|Connelly’s Top Ten: Comebacks, Championships and Doobie Brothers||Patriots 2014-2015 Position Review: Quarterbacks||Cubs Hire Manny, Youkilis to Try to Become ’04 Red Sox…Literally||Red Sox 2015 Preview: Buchholz, Porcello, Miley, Masterson, Kelly|
It’s now five weeks into the season, and the standings are getting rattled. New England and Seattle have finally lost. Denver, Kansas City and New Orleans continue to dominate. Three AFC North teams are 3-2. The NFC East is led by a sub-.500 team. It’s a very tumultuous time indeed, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, October 8:
New Orleans is the lone unbeaten team left in the NFC, thanks to a very nice win in Chicago. New Orleans’ very potent offense continues to carry them, most notably Jimmy Graham, but also with a plethora of receivers. They’ve also done a fairly decent job on defense this season as well, so with Seattle now beaten, New Orleans becomes the NFC favorite.
Seattle had another close contest against the AFC South, this time dropping a six-point contest in Indianapolis. The last couple of weeks have actually been pretty tough on their defense, but their D is always a big threat to any offense. And with a dynamic quarterback and beastly running back leading the way, they can put up points as well. Teams now know that it is very possible to beat Seattle, but their staunch presence and dangerous home-field advantage will make it exceedingly difficult as well.
Detroit is a very rough team, but we saw in Green Bay what life without Calvin Johnson is like for them. So far, Arizona has lost in St Louis (which was very good in the division last year) and New Orleans (no harm there). However, they did beat Detroit in Week 2. Arizona has the defense to punish Matthew Stafford, and if Calvin Johnson isn’t 100%, Arizona can put an extra effort into stifling Reggie Bush (who also is a little banged up).
Dallas put up 48 points in Week 5… and lost. There still is no shame in losing to Peyton Manning and Denver, though. That could be a good sign for them with San Francisco‘s defense off its high from last season. (Though they did rebound nicely by giving up just three points to Houston in Week 5.) Still, more often than not, it’s been tough for Dallas. San Francisco still has plenty of ability to beat any team out of the NFC (L)East.
Even giving up 48 points, Denver still won. Peyton Manning can’t be counted out; not only does he have many weapons, but he has many quality weapons in particular.
Ending Seattle’s unbeaten streak has inched the Colts into #2. The Colts have been putting up plenty of points and limiting them on the other side. With New England having to work so hard in every game, Indianapolis is in a very good spot in the AFC, for a non-West team.
New England finally dropped a game against Cincinnati when their offense couldn’t get going. Of course, Tom Brady can go off on any play, and not only is Danny Amendola back in the lineup, but reports are surfacing that star tight end Rob Gronkowski could return to game action as early as this Sunday against New Orleans. The good news for the Patriots is the the defense performed very well even without Vince Wilfork. Tennessee has done well to keep up with Indianapolis so far, but they are down their starting quarterback for a few games with hip issues. Look for New England to make it through at least this game.
Kansas City has given up just 58 points through five games; Baltimore has almost doubled that with 110 points surrendered. That’s been showing up in the records so far, with the most important difference being Kansas City has not lost yet. With the way things are going, Kansas City has the definite edge.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL Playoffs, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans