We’re down to the last four weeks of NFL regular season and Seattle was the first team to secure a playoff berth. Other teams will be following their lead until we’re left with just a few franchises in limbo.
We’re talking about those teams who’ll still be scrambling for the last wild card spots.
NFL Wildcard and Playoff Projections 2013 — as of Week 14
1. Miami Dolphins
Prediction: Miami steals a Wildcard berth with a 9-7 SU record
In the end, that 26-23 loss to Baltimore will not come back to haunt the Dolphins.
Miami has a fair chance of picking three wins off the remaining teams left in their schedule. Wide receiver Mike Wallace is starting to be consistent and can make a huge difference for the Dolphins. He’s had a receiving TD in each of Miami’s last two games – a first for Wallace this season.
Miami appears to have the advantage in strength of schedule compared to Baltimore. The Dolphins have three below .500 teams left to play while the Ravens have only one. [sc:NFL240banner ]
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Prediction: Andy Reid and the Chiefs punch Wildcard ticket, finish with 12-4 SU record
The joyride has ended for Andy Reid’s Chiefs. The undefeated run for Kansas City stopped dead at nine games, as they’re now currently on a three-game skid. But at least their 9-3 SU record allows the Chiefs to still be in control of their fate.
Peyton Manning will no longer be popping up in their remaining games to embarrass their defensive prowess. What’s left is a pair of laughingstocks in Oakland and Washington, followed by testy back-to-back affairs against Indianapolis and San Diego.
It’s not too much of a reach to say that the Chiefs will win at least two more, but also don’t be too surprised if they sweep their next four assignments.
OUT: Baltimore Ravens
Prediction: Baltimore won’t be making a return trip to the playoffs, finishes with 8-8 SU record
Not even Mike Tomlin’s sideline shenanigans could stop the Ravens from getting their third win in four games. Baltimore’s victory over the Steelers prevented the Dolphins from taking over the sixth spot in the AFC. The Ravens beat the Dolphins, 26-23, back in Week 5 to own the advantage in the tiebreaker.
They figure to be the favorites in a regular season game for the last time against the visiting Vikings next week, because Baltimore will be in for a rough three-game stretch to finish the season. After Minnesota, the Ravens will be hard-pressed to win against three current division leaders: Detroit, New England, and Cincinnati, in that order.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Prediction: Eagles become NFC East champions, finish with 10-6 SU record
Nick Foles has been superb since being handed the quarterbacking duties. No one can argue with that as he had the Eagles rolling with four straight wins to catch-up and tie the NFC East division leading Cowboys. Foles has thrown 13 touchdown passes in his last four games, including his record-tying 7 TD passes against Oakland in Week 9.
Up ahead for the Eagles are games against the Lions, Vikings, and Chicago, before getting into what could be the NFC East division title game against Dallas in Week 17. [sc:NFL240banner ]
4. Carolina Panthers
Prediction: Panthers fail to knock Saints out of the top of the NFC South, get into the playoffs anyway with a 11-5 SU record
Just like his alma mater, Auburn, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have been on a shock tour. And just like the Ohio State Buckeyes, who went bonkers after seeing Alabama get beaten, the Panthers were also ecstatic after seeing former sole leaders of the NFC South, New Orleans, get defeated by the Seahawks last week. Imagine the momentum that might have added to the Panthers, already undefeated in their last eight games.
The Panthers and the Saints are to play each other twice in the next four weeks. Other than New Orleans, the Panthers will be fed with two servings of appetizers – a week 15 bout with Geno Smith (ho-hum) before ending the regular season against the Falcons (Zzzzzz).
5. San Francisco 49ers
Prediction: 49ers snag a Wildcard berth after falling short in last year’s Super Bowl
The 49ers have had far from the season they expected to have after losing to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. Still, Michael Crabtree is back and they’ll be highly motivated to close out the season and make it back into the playoff picture.
OUT: Dallas Cowboys
Prediction: Boys won’t make the playoffs, finish with a 9-7 SU record
Tony Romo and the Cowboys are currently in a tight race with the Eagles for the NFC East’s top spot. Both teams are 7-5 SU, the same record that the Cardinals are sporting, tying the three teams for the last Wild Card berth in the NFC. That said, Dallas owns the sixth spot in the NFC as of this moment, and they have the head-to-head win percentage advantage against the Eagles.
Philadelphia can score some revenge on the Cowboys in Week 17, the last game for both teams. But before that, Dallas has some crucial games on their plate.
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