers
Jets over Bills
Broncos over Chargers
Bears over Packers
Texans over Jaguars
Colts over Titans
Eagles over Cowboys
Cardinals over Niners
Giants over Skins
Rams over Seahawks (Primetime!)

Photo Credit
Robert Mathis: AP Photo/Jose Sanchez
Matt Forte: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

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