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Just over a month remains in the season, and plenty of teams are still fighting for position. The Colts are definitely getting Andrew Luck, but the wild cards and many divisions (as well as most of the byes) are still very much within reach. All of a sudden, San Francisco’s first round bye isn’t so secure, and four AFC teams from three divisions are at 8-3. Anything can and will happen in the last five weeks of the season, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs happened as of Tuesday, November 29:
Green Bay beat down Detroit quite nicely on Turkey Day. They’re just getting things done every which way.
San Francisco lost the battle of the Harbaughs, but they still only allowed 16 points to Baltimore. The 49ers are still as good as ever, and their magic number to clinch the division is down to one, by the way.
Both teams are riding winning streaks, though New Orleans did thoroughly destroy the Giants Monday. And they did already win in Atlanta. With 362 points to 259 on the season, New Orleans is simply the more explosive team.
Both teams are identical as far as the home/away stats go. Dallas has won four in a row, while Chicago just ended a five-gamer. But with both teams noticeably better at home, and Chicago down a starting quarterback, Dallas has the edge.
An extra conference win has the Texans at #1. They’re doing well enough, but after losing Matt Schaub, they lost Matt Leinart too. The Texans shouldn’t be able to keep pace with their offense dwindling like this.
New England has a very dangerous offense that will get a lot of practice against some easy foes from here on out. Ditto for their terribly porous defense, which does allow a lot of yardage, but just 223 points so far. As long as New England realizes this year that the playoffs are sudden death, they can go far. At least until they come up against just as prolific an offense as themselves.
Pittsburgh has really only had trouble with Baltimore this season, and Oakland may be 7-4, but they still have a -14 point differential. In fact, every team in the AFC West has a negative differential. With Pittsburgh’s offense and defense going the way they do, and considering Oakland is a better road team, Pittsburgh should move on pretty easily.
Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL Playoffs, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers