With the NFL football season nearing its regular season end, playoff predictions seem to drop every single week. I decided to look at the current Week 14 standings and make a few predictions of my own, starting with the NFC.
Let’s start with the hapless NFC South. Three years ago this division contained the cream of the crop with both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints fighting for the top spot in the NFC. Now, the Falcons are on top of the division with a dismal 5-7 record.
After a 41-10 drubbing by the Carolina Panthers, the Saints fell to 5-8 and one game out of the playoffs. While not being eliminated from playoff race, the play of the Saints has been anything but that of a division champion. The Falcons still play the Green Bay Packers tomorrow night and a loss would push the team back into a tie with the Saints.
The two teams have a showdown in the Superdome in New Orleans in two weeks, which will essentially decide the division champion. As much as I hate to say it, the Falcons proved they aren’t to be taken lightly after a big win over Arizona Cardinals last week. They come out of New Orleans with a win and the division.
Speaking of the Cardinals, they looked like the best team in the league a month ago. Now, after 2 straight losses, they are just one game ahead of defending Superbowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks at 9-3.
The Seahawks struggled to open the season, dropping three of their first five games, but just as the Cardinals have done a 180, so have the Seahawks. They stand at 8-4 and with the way they are playing and with the schedule the Cardinals have to finish the season, I have no problem picking the Seahawks to win the NFC West for the second straight season.
The NFC East has looked relatively similar to the West this season. The Dallas Cowboys started the season at 6-1 and looked like the best team in the league for the first half of the year. As the Cowboys and Tony Romo seem to do every year, they don’t look they will be able to finish as they have lost three of the last five games and currently sit one game behind the Philadelphia Eagles.
Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ high-powered offense has looked absolutely unstoppable and they have done it with the most unpredictable of quarterbacks: Mark Sanchez. Yes, the same Mark Sanchez that had the infamous “butt fumble” two seasons ago when he was apart of the New York Jets.
There seems to something different about him now and he is the hottest QB in the league on the hottest team in the league. The Eagles carry that momentum into the playoffs as the NFC East Champions.
And now we finish with the NFC North. The aforementioned Packers hold the best record in the NFC right now at 9-3. They seem to be the same Packers team they have always been. Tough defense, great offense, in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
The Detroit Lions have stayed stride for stride with the Packers and currently sit at 9-4. The team finishes the year with a relatively easy schedule. They have the Minnesota Vikings at home next Sunday and then finish on the road against the Chicago Bears and the Packers in a game that will potentially decide the NFC North champion. I think the Lions are able to finish the season on a 5 game win streak and win the division.
FINAL PLAYOFF STANDINGS:
1. Seattle (12-4)
2. Philadelphia (12-4)
3. Detroit (12-4)
4. Atlanta (8-8)
1. Green Bay (12-4)
2. Arizona (10-6)
Green Bay @ Atlanta
Arizona @ Detroit