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And then there were two. With Denver dropping to Baltimore, the Colts and Saints are left as the only unbeaten teams in the NFL. The Rams and Titans finally won, leaving the Buccaneers, on a bye week, as the only winless team left. The long-touted return of Brett Favre to Green Bay ended with the Vikings winning 38-26 on four Favre touchdown passes. We also saw huge shakeup in the NFC East, and the 6 seed in the AFC continues to be unstable. With so much to think about, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, November 3:
The Falcons did their best, but a late touchdown drive sealed their fate. Matt Ryan has now lost consecutive games for the first time in his career in the process. With the win, the Saints hold their position atop the NFC following the Vikings’ win. With a Vikings bye and the Panthers coming into New Orleans next week, don’t expect the Saints to relinquish their position.
The Vikings are still fighting the Saints for home field advantage, and could very well get it before the season is through. Although it probably won’t happen before Week 12, when the schedule gets tough for the Saints (a Monday Night home game against New England). Up until then, the Vikings will cruise.
Well, well, well. Here we are again. The Giants just can’t seem to get it together, losing in Philly 40-17. After starting 5-0, the Giants are now 5-3, while the Eagles have won two straight. What else can you say here? The Eagles have the Giants’ number.
The Cowboys took advantage of a Giants loss to climb into the rankings. They’ll look to do more against the Eagles next week. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are still fighting off the 49ers for the division. With so much on the line for both teams, this should be a fun one to watch.
The East has a new leader, and instead of being named after an adult horse, they’re named for a young horse. But still, the last of the East’s unbeaten teams has shown that they’re in a prime position to claim another Lombardi Trophy following an 18-14 dogfight victory against the 49ers. If they can get past the Pats in Week 10 and the Broncos in Week 14, they’ve got a good shot at going 18-1 just like the Patriots. Or 19-0. Whatever works.
You figured it had to happen eventually, but the Ravens made it look convincing. 30-7 over the Broncos in Baltimore means Denver could be headed for another one of their great-starts-turned-miserable-finish, unless they can recover quickly. Now just one game ahead of the Pats, Bengals, and Steelers, the Broncos will have to get back on track next week against the Steelers, a tough task indeed. Though a match-up against the Redskins the following week helps.
The Texans are in the race? Stranger things have happened. For the third week in a row, the #3 Bengals face a different #6 team. The Bengals relaxed on their bye week while Houston beat up on Buffalo 31-10. Houston actually hasn’t looked that bad this season; look for them to pull a few surprises. Unfortunately for them, the Bengals have been the same way.
Here we are again; these teams love facing off in big game situations. Both teams had their bye this week; next week the Pats host Miami and Pittsburgh visits Denver. Miami barely beat the Jets and fell apart against New Orleans in Week 7. They’ve been a tough opponent for the Pats in recent times, but with Tom Brady back at the helm, New England is in good shape. However, with Pittsburgh putting up a great Week 7 performance against Minnesota, they probably wouldn’t have too much trouble transferring strategies from one perennial Pro Bowl quarterback to another.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL Playoffs, Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers