This is from my blog, here are my official picks with six games remaining. http://allen-strk.blogspot.com/2011/11/ ... it-in.html
Pigskin Playoff Picks
With every team playing ten games now, it's time to set my picks. Six weeks remain in the NFL season so it's getting down to the end. Every game is becoming a must win with one loss possibly destroying your chances for the playoffs. You can't mess around and you need to be focused at this point of the season. Injuries can destroy any team, but it's no time to make excuses. Now I'll stop trying to be Mike Ditka and I'll give you my picks. ESPN playoff machine is the best thing to use, it helps so much.
1. Steelers (13-3)- The Steelers will grab the first seed here with their hot pace and getting healthy. The schedule isn't too rough with the 49ers being the toughest test on the road. They will take care of them and beat the rest of their soft schedule. They don't make things look pretty but they get the job done.With James Harrison and Hines Ward getting healthy along with young stars emerging in Antonio Brown and Ziggy Hood, this team will be tough to beat.
2. Patriots (13-3)- They don't get the 1st seed based on losing to the Steelers head to head. They will go on a six week tear with a pretty soft schedule. The toughest left is this week at Philadelphia which is pretty good with Vick still hurt and still very fragile. The Patriots aren't their usual dominant self but they are still very dangerous. Patriots will look to get the right set of defensive roles in the next six weeks to see who can play and who can't.
3. Texans (10-6)- They will still make it despite the loss of Matt Schaub for the year. The division is simply too weak and the Texans schedule isn't that tough. They will go 500 for the rest of the way with losses to the Falcons, Bengals, and in a meaningless game Week 17 against the Titans. The running game will keep the offense decent with the combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Andre Johnson will finally be back and that will help Matt Leinart develop. It's not a good situation but they can manage to still make the playoffs. They got a good core that I can't see them fully collapsing.
4. Chargers (9-7)- Despite everything that is going on, they will go on their usual December run and make it. The division is too weak for them not to make it. The only loss that will happen is a tough road loss in Detroit. The schedule has some big games with home games versus Baltimore and Denver. Phillip Rivers will get himself together because he has done it before and it just has me sensing another December amazing run. The road bump in Detroit will hurt but a win against Oakland in Week 17 will make them win the division.
5. Ravens (12-4)- It's tough to buy into Baltimore all the time with their road losses to Jacksonville and Seattle but they have swept Pittsburgh. The offense seems to be picking up the slack this year with Torrey Smith really turning some heads and Anquan Boldin having a much better year than last year. I'm still not sure how to judge Joe Flacco due to his inconsistent traits but he can get the job done. The defense has slipped a bit as well but they should get the job done to get into the playoffs. The only loss will be in San Diego where Phillip Rivers proves to be too much against an average secondary. This team still remains to be a threat, but they just don't seem to get it all together when it comes to the later rounds of the playoffs.
6. Bengals (10-6)- I've bought into the Bengals from the last two weeks. They have played really well despite the last two losses and seem to be a playoff team. This team plays hard and can really turn some heads with big plays. The lack of star power does hurt them especially with Leon Hall out for the season but their are young guys on this team that are stepping up big time. Jerome Simpson and Jermaine Gresham have become great targets for Andy Dalton who I'm really pulling for to win rookie of the year. I'm not a Cam Newton hater, but Dalton is the real deal. They will go 4-2 the rest of the way with losses to the Steelers and Ravens again. Those teams are simply too much for the Bengals due to their lack of star power and bad safeties. They will make the playoffs though over the Jets with their better AFC record.
The teams that just miss out are the Jets, Raiders, and the Titans. The Jets just seem too limited this year and have serious flaws that won't be overcome. Sanchez hasn't impressed me from day one but now he's actually a liability because he's been forced to throw a lot since the running game isn't working. The offensive line is starting to crack and they miss Jericho Cotchery in a big way. They miss that possession receiver which was supposed to be Derrick Mason but they never gave him a chance. The defense is still above average but the lack of offensive firepower will destroy this team. I have them going 4-2 the rest of the way to end at 9-7 with losses to the Giants and Eagles. The Raiders will just miss out on winning the division losing to the Chargers in Week 17. With tough games against the Packers and Lions, they will have their hands full. They haven't played great competition yet which makes their current record inflated. They will fall back to being average soon enough. The other team is Tennessee where they will end 8-8 which makes me wonder why I'm mentioning them. Due to their bad division, they seemed like a bit of a threat but a 3-3 finish to the season will destroy their chances.
