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If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 15

Falcons vs Patriots: Week 15's prediction for the Super Bowl

Just two weeks to go until the playoffs are completely set. And after a concussion, Brett Favre won’t be there to see them. Both the Patriots and the Falcons have a magic number of one to clinch the #1 seeds in their conferences. And at 6-8, one of the Rams or Seahawks have to win out or become the first team to win a division with a losing record. Rams @ Seahawks, Week 17. The Jets got things together in Pittsburgh, giving the Ravens a fighting chance. That’s more than can be said for the Giants after that embarrassment of a performance against the Eagles. But anyway, only four teams have clinched a playoff berth this late, and only one of those clinched their division, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, December 21:

NFC

#1 Atlanta Falcons

Put simply, the Falcons just don’t lose. Unless the game’s in Pennsylvania, so it’s a good thing they’ll finish above Philadelphia.

#2 Chicago Bears

Apparently, the Bears are a cold weather team, but not a precipitation team. They did in the Vikings like the Patriots did in the Bears. They’re really a pretty tough team when the snow’s not bad; Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers will make Chicago a dark horse candidate in the playoffs, especially since they’re in line for a bye.

#3 Philadelphia Eagles vs #6 New York Giants

Did you see that performance? At the Meadowlands, no less. The Giants are effective at slowing Michael Vick down, but they just choked, allowing the Eagles to win on a (bobbled) punt return as time expired.

#4 St Louis Rams vs #5 New Orleans Saints

Do you really think a 6-8 team like the Rams can do anything right in the playoffs, especially over the Saints?

AFC

#1 New England Patriots

The Pats may have won, but that was an abysmal performance, pick-six and OL run-back aside. One interception was negated by a penalty, Tom Brady’s deflections will get picked off if fate keeps getting tempted, and Green Bay could convert 3rd downs at will. Aaron Rodgers was out. If Matt Flynn can do that in New England, the actual best teams in the league (e.g. Atlanta) will be able to finish New England off at that pace.

#2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Despite losing at home to the Jets, Pittsburgh clinched a playoff berth. If they keep pace with Baltimore (both should win out), they’ll end up with a bye, so they shouldn’t have a terrible amount of trouble until New England. But still, they’d better regroup after allowing a weak Jets team to do them in like that.

#3 Kansas City Chiefs vs #6 New York Jets

Kansas City still is the only non-12-2 team to be undefeated at home. With Matt Cassel back, the Chiefs won in St Louis 27-13. The Jets did a good job against Pittsburgh, even getting a safety, but the Chiefs will be ready.

#4 Indianapolis Colts vs #5 Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis won this game last year, but they’re much worse this time around, and Baltimore did put up 30 to beat New Orleans. With Ray Rice picking up, the Ravens may just get their sweet revenge this time around.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Green Bay has the Giants at home, and if both teams play like last week, Green Bay will own the last Wildcard spot.
  • If St Louis’ home problems continue, then the 49ers (after beating the Rams) should take advantage and lead the division (at 6-9).

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