With a game coming up tomorrow night, I’d better getting the rankings up before they change. And another quick look at the playoff picture.
The Packers, unsurprisingly, are still number 1 in the rankings. Houston is number 2, but are perhaps primed for a fall with Schaub getting injured. The Saints, Patriots, and 49ers round out the top 5. Despite managing to lose to the Seahawks, the Ravens are still number 6. And I have to check in on the Lions: they come in at 11.
And now the season predictions. I haven’t mentioned who’s been lucky in a while. The answer is the Packers; even the best team is expected to lose once or twice. The same goes for the 49ers, who have racked up most of their wins even before playing their divisional games. I also have the Steelers and Giants as being relatively lucky. On the other side are the Colts (even really bad teams should win sometimes), Panthers, Cardinals, and Eagles.
How about the playoffs? The Pats have a clear path to the AFC East as far as I can tell, as do the Texans in the South (at least until we see how they respond without Schaub). The Steelers have the edge in the North but the Ravens and Bengals aren’t far behind. Oakland has the edge in the West. Right now it kind of looks like the North might send three teams to the playoffs, but the Bills might get in there. The Packers obviously have control of the NFC North and the 49ers the West; the South looks like it belongs to the Saints and the East belongs to either the Cowboys or Giants. The wild card is messy, with the non-winner of the East, the Lions, the Bears, and the Falcons all looking reasonable.
That makes the important games this week Lions-Panthers (Detroit needs to win their non-Packers games, and Stafford is banged up), Bills-Dolphins (Buffalo needs a win to stay in the hunt and get back on track), Raiders-Vikings (for Oakland to grab control in the West), Cowboys-Redskins (Dallas needs divisional tie-breakers), Bengals-Ravens (a second big divisional game for Cincy), Titans-Falcons (for Tennessee to have any shot at the playoffs, and for the Falcons to get a wild card), Chargers-Bears (SD can still fight to a division winner and the Bears need to stay in the wild card), and Eagles-Giants (Philly will be completely dead with a loss, and Vick is hurt). That’s a lot of meaningful games, so hopefully they’re good games to boot.