The Bottom Eight and the Playoff Race

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Who will get the Wild Card, or as the Spanish say los salvaje-tarjeta, and have a chance to make a splash in the Playoffs?  Well, here’s my guess, which is, as the saying goes, as good as yours…

AFC

Conference Leaders – New England (12-0), Indianapolis(10-2), Pittsburgh(9-3), San Diego(7-5)

Wild Card Contenders – Jacksonville(8-4), Tennessee(7-5), Cleveland(7-5), Buffalo (6-6)

The Monkey’s Thoughts – All the division leaders are in a position to salt away their playoff spots over the next couple weeks, and all of them should.  So who will get the wildcards?  Jacksonville will likely get the first, but who will fill the second spot?

The Titans schedule features the Chargers and the Colts, but in between face the Chiefs and the Jets.  Probably they finish at 9-7.

Cleveland??  Jets, Bills, Bengals, and Niners round out their schedule, and they could go 3-1, maybe 4-0 to finish.  Let’s stick with 3-1, so the Browns finish at 10-6.

Now the outlyer.  The Buffalo Bills.  Still in it mathematically at 6-6, they have the Dolphins, Browns, Giants and Eagles.  Personally, I’d like to see them run the table, maybe they go 3-1 to finish at 9-7 or 10-6 and challenge Cleveland for that second spot.  The game that could be the deciding factor is Buffalo at the Browns next week. I’d give em 1:5 odds.

NFC

Division Leaders – Dallas (11-1), Green Bay (10-2), Tampa Bay (8-4), Seattle (8-4)

Wild Card Contenders – NY Giants (8-4), Minnesota (6-6), Detroit (6-6), Arizona (6-6)

The Monkey’s Thoughts – Unless the Giants decide they want a  new head coach and tank they’ll make the playoffs.  Even IF they tank, they’ll probably make the playoffs.  Which leaves one spot for Minny, Detroit and Arizona.  So who’s the odd man in?  Let’s just say its not Detroit, losers of 4 straight, which leaves Minnesota and Arizona, both sitting pretty at .500

The next two games will be telling for for the Cardinals, who’ll face the Seahawks and Saints.  If they steal the first, and win the second like they should, Arizona could be looking at 10-6 as their final two are against Atlanta and St. Louis.  I’ll be conservative and have them at 9-7 at season’s end.

Minnesota is more of an enigma at this point.  Reading their schedule is difficult, They have the Bears and ‘Skins at home sandwiched between away dates at San Francisco and Denver.  I don’t have a good feeling about a 3-1 finish for the Vikings, 2-2 is more likely, which would be an 8-8 finish.  Sorry guys, but I gotta think that Arizona gets the final spot.

 The Darren McFadden Sweepstakes!
32. Miami (0-12) – What happens when old, meets injuries, meets a complete lack of motivation?  Your 2007 Miami Dolphins.  If they don’t pick McFadden, who will?  New England at 2?  The Jets at 3?  This team couldn’t pick a better year to go defeated.

31. San Fran (3-9) New England (12-0) – Thanks to San Fran’s offensive incompetence the New England Patriots will be sitting pretty on draft day.  Will they pick here in the top 5, or trade down to avoid the huge contract that a top 5 pick commands??  Can the ‘Niners win a few more this year?  With games against the Vikings, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Browns, they’d be lucky to go  1-3 to end the year.
30. Atlanta (3-9) – Saints, Bucs, Cards, and Seahawks remain on the schedule for Atlanta, who are in desperate need of a Quarterback, as the experiments with felons, pretty boys and fatasses have failed.  Who will they pick, and will he end up in federal court?

29. NY Jets (3-9) – Maybe the Jets get win #4 on week 17 versus the Chiefs, maybe they lose out, I don’t know, I’m not a psychic.  But I do have an opinion about the Jets, and its not a very high one.  Wherever they pick, and it’ll be top 5, it should be either on a QB or on defense.
28. Oakland (4-8) – Well, drafting the franchise QB last year hasn’t helped, but the good news about the bad news is that the Raiders are bad enough to be drafting high again this year.  Plus they have the toughest schedule in the league over these next 4 week.  They may want to draft someone to bolster the defense.  Or the offense.  Or maybe just someone good.

27. St.Louis (3-9) – A tough season for the Rams this year, that’s for sure.  Steven Jackson suffered a season destroying injury that put his team out of contention a month and a half earlier than would have happened if Jackson had been on the roster for all 12 games so far.  Which is truly a blessing in disguise, because the Rams could use a QB not named Bulger.

26. Kansas City (4-8) – I really want to blame Herm for this one, but maybe the absence of Larry Johnson is the problem.  The Chiefs just have so many holes to fill, from defensive back, to wide reciever, to quarterback, to … well I hope I’ve made my point.

25. (tie) Cincinatti (4-8) /Baltimore (4-8) – One of these teams will be drafting in the top eight, the other?  at number nine.  One has an above-average offense that can’t carry the whole team, the other has an above average defense that can’t carry Steve McNair.

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