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Two unbeaten teams remain, looking to be on a collision course for the Super Bowl. And the Colts have become the first team to guarantee themselves a playoff spot. As always, the wildcard spots are still very much up for grabs and are the most interesting race; six teams in the AFC alone are not in the playoffs but are at most one game out. And interestingly enough, the Cardinals are leading their division by two games despite having a losing home record. With only five weeks left, and eleven spots left for the taking, who will step up during the final stretch? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, November 30 at 11:45pm:
As usual, the Saints look to impress, having come off an impressive performance against the New England Patriots Monday. Having won, the Saints made this the first time ever two NFL teams have started 11-0-0 in the same season. And having forced Tom Brady out of the game (due to a crushing defeat) late in the 4th quarter, the Saints are commanding a lot of respect in the NFL.
Minnesota staked their claim as well, trouncing the Bears Sunday. Aside from the ending to the Steelers game, Minnesota has been just as impressive as the Saints. This could make for a very interesting showdown in the NFC Championship Game.
On Thanksgiving, both teams dominated (as they should have). The Cowboys continued to impress against the Raiders while the Packers went into the Silverdome and crushed the Lions (who hasn’t?) But the Packers do have that win against Dallas earlier in the season, so we’ll see how they fare in Dallas this time.
A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game, the Eagles will look for revenge despite injuries. The Cardinals have the only losing home record amongst playoff teams. Something has to give, and if the Eagles can put some heart into it, it might just be the Cardinals.
After getting trampled by the Texans in the first half, the Colts returned the favor double in the second, to get the one-possession win. For an unbeaten team, the Colts have sure had a lot of one possession wins. If it won’t catch up to them now, then the Saints will be happy to oblige.
The surprising Bengals continue to cling desperately to a tiebreaker hold on a first round bye. They defeated Cleveland to get a rare divisional sweep, but only 16 points against a team like the Browns? If they expect to play with Indianapolis or San Diego, they’ll have to do better than that.
The Chargers scored a Week 12 high 43 points against the Chiefs to push their winning streak to six games. The Jaguars were held to a simple field goal against the 49ers. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Chargers will take this one?
Come on, Pats, what was that? Once again, the Patriots allowed a good team to get the better of them. And a 38-17 destruction, no less. Meanwhile, the Broncos snapped their skid against the Giants on Thanksgiving, to pull even with the Pats. The stadium may be different, but Denver should give New England the same trouble they handed out earlier in the season.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, NFL Playoffs, Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers