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With less than two months to go now, the landscape has changed pretty nicely. The Patriots went from contenders to jokes, to contenders again with a defeat of Pittsburgh. Oakland is now in the playoff situation again, somehow. The Cowboys’ coaching change helped them, and hurt the Giants. The Falcons and Jets are back in command. And the Jets won road overtime games in consecutive weeks to become the first team ever to do so. It isn’t always pretty, but the Jets have proven they know how to get it done. Can anyone stop them? Let’s find out when we look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, October 16:
Atlanta took it to Baltimore in what many were thinking might be a Super Bowl preview. When push comes to shove, Atlanta proved they can hang in there with the best. As long as injuries don’t creep into the picture, Atlanta should be right in there deep in the playoffs.
Behind a 59-28 beat-down of (and in) Washington, Philadelphia made an emphatic statement. Michael Vick’s talents have landed him in the MVP discussions in some circles, and with his rushing ability, the Eagles can hurt you in so many ways.
The Bears won at home against Minnesota (ooo, that’s hard to do), while New Orleans enjoyed a bye week, having beaten Carolina the week before, and Pittsburgh the week before that. This game would all revolve around the key match-up between Drew Brees and Julius Peppers. If Brees makes the big plays and gets the big blocks, the Saints should be able to squeak out a win.
Losing to the Cowboys? That ought to be the kiss of death. But it’s the new Cowboys, and the Giants made a decent comeback attempt, so we can cut them one pass. Especially when Seattle’s last two wins have been against Arizona. Aside from those wins, Seattle‘s only win by multiple possessions was Week 1 against the 49ers. Yeah, it looks bad for the Giants, but don’t count them out yet.
The Jets are once more at the top of the AFC, and along with New England and Atlanta, at the top of the NFL. New York has been iffy in recent weeks against teams they should have beaten handily, but with their ability to claw themselves back into victories, you have to still count the Jets amongst the Super Bowl favorites.
You can hardly fault the Ravens for losing to a fellow contender in the waning minutes. They still have Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and a very good receiving corps. Don’t be surprised if the Ravens make it to at least the AFC Championship game.
Usually, we have to wait a few rounds to see a game like this. Indianapolis is finally on top of their division again, thanks to a win over Cincinnati. We all saw how Pittsburgh lost to New England, but New England’s defense tried their best to let Pittsburgh back in it, but if Pittsburgh were playing Indy in Week 10, Pittsburgh would have won 26-23. Just because the Colts have Peyton Manning doesn’t mean they’ll cruise through, but it will be close.
DAH RAIDAHS!!!!! Who would’ve thought they would be relevant again in our lifetimes? Might we really see another “tuck rule” game? Might the Raiders actually be for real? The last time Oakland beat New England was in 2002, but since then, New England has beaten Oakland twice, and this season has show much better promise on the road, Cleveland excluded. Despite going on the road, this is New England’s game to lose.
Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL Playoffs, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks