Now that the we have officially entered the beautiful month of November with Week 8 of the NFL season in the books let’s make some early playoff picks. I’m locking up five divisions and they are as follows: AFC East (Patriots), AFC North (Bengals), AFC West (Broncos), NFC West (Cardinals), and NFC North (Packers). So, that gives us a grand total of 7 playoff spots (3 division titles and 4 wild card spots) that are up for grabs or semi-up for grabs. We’ll go with division winners first and then Wild Card winners at the end.
This division is absolutely putrid and a testament at how poor of a product the NFL has been this year. None of these teams deserve to make the playoffs let alone host a home playoff game. Jim Irsay and all the jamokes in Indianapolis can save their money and space in the Lucas Oil Stadium rafters because there will not be another banner ceremony in Indianapolis this year. Except for the one they had in Week 6 after the Patriots game:
Scorching hot take, but this is going to be the season that we see Jacksonville return to the playoffs behind Blake Bortles’ fierce second half. I didn’t make it to the Yahoo! stream a couple weeks ago, but I did see the highlights and I really like how the Jaguars played in that London game against Buffalo. Looking at their schedule, I have faith that the Jaguars can beat or at least compete with the rest of their opponents this season which include the likes of the Jets, Ravens, and Chargers.
Division winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
Rivals the AFC South as the worst division in the NFL, but I’m giving them second place only because of some big injuries in Dallas. The Giants defense STINKS, so I don’t see them making a run any time soon. The Eagles have to be the most underwhelming team thus far and its no secret that DeMarco Murray has failed to live up to expectations. I’m also starting to give up on Sam Bradford. On the other hand, guess who I’m not giving up on? Kirk Cousins. Washington continues to be frisky and I like the emotion Cousins showed after last week’s win. Emotion that found itself a place on a handful of t-shirts that are now flying off shelves. It will be interesting to see how the Skins play against the juggernaut Patriots in Week 9.
Division winner: Washington Redskins
Cam Newton has had one of his best seasons since coming into the league in 2011. That being said, I keep having flashbacks of the Arizona-Carolina playoff game from last year where Newton won the game, but played like a bad high school quarterback. Second scorching hot take of this post, but the Saints are going to have the best record in this division in the last nine weeks of the season. Granted the Giants defense is nothing special, Brees still threw for SEVEN touchdowns and has clearly gotten over his early season injury. They needed a game like they had the other night and I think it turns the Saints’ ship around.
Division winner: New Orleans Saints
For the AFC, I want to pretty confidently say that no AFC South teams are making the playoffs, but this NFL season has shocked me in many ways, so I’m saying that Houston finds a way to sneak into the playoffs after Bill O’Brien fixes the 7,000 problems that team has starting with the QB. I’m also taking the turnaround team of the year. The Oakland Raiders. Derek Carr to Amari Cooper is something that we are going to be hearing a lot for years to come. Also, as a Patriots fan I liked the resistance the Raiders management showed in not painting the 50-yard line markers gold for the 50th Super Bowl (next time don’t give in Mark Davis!). The Le’veon Bell injury kills the Steelers chances and I’ll delete this blog and every other file on my computer before I ever pick the Jets to win anything.
AFC Wild Cards: Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders
For the first Wild Card spot I have to go with the Carolina Panthers even though I just semi-trashed them in the AFC South section. They’re playing too well on defense behind Luke Keuchly who miraculously recovered from what looked like a nasty concussion in only two weeks. As for my second team, not only am I picking this team to win the Wild Card spot, but I’m also taking them to go deep in the playoffs. The St. Louis Rams. Todd Gurley is now the best running back in the NFL and that is slowly not becoming a debate anymore. In his past five games Gurley has rushed for 548 yards and 3 TD’s which leads the league. I’m really hoping he doesn’t fall victim to the injury bug that has been hitting the NFL hard these past few weeks.
NFC Wild Cards: Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams