Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

NFL Week 13 in Review: Playoff Edition

Week 13 was, to put it simply, huge in terms of playoff positioning. Division matchup after division matchup. At the end of the day, pretty much every team with a better record won except for Denver. This cleared up the division leaders quite a bit, but muddied the wild card picture. A few teams now have very tough ways to go. Let's take a look at the picture. I have added all final games now to give you a broader idea of where we stand.

AFC Current Playoff Picture:

Division Leaders:
New England: 7-5 (at Buffalo, vs Tampa Bay, at NY Jets, vs Miami)
Cincinnati: 9-3 (vs Cleveland, at Detroit, vs Buffalo, at Kansas City)
Indianapolis: 12-0 (home field advantage... at Jacksonville, vs San Diego, at Seattle, vs Arizona)
Denver: 9-3 (first round bye... vs Baltimore, at Buffalo, vs Oakland, at San Diego)
Note: Denver has a 6-2 conference record compared to Cincy's 6-3, so Denver still has the bye.

Wild Card:
Jacksonville: 9-3 (vs Indianapolis, vs San Francisco, at Houston, vs Tennessee)
San Diego: 8-4 (vs Miami, at Indianapolis, at Kansas City, vs Denver)

First Round Games:
San Diego at Cincinnati, winner at Denver
Jacksonville at New England, winner at Indianapolis

Still Alive:
Kansas City: 8-4 (at Dallas, at NY Giants, vs San Diego, vs Cincinnati)
Pittsburgh: 7-5 (vs Chicago, at Minnesota, at Cleveland, vs Detroit)

There was only one change in the playoff picture, although it was a major one. Pittsburgh is now officially out of the playoffs as of their abysmal defensive performance on Sunday. Cincinnati finally put it all together for a huge road win. Due to their head-to-head victory, San Diego holds the current tiebreaker over Kansas City, although that matchup in a couple of weeks looms large.
Taking a look at the games next week, there sure aren't as many important games as last week. The Indianapolis-Jacksonville matchup isn't as sexy without Byron Leftwich and with both teams basically already having wrapped up their playoff berths. In fact, the only huge games involve teams currently not in the playoffs. Kansas City needs to win again, this time a huge affair at Dallas. Pittsburgh needs to break their two game losing streak against Chicago's #1 defense. Both will be tough victories. If they lose, we can almost wrap this thing up next playoff edition.
Looking at the schedules, I have to say yet again how hard Kansas City and San Diego's schedules are. Sheesh. Cincy, New England, Denver, and Jacksonville only have one hard game left. I've said it before, I'll say it again. It will take 11 wins to make the playoffs here.

NFC Current Playoff Picture:

Division Leaders:
NY Giants: 8-4 (at Philadelphia, vs Kansas City, at Washington, at Oakland)
Chicago: 9-3 (first round bye... at Pittsburgh, vs Atlanta, at Green Bay, at Minnesota)
Carolina: 9-3 (vs Tampa Bay, at New Orleans, vs Dallas, at Atlanta)
Seattle: 10-2 (home field advantage... vs San Francisco, at Tennessee, vs Indy, at Green Bay)

Wild Card:
Tampa Bay: 8-4 (at Carolina, at New England, vs Atlanta, vs New Orleans)
Dallas: 7-5 (vs Kansas City, at Washington, at Carolina, vs St Louis)

First Round Games:
Tampa Bay at Carolina, winner at Chicago
Dallas at NY Giants, winner at Seattle

Still Alive:
Atlanta: 7-5 (vs New Orleans, at Chicago, at Tampa Bay, vs Carolina)
Minnesota: 7-5 (vs St Louis, vs Pittsburgh, at Baltimore, vs Chicago)

There were two huge games that did a number on the playoff picture. Atlanta and Dallas both lost, which gives New York the NFC East currently. Dallas still has the wild card with the best conference record, although one more conference loss will lose that advantage for them.
Next week I already mentioned the huge Dallas-Kansas City game. Dallas can probably afford to lose one more, but not this one. Not with that schedule. Tampa Bay-Carolina will determine who is on top of that division come Monday. Again, as I'd said, the Chicago-Pittsburgh game looms large for both. This is a big test for Chicago. Pittsburgh and that huge defense on the road. If Chicago wins, regardless of how, I will jump on the bandwagon. Finally, the NY Giants-Philly game would have looked a lot better before Brian Westbrook's injury. Now it's nothing.
The final games in the NFC are far tougher than in the AFC. Everyone has a difficult schedule. Everyone, that is, except Seattle. Go us. We only have one game left we could/should lose. All the other contenders have at least two. The most difficult schedules belong to Dallas, any team in the NFC South (they all still have games against each other), and Chicago (three tough games left). The Giants really only have one tough one left, but divisional matchups on the road are always difficult and they haven't truly proven their ability to win those games. At the end of the day, we have to be the favorites for home field. It has to be us. We can't afford a stumble. Not this weekend. Not against the 49ers. We need to win by 30.

Look forward to Sunday!

posted by Gavin @ 6:42 PM  0 comments

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