As the month of December continues, many are paying close attention to the playoff picture in the NFL. With the regular reason over in a little over than a month, teams are making a last minute effort to make sure their team gets into the post season. But for those who don’t know exactly how to decipher the often difficult playoff picture, just take a few minutes and this article will explain it to you.
In the AFC (as of now), the Tennessee Titans are the number 1 seed, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers (2), New York Jets (3), Denver Broncos (4), Indianapolis Colts (5), and the Baltimore Ravens (6). With a 11-1 and four games left to play (two against playoff contenders), there is a very good chance that the Titans will finish the season as the number 1 seed, guaranteeing them a first round bid in the playoffs. The spot for the number 2 and 3 seed may go either way between the Steelers and Jets, depending on how well both teams perform in the last five games of the season. The Broncos should stay in the number 4 position considering that the division they represent, the AFC West, is fairly weak this season. The same is the case for the Colts and Ravens; if both teams can be consistent in the last month of the season, they should be able to hold on to the number 5 and number 6 seed, respectively. Now I know there are New England Patriot fans out there wondering about where their team ranks. Well the Patriots are the number 7 seed and all season long have dealt with devastating injuries. The only way for the Patriots to have a spot in the playoffs, they would have to win the next five games outright and have the teams in front of them to lose two or three of the last five games.
In the NFC (also as of now), the New York Giants are number 1, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2), Arizona Cardinals (3), Chicago Bears (4), Carolina Panthers (5), and the Dallas Cowboys (6). As with the Titans, the Giants are at the top of the NFC and will more than likely have the number 1 spot at the end of season, also giving them a first round bid in the playoffs. The Buccaneers should be able to keep their number 2 spot, if they can finish the season strong. The positions for the number 3 and 4 seed are still up for grabs considering that the Cardinals haven’t been playing as now as they did earlier in the season and the Bears have appeared to hit their strive and have their eyes set on making a deep playoff run. There are questions about whether or not the Panthers can start and finish games if one considers the fact that the Panthers have struggled against teams like the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders and were man-handled by the Atlanta Falcons. The question of if the Panthers go into the playoffs will have to be looked at on a game-to-game basis. And if the Cowboys can win the next two or three of their last four games, they have a chance of either placing fifth or sixth in the conference at the end of the season.
The NFL playoff picture is never an easy thing to figure and will never be that way. With the outcome of games that change as much as North Carolina weather, one can only guess what the future holds in store. So with that being said, it would be a word of wise to the reader to sit back, relax, and enjoy the last lap of the NFL season because somewhere in all the chaos is the next Super Bowl champion.