I spent the bulk of the morning familiarizing myself with the various scenarios of Week 17 and I gotta tell you … today has a playoff feel to it. So many scenarios are still playing out, and the day ends with a “win and you’re in; loser goes home” game in Tennessee. The NFL is, indeed, king.
Here’s how I see the important games sorting out today. I’ll start with mine.
Rams will beat the 49ers. Bold prediction, huh? With that victory the Rams will secure the #2 seed in the NFC and get next week off to heal Gurley’s knee. We’ll need to win, because if we lose and Chicago beats Minnesota then the Bears get that coveted second seed and the Rams host a Wildcard game next week. That’s my second prediction, anyway: the Bears beat the Vikings. The other game that matters in the NFC is the Eagles and Redskins, because if the Bears win and the Redskins win then the Vikings get the last playoff spot. That won’t happen. Those world champion Eagles sneak into the playoffs with a Week 17 victory and the seeding looks like this:
- New Orleans Saints – already tied this spot up; should rest the fellas.
- Los Angeles Rams – gotta play to win, all hands on deck.
- Chicago Bears – nobody wants to meet that defense in Illinois in January.
- Dallas Cowboys – win or lose, they are the 4th seed. Playoff game in Dallas next week.
- Seattle Seahawks – this is the “here we go again” team in the NFC. Dangerous matchup.
- Philadelphia Eagles – as John Madden used to say, “you are the champs until you’re not.”
The Wildcard round will feature the Seahawks going to Dallas and the Eagles going to Chicago. Road team and home team win, respectively. That means the Seahawks go to New Orleans the following week and my Rams have to find a way to beat the Bears at home.
Now the AFC. The Chiefs, first off, will beat the Raiders and lock up the #1 seed. Given. The Patriots will likewise handle the Jets and be the #2. The Texans will handle Jacksonville and be the third seed. Now it gets risky, cuz I’m picking the Browns to upset the Ravens today and play spoiler. This allows the Steelers, with an assured victory over the Bengals, to enter the playoffs. In the evening the Colts beat the Titans, so the former is in and the latter is out.
Here’s the AFC seeding, then:
- Kansas City Chiefs – the Mahomes show carries on; so fun to watch.
- New England Patriots – your “here we go again” team in the AFC. Don’t bet against the GOAT.
- Houston Texans – this team can surprise anybody. Won’t surprise me if they win it all.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – a combination of luck and grit gets them in.
- San Diego Chargers – a pretty powerful 5th seed and another team that can beat anyone.
- Indianapolis Colts – Luck has everything to do with it. The franchise is back.
The Colts won’t get past the Texans in Houston and the Chargers will upend the Steelers, so after the Wildcard weekend we’ll see San Diego go to Kansas City (again!) and Houston head to Boston.
The NFC Championship game will feature the Rams in New Orleans.
The AFC Championship game will see the Texans in Kansas City.
I’ll let you call the winners of those games.
Either way, this is going to be a fun day of football and an exciting playoffs. What do you think? Can my Rams still win it all?!