Week 13 Playoff Picture

By Chris Ransom

I’m going to list not just the playoff picture in the AFC and NFC, but I will also list where each team in the NFL stands and what there odds of winning the Super Bowl are by labeling buy or sell and why I buy or sell that team as a Super Bowl contender. Teams who are on the outside looking in I’ll just buy or sell their playoff chances because it is uncertain that they will make the playoffs. Teams that get eliminated from the NFL playoffs I’m going to buy or sell their playoff chances for next season depending on their teams current talent.

AFC Playoff Teams if the Season Ended Today

1. New England Patriots 10-2 Buy I love the New England Patriots. I only picked against the New England Patriots back in April in Week 2 against the New York Jets, Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens, and Week 7 against the San Diego Chargers. I took over this site the day after New England’s second loss to the Browns. I don’t believe New England will lose at home so the only way the New England Patriots do not get home field advantage in the AFC is if they lose to the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills on the road and the Pittsburgh Steelers would need to win out. I’m not ruling this possibility out, but I believe that is a very unrealistic possibility at this point. The New England Patriots have gone to 4 out of the last 5 Super Bowls that Fox has hosted dating back to Super Bowl 31 against the Green Bay Packers. And the New England Patriots are playing like that there going to go to 5 out of the last 6 Super Bowl’s that Fox has hosted since Super Bowl 45 in Dallas this year will be on Fox. Plus when the New England Patriots have had a first round bye or better under Tom Brady there 12-1 in the playoffs with their only loss coming to the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42. As long as Bill Belicheck keeps this young defense motivated and as long as quarterback Tom Brady keeps this offense focused mentally I do not see a team that can beat New England at Gillette Stadium during the 2011 NFL Playoffs. The only teams with a realistic chance against the New England Patriots in the playoffs at this point in my opinion are the Pittsburgh Steelers if they play at Heinz Field because Pittsburgh lost to the Patriots twice at Heinz Field and lost both times wanting to win a third time to those die hard fans who wave the Terrible Towel. I don’t see the Pittsburgh Steelers going into a snowy Gillette Stadium to knock off the New England Patriots and the other team that could potentially knock off the New England Patriots is the Baltimore Ravens who took the New England Patriots to overtime earlier this season at Gillette Stadium. New England’s offensive line kept Tom Brady from getting sacked in 5 of their 12 games this season and kept Tom Brady from getting sacked twice in 7 of their 12 games this season.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-3 Sell The Pittsburgh Steelers offense hasn’t played as well in years past and they do not have a left tackle without Max Starks. Jonathan Scott cannot get the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory. Left Tackle is the most important position if I’m wrong please explain to me why two of the Detroit Lions quarterbacks are injured? I rest my case. If this team gets a first round bye and ends up playing the New York Jets then they could get to the AFC Championship, but I’m writing this team off for now. I’m not doubting what there capable of this team has the heart of a champion, the championship caliber defense, and the offensive playmakers, but the Pittsburgh Steelers lack the left tackle to win the Lombardi Trophy. The Pittsburgh Steelers had Marvel Smith in Super Bowl 40 and Max Starks in Super Bowl 43. I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the team to beat next season if they stay healthy if everyone returns along with good drafting, but for now I’m giving the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens a slight edge over this team. Let’s not kid ourselves if it wasn’t for Troy Polamalu this would be the team in the AFC North that is 8-4 because Baltimore outplayed Pittsburgh for the first 57 minutes before losing in humiliating fashion. Plus Joe Flacco played solid during Baltimore’s drive while trailing before Baltimore failed to convert on 4th and 2. The way the Pittsburgh Steelers have played where they score under 20 points a game and rely on their defense to allow less than 20 points a game in the playoffs is not going to cut it.

3. Kansas City Chiefs 8-4 Sell I’m selling the Chiefs because of their quarterback inexperience. Matt Cassel got close to the playoffs with the New England Patriots, but he had a much better supporting cast. Cassel’s supporting cast is better, but the Chiefs are not experienced enough to contend yet.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-5 Sell I’m selling the Jacksonville Jaguars because David Garrard plays well one week and is cold the next week. The Jaguars have played well lately, but I’m not buying this team against elite competition.

5. New York Jets 9-3 Sell The New York Jets were a team to buy at the beginning of the year with a dominant defense, but that defense has not been dominant as of late and despite Mark Sanchez’s rapid improvement as a quarterback in the fourth quarter I don’t believe Sanchez is that good. I believe that the talent around Mark Sanchez makes him a better player. Honestly this team could lose to the AFC South winner on wild card weekend if their opponent shows up.

