Recapping my NFL playoff picks midway-ish through the season

Now that we’re just past the halfway point of the NFL season — most teams have played nine games to this point — I figured it was a good time to see how my playoff predictions are going, based on what’s happened since the season started.

Starting in the AFC, my picks were:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Baltimore Ravens
  6. Kansas City Chiefs

If the season ended today, the actual seeding would be:

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Cleveland Browns
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Cincinnati Bengals

While the seeding doesn’t match up, five of the six teams I picked are in the playoffs as of today and the sixth team, well, not many people expected the Browns to be leading the AFC North after week 10. It looks like New England, Denver and Indy are pretty much locks to make the playoffs. Those last three teams, though, don’t appear to be locked in to their spots. In particular, the four seed, which will likely be the AFC North winner, appears to be up for grabs because it’s the only division in which every team is above .500. Despite losing to the Jets in week 10, the Steelers look like they could be the best team in the division, and they’re currently the first team out of the playoffs. Both wild cards are also far from being decided, but the second-place finisher in the North seems to have a good shot at getting one of the wild cards, with the other wild card likely going to the team that finishes behind the Broncos in the West.

Going over to the NFC, my preseason picks were:

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. New Orleans Saints
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Chicago Bears
  6. Arizona Cardinals

The playoff teams, as of today, would be:

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Dallas Cowboys
  6. Seattle Seahawks

So I’m four out of six in the NFC, based on current seedings, but I still think the Packers are one of the best teams in the conference and will end up in the playoffs, possibly as their division winner. But what team would they push out of the top six? It won’t be the 4-5 Saints because, despite their record, they’re going to win their division by default, basically, and stay in the four seed. I think one of the NFC East teams is going to fall out of the playoffs. I don’t think the Cowboys defense is as good as it’s been playing and may regress to the mean over the rest of the season. If Mark Sanchez keeps playing the way he played on Monday, I still think the Eagles will win the division. Despite Carson Palmer’s season-ending ACL injury, I don’t see the Cardinals falling out of the top six. They’re 8-1, and Drew Stanton went 2-1 filling in for Palmer earlier in the season. They’d basically have to lose out the rest of the way to miss the playoffs, and I don’t see that happening.

As for my Super Bowl pick of the Patriots over the Seahawks, I still like the Pats to come out of the AFC — despite a slow start — but I’m not as confident with the Seahawks making it that far. If I had to pick an NFC team today to make it to the Super Bowl, I might go with the Packers. There’s still several weeks left in the season, though, so we’ll see what happens after week 17 and into the playoffs.


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