Wednesday, December 28, 2005

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

THE NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

PART I; THE NFC


Let me tell you a little something; if the "Playoff Picture" were really a "picture," it'd look something like a Picasso or Jackson Pollack! Oh sure, anyone can tell you that the 13-2 Seahawks ran away with the NFC crown as the next closest team, believe it or not, would be the suddenly dangerous 11-4 Bears. As for the AFC? Any casual fan can impart this gem of wisdom; "the Colts, having had a dream season and nearly going undefeated, are the class of the division." But given the tragedy that has recently befallen Indianapolis's Football family (the apparent suicide of coach Dungy’s teenage son, James) coupled with a pair of dropped games, the Denver Broncos are now neck and neck with the Colts.

Let's take a closer look at the Playoff Picture as it stands prior to the weekend, shall we?

NFC WHO'S IN?

1. Seattle Seahawks: A 13-2 record overall, a 6-0 Divvy' record, and a 10-1 Conference record ensures a Bye week AND Homefield advantage throughout. This just in.... the Seahawks are for real! 'Beck and the boys wrap the reg' at Green Bay- should be a relative cake-walk.

2. Chicago Bears: If you believe in young Signal Caller Rex Grossman, the Bears are now balanced on both sides of the ball and are more lethal than ever. Red in tooth and claw, the grizzled Bears rode their Defense to victory and locked the Division with an 11-4 record. In addition, Chi-Town mowed down the comp' as they rolled undefeated through the Divvy (5-0), and stumbled but once within the Conference (10-1). With a final tilt remaining at Minny'... look for QB Sexy Rexy Grossman, WR "Moose" Muhammed, RB Thomas "The Animal" Jones, and the new "Monsters of the Midway" to maul the Vikings in a Post-C' tune-up.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccs' harrrummmph! Their 10-5 record mirrors that of New York, but with a 4-1 Divisional record and an 8-3 Conference record, Tampa bests New York by one game in each and thereby earns the 3-seed. T-Bay beats 10-5 Carolina for the NFC South by virtue of their Divvy' record ('Lina is 3-2 within the Division whereas the Buccs are 4-1), and with their final opponent being a ghastly-bad, 3-12 New Orleans 'Aints squad... the Buccs' are sitting pretty!

4. New York Giants: Due to an 8-4 Conference record, "Big Blue" secures a Playoff berth over the Panthers and their 7-4 Conference record. Hey… that's the way the funny shaped ball bounces! Anyway, this week the G-Men lace 'em up against a hapless 4-11 Oakland squad and their QB, Kerry Collins. You remember him... he used to lace 'em up for these same Giants. As the "better" NY team has already booked reservations for the post-season... the only intrigue this game holds is whether or not the Jints' look to tattoo Collins. If Head Coach Tom Coughlin's smart (and frankly, we've seen nothing to indicate that he really is), he'll look to bolster the Secondary any way he can, and find a way to better protect franchise Field General Eli Manning.

5. Carolina Panthers: The Panthers currently have the Wild Card clutched tightly between their paws. They face-off against the disappointing Not-Lanta Falcons this week, and the Cats’ will clinch their Post-Season berth with a win or (snicker, snicker) tie. Eager to play spoiler, look for the Falcs’ to come out swingin’.
Yet, alas, here’s where it gets REALLY tricky.
The Panthers can also make Post-C’ reservations;
A. With a Dallas loss or tie.
B. With a Washington loss or tie.
C. Can CLINCH THE NFC SOUTH with a win coupled with a Buc’ loss or tie…. OR, a tie and a Buc’ loss. … ‘Kay, got it?

THE NFC'S WEEK 17 RAMIFICATIONS!

NFC EAST:
1. **NY Giants: While the G-Men have already clinched a spot, Tom Coughlin's crew can win the Division by beating Oakland this week... or having the game end in a tie. Hey, when was the last time YOU can remember a game ending in a tie? “Big Blue” can also take the NFC b'East banner if the Redskins lose or tie.

2. Washington Redskins: Those nutty 9-6 Washingtonians boast better Divisional AND Conference records, therefore they hold “Head to Head” tie-breakers over Dallas and they can clinch a spot with a win over the really bad Philadelphia Eagles. Or...
1. A Dallas Cowboy loss (talk about a real Cowboy and Indian rivalry!).
2. The ridiculously improbable, Earth will sooner come to a complete stand-still; both Washington AND Dallas’s games end in a tie. What’s the likelihood of such a remarkable confluence? Put it this way, I will sooner be struck unconscious by a falling sack of hundred dollar bills.

3. Dallas Cowboys: Just as a little aside, retirement rumors are already swirling around “happy go-lucky” coach Bill Parcells’ ample waist. The smack is, “The Big Tuna” has become disenchanted, dismayed, and disgusted… and "dis' is no surprise” given his teams’ talent and level of play.
But as for our concerns, much like their Divvy’ rival Redskins the ‘Pokes also sport a 9-6 record. Alas, that’s where the similarity ends. ‘Boys will be ‘Boys, and with a 3-3 Divisional record this bunch goofed off against their fellow NFC Easterners. Thus… ergo… and therefore, the only way the ‘Pokes play Post-Season Football is with help.
Dallas knocks helmets with the aimless Rams this weekend, and they can clinch a seat at the Post-C’ table with;
A. A win and a Washington loss or tie.
B. A win and a Carolina loss.
C. This one’s fun! I practically needed an Abacus to calculate it:
A win, a T-Bay loss, a Giant loss, and a “Strength of Victory” tie-breaker by the “G-Men” and “Big D” over Tampa Bay. Talk about needing some help!

And that, my fantasy friends, is the NFC Playoff Picture as it stands today, Wednesday!

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