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Coming up on Thanksgiving, the Lions will actually have a meaningful game. Both conferences are still in heated races for seeding, with the AFC turning upside down week by week. The Packers and 49ers are still the best of the best, but other teams are on the rise, too. Much has been made lately of New England’s easy schedule the rest of the way. And there are a lot of new quarterback situations to work out; Chicago and Houston need a veteran to help with the playoff push, and while Arizona is all but mathematically out, they have some decisions to make regarding their future quarterback. With such a large amount of upheaval in the NFL, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, November 22:
Tampa gave them a good run, but once again Green Bay did what they do best: score.
San Francisco put up another great defensive performance against Arizona, and showed that they can edge you out with field goals at any distance. If you can’t get several touchdowns against the ’9ers, then you won’t win.
New Orleans has a beast of an offense, easily behind only Green Bay. They may not have as prolific a defense as Chicago, but with Jay Cutler now out, the Bears don’t have a good chance at all to keep pace with Drew Brees.
Dallas and Detroit are both known for their defenses, though Detroit has the better offense, led by Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Most recently, Dallas barely edged out Washington, who has the league’s longest active non-Indianapolis losing streak. Detroit let Cam Newton rattle off 35 points, but once again overcame adversity with a three-possession deficit erased once again. Dallas may be good enough to win the NFC East, but Tony Romo doesn’t quite have the options Matthew Stafford does.
New England started very poorly against Kansas City, but then turned up the heat. They have a good offense and easy schedule, but we’ve seen in the playoffs what happens when a good team comes to Gillette.
Any team that can give Pittsburgh fits is a team to be reckoned with. Balitmore‘s defense is third in the league, and they’re unbeaten at home, the only AFC team that can make that claim. Especially considering recent history against New England, Baltimore could easily represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati is still doing well despite two straight losses; they did take Baltimore to the wire in Maryland. Houston has won four straight, but they’re out Matt Schaub, and have to either bring in a proven quarterback or go with Matt Leinart. Remember Leinart’s blowup at a press conference that led to his Arizona demise? He’ll very likely do the same to Houston.
Oakland in the playoffs? With that weak division, it’s a real possibility. Pittsburgh has more than enough power on both ends of the field to take advantage of that. A -19 point differential doesn’t bode well for Oakland in the playoffs, either.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL Playoffs, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers