It's been a hectic week for me, both work and school-wise. Hence, I did not have the same amount of time to devote to the blog. So you could look at this week's installment of APC's Premature Playoff Preview one of two ways.
- It's awesomely awesome; combining both conferences into one post? I can barely contain my excitement.
- Lame; you totally copped out, skimped on the details, and put in barely any effort.
If you chose option 1, then thank you for falling for the trap. If you chose option 2, then shut up and enjoy it anyway. Rankings for both the NFC and AFC after the jump:
First off, here's the NFC, ranked by their likelihood of making the playoffs based on record, remaining schedule, and overall performance. Starting at the top...
1. New York Giants (9-1) (last week: 1) - They're still the best of the bunch. Three running backs that average close to or over 5.0 ypc, a nasty defense that gets after the passer, and Eli Manning is slowly evolving away from being Eli Manning.
2. Arizona Cardinals (7-3) (last week: 2) - The NFC West is two big steaming piles of blech, but Kurt Warner is really playing at an MVP level.
3. Carolina Panthers (8-2) (last week: 4) - They've finally opened up a lead over division rivals Tampa Bay (7-3) and Atlanta (6-4). Combined with their RB duo of Williams and Stewart, they're set up quite well for the postseason.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) (last week: 5) - They're one game back from the division leading Panthers, but there are three 6-4 teams breathing down their necks. The Earnest Graham injury hurts them, too.
5. Washington Redskins (6-4) (last week: 3) - The tough loss to Dallas and Portis' nagging knee injury could be a sign of a second-half decline.
6. Dallas Cowboys (6-4) (last week: 9) - Tony Romo has returned, but they're not nearly as impressive as they were in week 4. It doesn't help that they only have a point differential of one (230 points scored, 229 points against).
7. Green Bay Packers (5-5) (last week: 11) - Ryan Grant looks like himself again, and the win over Chicago and Minnesota's loss to Tampa give Green Bay a slight edge in the division. If the running game continues to improve, so will the Packers' ranking.
8. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) (last week: 6) - Matt Ryan actually looked like a rookie in Atlanta's loss to Denver. Upcoming games against Carolina, San Diego, and New Orleans will go a long way in deciding their playoff fate.
9. Minnesota Vikings (5-5) (last week: 8) - Maybe if the Williams Wall avoids suspension (which is a toss-up at this point), Childress actually lets Adrian Peterson run the ball in the 4th quarter, and Gus Frerotte stops sucking, then the Vikings can make a run. But they're in a considerable hole.
10. Chicago Bears (5-5) (last week: 7) - They just got routed by the Packers and gave up first place in the process. Kyle Orton looked statuesque and the defense looked overwhelmed. Trouble's a-brewin in the Windy City.
11. New Orleans Saints (5-5) (last week: 12) - Last place in a tough division is a tough spot to be in, even at .500.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4-1) (last week: 10) - Last place in a tough division is a tough spot to be in, but it's bad to end a game against Cincinnati, and it's even worse when your starting quarterback didn't know they had ties.
Officially removed from consideration due to dangerous amounts of suck: Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit.
If the playoffs started today, here's how the NFC looks. Any questions? Consult the tiebreaking procedures:
Division - Team [seed (last week) - ranking by record(last week)]
NFC East - New York Giants [1(1) - 1(1)]
NFC West - Arizona Cardinals [3(3) - 3(3)]
NFC North - Green Bay Packers [4(unranked) - 6(unranked)]
NFC South - Carolina Panthers [2(2) - 2(2)]
Wild Card - Tampa Bay Buccaneers [5(5) - 4(5)]Wild Card - Washington Redskins [6(6) - 5(4)]
And now, here's the AFC, ranked by their likelihood of making the playoffs based on record, remaining schedule, and overall performance. Starting at the top...
1. Tennessee Titans (11-0) (last week: 1) - Very little left to say...
Although, it is somewhat concerning how Chicago and Jacksonville have limited Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Kerry Collins has carried the team for two straight weeks, but can he do it for the duration?
2. New York Jets (7-3) (last week: 5) - I know, I know. You don't need to remind me. But I still don't trust them. Favre continues to play at a high level and he seems as excited as ever.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (last week: 3) - Their inability to cover the spread against San Diego is laughable. (Wait, what happened at the end of this game?) Maybe Willie Parker is back, maybe he isn't, but he certainly looked back against the Chargers.
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-4) (last week: 6) - If I was wrong about the Jets and I was wrong about the Chargers, please let me at least be right about the Colts. Peyton Manning has quietly passed for 17 TD's already this year, good for 6th in the league. Oh, and he's only been sacked 11 times this year. And Joseph Addai is healthy. I'm riding this Colts bandwagon as far as it'll take me.
5. Denver Broncos (6-4) (last week: 8) - A two-game lead over a second place team that's floundering as much as San Diego is good enough for me to put you in my top 5. But I still trust them less than I trust The Todd to treat my sister with respect.
I hope her defense against his inappropriate advances is better than the Broncos defense against anybody's advances.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6-4) (last week: 4) - They looked positively terrible against the NFC's best team. Which isn't bad, but it's not something that helps you get in the playoffs. And they're now tied with the Dolphins, Patriots, Broncos and Colts for two Wild Card spots. Baltimore, be worried.
7. Miami Dolphins (6-4) (last week: 9) - Miami sucks far less then they were supposed to. They're on a 4-game streak, and Chad Pennington and Joey Porter might have something to do with that. But they need to stop it with the 2 point wins over bad teams.
8. New England Patriots (6-4) (last week: 2) - You don't get to ruin my anti-Jets sentiment without being punished. Oh yeah, and Adalius Thomas is done for the season. No bueno.
9. Buffalo Bills (5-5) (last week: 10) - The Bills continue their national tour of suck after starting 4-0. They're last in the AFC East, too.
10. San Diego Chargers (4-6) (last week: 7) - How can Philip Rivers be leading so many statistical categories (including 21 touchdowns!) and the Chargers be so bad? Oh, right, their defense is terrible. But, they are only two games behind the Broncos. Hope springs eternal.
Officially removed from consideration due to dangerous amounts of suck: Oakland, Kansas City, Cincinnatti, Houston, Cleveland, Jacksonville.
If the playoffs started today, here's how the AFC looks. Any questions? Consult the tiebreaking procedures:
Division - Team [seed (last week) - ranking by record(last week)]
AFC East - New York Jets [3(6) - 3(5)]
AFC West - Denver Broncos [4(4) - 4(6)]
AFC North - Pittsburgh Steelers [2(2) - 2(2)]
AFC South - Tennessee Titans [1(1) - 1(1)]
Wild Card - Indianapolis Colts [5(unranked) - 5(unranked)]
Wild Card - Baltimore Ravens [6(5) - 6(4)]