You will be looking for things to do in January, sorry Fireman Ed.
1. Packers (14-2)- This team is the real deal and the favorites to go all the way. It's tough to see them losing but they will have their slip up. They will slip against the Giants in a tough away game where the pass rush becomes too much for Aaron Rodgers to handle. It's a tough call but Green Bay isn't dominant enough to go undefeated. The secondary has some holes and the offensive line isn't great which is bad news when you play the Giants. They will also lose a meaningless game in Week 17 against Detroit. They will likely rest some guys with the first seed clinched while the Lions will go all out for a wild card spot.
2. 49ers (13-3)- They edge the Saints here on better conference record and they deserve it. The 49ers have played terrific football all year with their stingy defense and solid offensive play. What impresses me with the 49ers is how discipline they are and rarely make mental mistakes. The two tight end system with Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker also catches my eye a lot. You would think San Francisco would lack weapons but with Davis, Walker, Michael Crabtree, and Braylon Edwards, they have serious weapons. Despite all this, they will only end the season 4-2. The Steelers and Ravens are games that will show some flaws in their offense and the secondary.
3. Saints (13-3)- This is another team that will go on a late season run. People forget that the Saints are a great late season team and can go on serious runs. They can be fragile but the defense always seems to get the job done when it needs to happen. With Jimmy Graham becoming a serious threat, Drew Brees has become tougher to stop. If they can somehow get the running game going, this team could take down Green Bay. But that seems unlikely along with the pass rush stepping up. They go undefeated rest of the season including a division clinching win against the Falcons.
4. Cowboys (10-6)- When I'm high on Dallas, they always seem to drop the ball. The team has the talent, but this reminds me of San Diego on how they can't put it together. They will still make the playoffs but it will be a rocky road. The big win that they will need is beating the Giants because Dallas is very good at home. Despite the secondary issues, I see Romo winning the shoot out and turning the ball over less than Eli. The one major positive that Dallas has that they haven't had in years is a running game. DeMarco Murray has proven he's the real deal and gives Dallas balance in their offense. They end the season at 4-2 with a tough loss to Tampa Bay on the road and a meaningless loss against the Giants in Week 17.
5. Falcons (11-5)- Despite the loss to New Orleans, the Falcons have been playing well since starting 2-3. They have gotten the running game with Michael Turner and the defense has gotten back to playing solid. The first month they were missing both things but now it's starting to click. Matt Ryan hasn't been great this season but he's starting to get his groove back which is huge for Atlanta. With a very easy schedule to end the season, they will go 5-1. It's tough to see them beating the Saints on Monday Night in New Orleans so they will have to settle for a wild card. They can really win that game though with those games always being tight but New Orleans goes into another gear when their in that dome. Julio Jones is the key here with the defensive line, those things need to step up if Atlanta wants to make a playoff run.
6. Lions (11-5)- I'm not sold on Detroit, they seem very fragile but the schedule isn't as hard as people make it out to be. Oakland and San Diego are teams they are going to handle, yet people think those games they will lose. With Chicago losing Cutler, they will slide into the last spot and win the tie breaker. Chicago's schedule isn't tough but they fall to 11-5 right with Detroit. Kevin Smith may emerge to finally give them something on the ground while Stafford has had a strong year. The game against the Packers tomorrow will show us where the Lions stand. I'm not so sure about this pick here, but they somehow make it from my predictions on playoff machine.
The teams that just miss out are the Bears and the Giants. The Bucs and Eagles finish out 8-8 so I don't really see them as just missing out. Both teams are in a huge hole right now and I don't see them making dream runs to somehow make a wild card spot. The Bears finish 11-5 and get robbed by losing out on a tie breaker of conference record with the Lions. The loss of Cutler hurts the team because now teams will put eight in the box on Forte. The defense has been great, but it's not the defense from 2006. The other team is the Giants that will finish 10-6 which ironically puts them tied with the Cowboys for first. They miss out on conference record and possibly has Tom Coughlin fired. The Giants are a solid team but they still have the tendency to make too many mental mistakes. The running game without Bradshaw is missing and the offensive line hasn't been the same. The major thing that hurts the Giants here is the schedule will be very difficult. While I have them upsetting the Packers, the losses on the road to Dallas and New Orleans kills this team.
Those are my picks to make the playoffs, we will wait till the playoffs actually start to picking the games.