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Playoffs look ahead - who gets in, doesn't make it? Worst team in? Sleeper to go deep? (1 Viewer)


My quick thoughts - except possibly the Ravens, no team in the AFC seems to be peaking late and I have literally zero idea who BAL would face in the AFC Championship game.

It's also seriously looking like the Broncos might sneak into winning the AFCW this year over the Chiefs. I gotta think it's at least +200 odds they don't win the Lombardi because Toney does something stupid, but don't count out a horrific dropped would-be TD pass by MVS or Skyy Moore either. The team just looks lost this year.

Seems like the best plan for the NFCE would be to lose, and face the NFCS winner in the WC round. If I'm the Eagles or Cowboys, I'd rather take the #5 seed and opening game vs. Bucs over the #2 seed and Packers. I'm not sold on Jordan Love quite yet, but feel more comfortable beating Baker Mayfield.

Lots of candidates for the worst team, although I personally think it's the Steelers if they make it. Missing the playoffs would be the best thing to happen to the Steelers this year so they don't get ramrodded out in the Wild Card round by 20+ points. But no matter what, Tomlin will do just well enough to keep his job.

Kinda hoping the Texans make it in, they could seriously go deep and humiliate a couple weakened division leaders like the 'Fins. In words I never thought I'd say at the beginning of the season, a Division round matchup of HOU vs. CLE seems like it would be a good watch.
Right now, my sleeper would be Buffalo if they get in. They've gone from title-contender to afterthought, but the team personnel hasn't actually changed much. There's no reason they couldn't beat any of the playoff teams if they had their heads on straight.

Some teams need to play their best to compete, because they don't have the superior talent. Buffalo has the talent. If things start clicking, I don't see anybody in the field who looks way better. And maybe coming in as a lightly-regarded wildcard changes their playoff mindset. I'd go with them as a sleeper.

Worst team in would probably be Tampa Bay. Not that they're terrible, and I think Baker has played well. But they don't excel at anything and their defense hasn't lived up to anybody's expectations. I think any team they face scores 30-ish, and they score around 17.
It's also seriously looking like the Broncos might sneak into winning the AFCW this year over the Chiefs.
It would be a major long shot for the Broncos to win the AFCW over the Chiefs. KC has the tiebreaker over Denver by virtue of much better conference record.

So therefore Broncos would need to go 4-0 and Chiefs 2-2 (or 3-1 and 1-3)...with three identical remaining opponents (Raiders, Chargers, Patriots).

Although if Denver does slide into the final WC spot and MIA remains at #2 it could make for an interesting rematch in the opening round.
Just looking over each division:

AFC East
Miami, looks good, but injuries are mounting, especially at OL.
Buffalo, probably is better than Miami right now. Defense isn't great though.
NY Jets, maybe the NFL's best defense, but Zach Wilson on the road in the playoffs feels like a sure thing to bet against

AFC North
Baltimore, mildly concerned the loss of Andrews is too much to overcome against top teams.
Cleveland, way too many injuries. Probably shown enough to keep Stefanski's job at least.
Pittsburgh, just not good enough on either side of the ball.
Cincinnati, not seeing it without Burrow. Wins over the Colts and the Jags (which was a fluke in my opinion) haven't convinced me otherwise.

AFC South
Jacksonville, looks like your classic team who loses in round 2. Offense isn't good enough to carry mediocre defense.
Indianapolis, they've done a good job winning the games they are supposed to win, but this isn't a real threat. Steichen is doing a great job though.
Houston, could make a run when Stroud and Collins are back, but this feels like a team that's a year away.
Tennessee, still technically alive, and did just beat Miami, but OL, DB are such glaring issues most weeks.

AFC West
Kansas City, I'm actually not all that worried about them. Green Bay loss was a little rough, but Buffalo and Philly are on the same level, and KC could have won either of those games.
Denver, probably will get a WC berth, and maybe we get some old-fashioned Russ magic, but I think they are more likely to wilt under pressure.
Las Vegas, technically still alive, but probably even less of a threat than the Titans. They won't have Brandon Staley to pick on anymore.

NFC East
Dallas, in my opinion the best team at the moment. They've been on fire since that SF loss, and are a better team now than they were then.
Philly, feels like the defense is going to be a problem in the playoffs
NY Giants, Vegas east?

NFC North
Detroit, like the Jags, they feel like a team destined to lose on the divisional round
Minnesota, really worried about the QB play here. Tough to read. Could easily see them lose their next 4 games.
Green Bay, kinda like them more than the Vikings, at least as a threat, they seem to play to their competition.
Chicago, still technically alive, and kinda coming on a bit, winning 3 of last 4, and that 1st Lions game was very winnable.

NFC South
Tampa Bay, only team in the division I think is any good. Offense can hit big plays, and defense (when healthy) can force turnovers.
Atlanta, can't see Ridder leading a playoff team.
New Orleans, the definition of average.

NFC West
San Francisco, frontrunner. OL is their big issue. Looked scary since Deebo/Trent returns, and Young deal.
LA Rams, I really hope they make it, as they are a fun team to watch, and could pose a real threat to a few teams.
Seattle, feels pretty similar to last year, but the NFC is a little deeper now. Don't see them winning on the road if they make it.

So to answer the question, I think Buffalo is a sneaky team to make a Super Bowl run. But they aren't really a sleeper, so I'll say the Rams, as they have the HC/QB combo, a few elite guys who can take over games, and the experience. I don't see them beating SF/Dal, but I think they could beat anyone else in the NFC. I'll give an honorable mention to the Texans, where I think the matchup will be critical.
Cleveland, way too many injuries. Probably shown enough to keep Stefanski's job at least.
Probably keep his job?...........He might be Coach of the Year.
I don't think he's even in the running for Coach of the Year.

That's either gonna be DeMeco Ryans or Shane Steichen, depending on who finishes with a better record.


  • Dan Campbell +325
  • DeMeco Ryans +325
  • Mike McDaniel +325
  • Shane Steichen +700
  • Kyle Shanahan +1000
  • Sean Payton +1200
  • Kevin Stefanski +1200

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