|Connelly’s Top Ten: Raiders are Losers, Red Sox are Losers, Philly in ’76||Video: Gatorade Says Farewell to Derek Jeter in Ad||Why Watch the Red Sox? David Ortiz Poised to Top the Record Books||Chiarelli Acknowledges He May Not be Able to “Keep the Band Together”|
After Week 5, there have been plenty of highlights. The Saints finally won. The Cardinals finally lost. The AFC North is once again a power division. All NFC West teams are somehow above .500. Everyone except the Browns has won. Everyone except the Texans and Falcons has lost. The standings are undergoing changes, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, October 9:
Atlanta looks nearly unbeatable right now, despite some close games. Their two closest victories have been at home, but those were to some good offenses. Having won three one-possession games already, Atlanta knows how to win close. And trying to go for a blowout win against this team will likely lead to multiple mistakes.
The Vikings are a big surprise team this season at 4-1, already having a victory against San Francisco under their belt. Their defense has been excellent this year, and they’re 3-0 at home. And they’re still relatively under the radar, which only helps their chances more.
The Cardinals‘ first loss was a 17-3 performance in St. Louis, while San Francisco put up 45 points against Buffalo. With San Francisco’s league-leading defense and Arizona’s unstable quarterback situation, look for San Francisco to come through on the road.
The Texans have quickly become the class of the AFC. Excellent on both sides of the ball, Baltimore may be their biggest threat in the AFC, and the Ravens are known for being best at home.
The Ravens, after some great offensive performances, showed they can win defensive battles (9-6 in Kansas City). The Ravens are continuing this year where they left off last year, proving they can hang with any team no matter how the game is played.
Pittsburgh may be .500, but their only tough-to-swallow loss was against 1-3 Oakland. The Chargers aren’t perfect, but they have been able to reclaim competitiveness in the AFC West. But Pittsburgh is unbeaten at home and winless on the road. This looks like it could be one of those games determined by who has the ball last.
Cincinnati is a good team at 3-2, but they struggle with defense at times, which should be a hint as to what the Pats can do to them. And they were destroyed in Baltimore in Week 1. On the big stage against teams that can completely dominate at least one side of the ball, Cincinnati doesn’t exactly fare too well.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, NFL Playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers