Tuitt would be an intriguing pick for the Pats since he's so versatile, cbssports.com 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame "Pro Wrestling," NES 2013-2014 NBA Expert Picks Results New York Jets Running Back Chris Johnson Jets Sign Running Back Chris Johnson Notre Dame's Troy Niklas (Joe Camporeale, USA Today Sports) 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Troy Niklas

If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 4

Bulls vs Thunder: Week 4's prediction for the NBA Finals

A month into the season, and things are still going roughly for playoff hopefuls such as Boston and Dallas. Teams like the Clippers and 76ers are taking advantage of that. But a lot of powerful teams are still holding sway at the top of the conferences, and they’re continuing to make things tough on everyone else. So what does that all mean for this week’s outlook? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, January 22 at 4:30pm:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Dallas Mavericks

Congratulations to Dallas for winning two in a row, but they’re still struggling to keep pace in the always-tough West, which the Thunder clearly rule right now.

#2 Denver Nuggets vs #7 San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are rapidly slipping, losing their last two games and having just won once on the road so far. Denver is just too good all-around right now.

#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs #6 Los Angeles Lakers

The Clippers are having a heck of a season, but they’re just percentage points ahead of the Lakers. However, the Lakers have only one road win, though that might not matter much with all seven games at the Staples Center. The Clippers did win the first game of the season series, though.

#5 Utah Jazz vs #4 Memphis Grizzlies

Neither team is the best on the road, but both are better at home, and Utah actually has home-court advantage with a better record at the moment. Memphis has won six straight, but Utah is 9-2 in the last 11. This one could very well come down to home-court advantage.

East

#1 Chicago Bulls vs #8 Cleveland Cavaliers

Chicago is insanely good, while Cleveland… not so much. It really won’t be difficult for Chicago.

#2 Orlando Magic vs #7 Boston Celtics

Boston may be in the seeding for now, but that’s only because a conference needs to send eight teams to the playoffs. Their aging corp just can’t hang with good teams like Orlando right now.

#3 Miami Heat vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta has only lost once at home, and is #6 because they’re in the same division with Orlando and Miami. However, Miami is back on track with three straight wins, and still has just one home loss. If the Big Three stays healthy for the series, then Atlanta won’t be able to do anything in the end, but they’ll sure make it tough on Miami.

#5 Indiana Pacers vs #4 Philadelphia 76ers

Like so many other series, both teams are great at home and so-so on the road. In fact, Indiana is 5-0 at home, which doesn’t make things any easier on Philadelphia.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With Boston’s schedule, look for New York to take over their spot on percentage points.
  • With Houston and Portland having good looking schedules, one slip-up by any of the Clippers, Grizzlies, Lakers, Spurs or Mavericks could spell a lost playoff spot. With those odds, a seeding shake-up is likely, as at least one team should lose theirs.

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