A F C East
New England has secured the AFC East title and has a chance to earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs if they can run the table, and Houston loses to somebody else besides the Patriots.
The other three teams have mathematical chances of sneaking in as wildcards, but to say they are slim is still overstating those chances by a large margin. Buffalo could rebound to finish 8-8.
A F C North
This race became much more interesting with the Steelers upsetting the Ravens in Baltimore. Now, the Ravens lead is two games and is no longer infallible. We see the second place teams Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both winning their next two games, and they should both be 9-5-0 when they face off at Heinz Stadium in week 16. The winner of that game will be playoff bound, while the loser will need help or be out of the picture.
The winner of that week 16 game could finish tied with Baltimore, but the Ravens hold the tiebreaker edge over both teams.
A F C South
Houston can secure home field advantage for the playoffs if the Texans win at New England and don’t crumble afterwards. We see the Texans losing this week and possibly in week 17 at Indianapolis.
Speaking of the Colts, Andrew Luck and company are in excellent shape in the wildcard race, and with games remaining with Tennessee and Kansas City, we see this team winning at least 10 games. They must face Houston twice in the final three weeks, but we believe they will split those games to lock up a wildcard spot. If they could somehow sweep the Texans, Indy could still emerge as division champs.
A F C West
Denver essentially took over command in this division when they came from behind to beat San Diego. The Chargers collapsed, and the Broncos have run away with the division. We are a bit concerned about their game at Oakland, because the Raiders always have their A-game against the Broncos. If they can top the Raiders, the Broncos can run the table and possibly squeeze into the number two spot or even the top spot in the conference.
N F C East
Hail to the Redskins! Washington has bested its two key division rivals in back-to-back games, and now RGIII and his Capital Punishers look to grab a division title. We think the Redskins and Giants will finished tied for the division lead at 9-7, and if that is so, Washington will win the tiebreaker based on better division record.
The Giants can never be counted out, but they are not hitting on all cylinders. With Atlanta and Baltimore still on the schedule, Eli Manning may not be able to win three more games to clinch a playoff bid.
Dallas looks like a stereotypical 8-8 team. Only if the Giants and Redskins totally collapse will the Cowboys sneak into the playoffs.
N F C North
This division has begun to fade rather than improve as the northern chill takes over in the old Black and Blue Division. Green Bay and Chicago will decide who is the division champ and who is the wildcard when they face off at Lambeau Field in two weeks.
Minnesota still has a remote chance to be a wildcard, but at 6-6, the Vikings must win out. Their final four games include tough road games against Houston and St. Louis, as well as home games against the Bears and Packers. It’s not happening this year.
N F C South
Atlanta almost has home field advantage wrapped up to the Super Bowl. The Falcons own a 2 ½ game lead over San Francisco and could secure the number one seed in two weeks. That would leave Atlanta with two meaningless games, but that week 17 game could be very important.
The Falcons’ week 17 game comes against Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers are fighting for a wildcard spot. The Bucs have a shot at entering that game at 9-6, and then that finale becomes very important. Tampa Bay almost has to be 10-6 to make it as a wildcard.
N F C West
San Francisco may be the best team in the NFC, but the St. Louis Rams believe otherwise. At 8-3-1, the 49ers are almost a lock to win the division, but they cannot be considered an overwhelming favorite to advance to the Super Bowl.
Seattle proved they can win on the road with a key victory in Soldier Field over the Bears. The Seahawks have three remaining home games and a road game against Buffalo. The opportunity is there for Pete Carroll’s team to run the table and possibly steal the division title away from San Francisco, but we believe the Seahawks will lose at least one time and have to settle for the wildcard.
PiRate Playoff Projection
A F C
1. New England
N F C
2. San Francisco
3. Green Bay
Indianapolis at Denver
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Chicago at Green Bay
Seattle at Washington
Pittsburgh at New England
Denver at Houston
Seattle at Atlanta
Green Bay at San Francisco
Denver at New England
San Francisco at Atlanta
New England vs. Atlanta
New England wins Super Bowl
Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings
|New York Giants||105.9||104.7||104.1||103.5||3|
|Green Bay Packers||105.4||103.9||101.8||102.5||2.5|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||102.2||101.5||99.7||101.0||2.5|
|New Orleans Saints||101.5||100.9||100.8||100.5||2.5|
|San Francisco 49ers||108.3||107.1||104.2||106.0||2.5|
|St. Louis Rams||97.8||98.5||98.8||99.5||3.5|
|New England Patriots||111.2||109.4||106.0||107.5||1.5|
|New York Jets||97.9||96.9||96.2||96.0||2|
|San Diego Chargers||98.0||97.4||99.2||97.0||2.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||90.8||91.0||91.1||91.5||2.5|
Here are this week’s PiRate spreads
|Denver||OAKLAND||14.8||13.1||10.1||11.0||10 1/2||49 1/2|
|CLEVELAND||Kansas City||6.8||7.1||8.7||7.5||5 1/2||37 1/2|
|New York Jets||JACKSONVILLE||6.2||4.7||3.8||3.0||2 1/2||38 1/2|
|Atlanta||CAROLINA||9.6||11.1||8.9||13.0||3 1/2||47 1/2|
|12.8||14.7||13.4||17.0||10 1/2||34 1/2|
|GREEN BAY||Detroit||9.4||8.9||5.8||8.5||6 1/2||52|
|NEW ENGLAND||Houston||4.9||2.6||-1.0||0.0||3 1/2||51 1/2|