Most teams in the NFL now have 7 or 8 games to go left in the season. That’s enough time to put together a good winning streak and win a playoff berth, or it’s also enough time for a team to fall flat on its face and miss out on the playoffs. There have already been teams that have fallen off after beginning the season very well, like the Cardinals and Vikings. There have also been teams like the Lions or Saints that have put together a string of wins to re-enter the playoff race. So, who will make the playoffs? This is what I see happening.
1. Houston Texans (Projected Record: 12-4) – After the injuries to Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb, the Texans are in prime position to claim the top berth in all of the AFC. Their perfect combination of offense and defense makes them a Super Bowl contender for years to come.
2. New England Patriots (Projected Record: 11-5) – After a disappointing start to the season, the Patriots seem to be dominant again, leaving them in place to get the other first round bye.
3. Denver Broncos (Projected Record: 11-5) – Peyton Manning has turned the Broncos into a Super Bowl team halfway through the season. However, the Broncos defense needs to improve if they really want a shot.
4. Baltimore Ravens (Projected Record: 10-6) – Injuries have plagued this team early, but I still expect Flacco to show up and get the Ravens to the AFC North title.
5. San Diego Chargers (Projected Record: 9-7) – Maybe I’m crazy, but I still think the Chargers are a playoff team. They are inconsistent, but I think Mr. December (Phllip Rivers) will lead the Charger to a wild card spot.
6. Miami Dolphins (Projected Record: 9-7) – The Dolphins have been a huge surprise in the AFC and thanks to tiebreakers, the Dolphins win the wild card spot.
Wild Card Round:
(6) Miami Dolphins at (3) Denver Broncos – Rookie Ryan Tannehill plays in his first playoff game and can’t handle the pressure as he throws 3 INTs and Peyton has a great game. Winner: Broncos
(5) San Diego Chargers at (4) Baltimore Ravens – Phillip Rivers has a great game as the Chargers upset the Ravens in Baltimore and Norv Turner saves his job as head coach. Winner: Chargers
(3) Denver Broncos at (2) New England Patriots – Another epic battle between Hall of Fame QBs Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. This time, Manning pulls through and gets back to the AFC Championship. Winner: Broncos
(5) San Diego Chargers at (1) Houston Texans – The Texans RBs have fun against a battered Chargers D and get the win and advance to the AFC Championship. Winner: Texans
(3) Denver Broncos at (1) Houston Texans – Peyton Manning gets revenge of a 31-25 loss back in September with a classic AFC Championship game. Winner: Broncos
1. Atlanta Falcons (Projected Record: 14-2) – The Falcons have been blessed with a very soft schedule and will no doubt be the #1 seed in the NFC.
2. Chicago Bears (Projected Record: 12-4) – Jay Cutler and the Bears offense need to get on the same page if they want to win it all this year.
3. San Francisco 49ers (Projected Record: 11-5) – Alex Smith needs to be a little more consistent with his mechanics if he wants to get back to the NFC Championship this year.
4. New York Giants (Projected Record: 10-6) – The Giants difficult schedule will hinder their chances at a higher playoff berth, but they will still win the NFC East.
5. Green Bay Packers (11-5) – Rodgers and the Packers miss out on the NFC North title, but they still make the wild card with a 11-5 record.
6. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – Pete Carrol has finally got it right in Seattle as they stroll along to a 10-6 record with rookie QB Russell Wilson.
Wild Card Round:
(6) Seattle Seahawks at (3) San Francisco 49ers – After getting swept in the regular season, the Seahawks find a way to beat the 49ers in a battle of powerful running games. Winner: Seahawks
(5) Green Bay Packers at (4) New York Giants – What a game this would be. Two elite quarterbacks going head to head. Eli has the better game, but like last year, the road team gets the victory. Winner: Packers
(5) Green Bay Packers at (2) Chicago Bears – The Packers get after Cutler and sack him 8 times in a dominant Packers victory. Winner: Packers
(6) Seattle Seahawks at (1) Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan and the Falcons will be focused and ready to go for this game as they finally win a playoff game. Winner: Falcons
(5) Green Bay Packers at (1) Atlanta Falcons – Rodgers goes down the field with one minute left to win the game and gets back to the Super Bowl. Winner: Packers
Super Bowl 47
Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers – A great Super Bowl between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Peyton Manning and the Broncos start off strong and enter halftime with a ten point lead, but the Packers make a great comeback and win the game 31-28 as Peyton Manning throws an incompletion on 4th down on the Broncos 40 yard line. Winner: Packers
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