6. Baltimore Ravens 8-4 Buy Everyone is writing off the Ravens because of their poor secondary play. There are people in Pittsburgh who say Joe Flacco is not a franchise quarterback and that the Baltimore Ravens are just going to decline and become an overrated franchise once Ray Lewis retires. I’m not buying that argument for one second. Baltimore has an elite offense and will continue to build around their defense in the NFL Draft as long as Ozzie Smith is the general manager. If anything Ray Lewis will be determined to do what the Super Bowl 40 Steelers did just to silence some of the obnoxious fans in Pittsburgh. Actually its poor judgement on my part to label all of their fans obnoxious because some of the fans at my college who root for the Steelers are starting to realize their team isn’t all that and are hoping for the best going forward. Honestly, I’m proud that some of the Steelers fans in this Pittsburgh are starting to realize how lucky their team is and how thankful they should be instead of acting like their team is better than everyone in the NFL and making excuses while losing and refusing to admit their opponent outplayed them. Still Baltimore is a team with a left tackle that kept James Harrison from sacking Joe Flacco twice. Ray Rice is a good running back in his prime. Call me crazy, but I’m buying Baltimore and their chances to succeed in the playoffs. I’m not going to give up on my Super Bowl pick at the start of season like most bandwagon jumpers.

Teams on the outside looking in

7. Oakland Raiders 6-6 Buy I’m actually buying the Oakland Raiders chances of getting to the playoffs because they have won key games in their division, but they have to win out and hope for some help from the Chiefs.

8. San Diego Chargers 6-6 Sell The Chargers looked like a team to buy after their loss to the Raiders San Diego is once again a team to sell.

9. Indianapolis Colts 6-6 Sell In the wake of Peyton Manning’s performance I’m selling the Colts.

Teams that are unlikely to make the playoffs

10. Miami Dolphins 6-6 Sell The Dolphins will not make the playoffs with Chad Henne at quarterback.

11. Houston Texans 5-7 Sell If the Texans win out they could make the playoffs, but before they beat Baltimore I’m not buying Houston.

12. Cleveland Browns 5-7 Sell Without Colt McCoy this is a 5-11 or 6-10 team.

13. Tennessee Titans 5-7 Sell Without Vince Young and Kerry Collins aging I’m selling this team.

Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs

14. Denver Broncos 3-9 Sell You know that annoying little kid who tries to chuck peanuts at the elephants every time you go to the zoo. That’s what Josh McDaniel’s was to the Denver Broncos by trading away Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Peyton Hillis. Now that McDaniel’s is fired Denver can start rebuilding. They should start Tim Tebow for the rest of the year to find out if he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback, but Kyle Orton is having a career year this year. Denver has a lot of rebuilding to do before they become a playoff team.

15. Buffalo Bills 2-10 Sell Even if the Buffalo Bills rebuild well in the NFL Draft they will need a year to develop their rookies with the numerous needs and weaknesses.

16. Cincinnati Bengals 2-10 Buy I’m actually buying the Bengals next year. If the Bengals have a quarterback they can use the new quarterback and have him fire passes to Andre Caldwell, Jordan Shipley, and Jermaine Gresham at tight end. I actually think the Bengals can contend once Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens leave the team. Those three are the problem to this team not the solution.


NFC Playoff Teams if the regular season ended today.

1. Atlanta Falcons 10-2 Buy I believe the Falcons are a team to buy at home, but if they play a playoff game on the road they can lose.

2. Chicago Bears 9-3 Sell I’m not buying a team with a bad offensive line like the Bears.

3. Philadelphia Eagles 8-4 Sell I’m not buying the Eagles with Michael Vick because the offensive line is vulnerable.

4. St. Louis Rams 6-6 Buy Everyone underestimates teams in the weak NFC West division so I’m actually going to go out on a limb and buy the St. Louis Rams both Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez came close to the Super Bowl as rookies in the competitive AFC so if a rookie quarterback gets his team to the Super Bowl it will be a rookie quarterback in the NFC.

5. New Orleans Saints 9-3 Sell No athlete on the Madden Cover has never gotten to Conference Championship Weekend. I do not expect Drew Brees to break that trend.

6. New York Giants 8-4 Buy If everyone gets healthy I could see the Giants making a move in the NFC and getting to the Super Bowl.

Teams on the outside looking in

7. Green Bay Packers 8-4 Buy I’m not only buying the Packers as a playoff contender, but if they get in they are going to contend for the Super Bowl.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-5 Sell Tampa Bay has the talent to win this division next year, but I’m not buying this team this year due to intense competition in the NFC East.

9. Seattle Seahawks 6-6 Buy The Seahawks could win the NFC West.

Teams unlikely to make the playoffs

10. Minnesota Vikings 5-7 Sell Even if Brett Favre pulls off a comeback and the Vikings end the season on a 4 game winning streak it is too little too late.

11. Washington Redskins 5-7 Sell This team looks lost.

12. Dallas Cowboys 4-8 Sell They have played well lately, but don’t have Tony Romo and got off to a 1-7 start.

13. San Francisco 49ers 4-8 Sell The 49ers could get if they win out, but until week 17 arrives and unless this team is 7-8 the team that I foolishly picked to go to the Super Bowl is not in the playoff conversation.

14. Arizona Cardinals 3-9 Sell Arizona’s season is nearly over. There going to be out of the playoff race in the next two weeks.

Teams that are out of the playoffs

15. Detroit Lions 2-10 Buy I’m actually buying the Lions as a playoff contender next season if Matthew Stafford stays healthy.

16. Carolina Panthers 1-11 Buy The Panthers can contend in the NFC South if everyone is healthy next season.

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