Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 13, My Fantasy Teams Aren't Hurting

All right, all right, that rhyme wasn't so hot.

But you know what IS hot?  The fact that I will enter the playoffs as the top seed in two out of my three fantasy leagues.  But enough about me.

I think that with the last quarter of the season coming up, it seems appropriate that I make some predictions about the way that I see the NFL playoff picture shaking out, because we all love predictions.  Maybe I'll actually look back at my predictions over the year and compare them to the actual results.  That'll be a good blog entry.

All right, so I'm obviously going to have to do some sort of recap of the week's games, so what I'm going to do is give my projected playoff picture and just talk a little bit about how the team looked this week.

So, without further ado, the NFC:

1. Atlanta Falcons (NFC South champions, 13-3):  Their second road win against a winning team in their division this year (including Week 3 against the Saints), and while on paper they don't look great, they keep winning games and their schedule shapes up pretty well the rest of the way (2 games against the Panthers)
2. Chicago Bears (NFC North champions, 11-5): Not a particularly impressive offensive performance against a poor Lions defense, but just a solid game from Jay Cutler (21-of-26, 234 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) is all this team needs to beat most teams in the league with that defense.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East champions, 11-5): Finally a good fourth quarter from this team as they were able to come back and pull away from the Texans.  Lesean McCoy looks ridiculously good, and finally Brent Celek gets back into the swing of things (4 rec, 55 yds).
4. St. Louis Rams (NFC West champions, sadly, 8-8): When you're trying to claw your way into the playoffs, you have to beat the bad teams.  Arizona is a bad team.  Steven Jackson is still a man among boys, putting up another 100-yard effort, and Sam Bradford is the runaway Rookie of the Year.
5. New Orleans Saints (NFC South runner-up, 11-5): This win was all about the Bengals' neutral zone infraction inside the ten yard line that created the winning touchdown, but the Saints have to like the way they're running the ball now with Chris Ivory (and Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas making their way back).
6. Green Bay Packers (NFC North runner-up, 10-6): James Starks comes from out of nowhere to give the Packers a running game all of a sudden.  Sounds kinda like Ryan Grant at the end of 2007, right?  Greg Jennings and Donald Driver both have big touchdowns where the 49ers defense just fails to tackle.  In other news, nice uniforms.

First team out: New York Giants, 10-6

And now for the AFC:

1. New England Patriots (AFC East champions, 12-4): Now this game hasn't concluded yet, but I think that a 28 point lead with a quarter left is a lock.  Their defense has improved as the season has progressed, and Tom Brady looks really effective with his little flashback-to-2003 offense.  Tough next couple games against the Bears and Packers, but they have a leg up on the Steelers and Jets with tiebreakers.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC North champions, 12-4): Ben Roethlisberger doesn't really need a healthy nose, right?  I think that if Rashard Mendenhall can give this team balance and Mike Wallace can put up more games like this (5 rec, 76 yds), they can ride this Ravens win to a division title.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West champions, 11-5): They were the 5th-worst team in the league last year.  Just saying.  Now Dwayne Bowe looked more like Dwayne Bowe this week, catching no passes, but the way that they run the ball with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones and an above-average defense can get them through a pretty soft last four games.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South champions, 9-7): I honestly have no idea what's going to happen in this division since all of the teams are within 2 games of one another, but they have the lead going in, so I'm going with them.  Maurice Jones-Drew has at least 100 yards in each of his last five games, and David Garrard is doing a little bit more running, which is a part of his game he was using a couple years ago when they were good.  I do see the Colts putting up a fight, though.
5. New York Jets (AFC East runner-up, 11-5): Since I wrote the Patriots blurb, they've increased the deficit to 35, but it's just one game, and they can weather the storm (I think).  It's all about how well Mark Sanchez plays, because 11-for-23, 117 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT is not going to cut it against the league's worst pass defense.  But they can run the ball and (I think) play defense, and that will win you some games.
6. Baltimore Ravens (AFC North runner-up, 10-6): A rough game against the Steelers is no indictment, but that lame duck of a pass by Flacco on fourth down was inexcusable.  I think that they just have too many quality skill players (Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, etc.) and too much talent in their defensive front to not make the playoffs.

First team out: San Diego Chargers, 9-7

Also, just check out this comparison.

Which one has the broken nose?

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