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The season’s about half-way over, and we’ve got a few serious contenders, a few who are losing for Luck, and a good portion still fighting within their division for position. This past week has given us a new AFC leader, confirmed enthusiasm for San Francisco and given us a reason to be bearish about New Orleans. Except for San Francisco, no team enjoys a lead in the division greater than two games, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, November 1:
These are the Green Bay Packers. There’s very little, if anything, that can be done to stop them.
San Francisco has been surprisingly good this year. With 107 points allowed this year, they have the league’s best defense. They don’t have the most potent offense, but they do have a very good balance between rushing and passing that can sink about any opponent.
New York has had problems, losing to Seattle and nearly losing to Miami. Chicago has had a rough time of things, but has been able to do quite well against most opponents not from Green Bay or Detroit. With New York not being nearly as strong, Chicago should be able to get through the first round.
New Orleans is a mere 5-3 after a humiliating loss to the previously winless Rams, including just 2-3 in the conference. Detroit got back on track by destroying Tim Tebow in Denver 45-10. If St. Louis can give the Saints trouble, what do you think Suh and Fairley will do?
Pittsburgh defeated New England to claim the top seed in the AFC. Not only that, but they gave Tom Brady and the offense a huge reason to be frustrated, even in the rare moments when Pittsburgh didn’t have the ball. If they can do that, they can do anything.
Buffalo took advantage of New England’s loss to reclaim the division after a blanking of Washington. Their defense once again showed why they deserve to be feared. With everything coming together for Buffalo, they’ll be tough to beat.
Houston is really taking advantage of Peyton Manning’s absence. They’ve greatly improved their defense, and their offense is working even without Andre Johnson. New England has had some issues on the road in Buffalo and Pittsburgh (two hard-hitting teams). If Houston can keep the pressure on Tom Brady (likes to throw deep unnecessarily from time to time, refuses to run), they’ll do well enough with their offense to pull out the victory.
After a tough start, Kansas City has surged ahead with four straight wins. Cincinnati has too, though, and their point differential is almost a perfect reversal of Kansas City’s. Except for a 28-0 drubbing of Oakland, Kansas City’s victories have been by five, four and three points. At this point, Cincy is the more dependable team.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL Playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers