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Playoff Hopes - Only one Wildcard Available?


ThatGuy

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More fun from my blog, check it out for all the archives.

http://theredskinreport.blogspot.com/

Much like Major League Baseball, one major issue in determining playoff berths is strength of schedule. It gets brought up more in MLB since the two highest payrolls exist in the same division. Year after year teams like Baltimore and Toronto start behind the eight ball knowing they have to battle Yankees and Red Sox while a team like the White Sox gets to play Detroit and Kansas City.

It’s a different animal in the NFL because of parity. Teams swing from good to bad to mediocre from year to year. So no one team is constantly being hurt by the schedule. For example, last year the NFC East had 1 good team and 3 weak teams. This year the NFC East has 4 legitimate contenders in it. So while St. Louis gets 4 games against San Francisco and Arizona, the Redskins are playing the Eagles and Cowboys. It is enough to keep a lesser team like the Rams in the race.

While I don’t think the Rams will end up being much of a factor in our playoff hopes, one wild card team will probably end up coming from the NFC South. Until Brian Griese got hurt, the South featured 3 contending teams. But the Chris Simms led Bucs team is tanking and no longer are much of a threat.

That leaves Carolina and Atlanta to battle it out for NFC South supremacy. The 2nd place team in the division will end up being a strong candidate for the wildcard. A quick gander at their schedules shows a significant advantage over the Redskins in that quest.

Carolina has become the trendy pick to win the NFC. The most complete team in the NFC they say. The Redskin homer in me wants to say ‘what about us?’ But that notwithstanding, are the Panthers really that good? The honest answer is we don’t know. They’ve played one decent team thus far this year. This is a team that has lost to Miami and New Orleans. They’ve had tight games against Green Bay, Detroit and Arizona. The reason for all the hype is consecutive blowouts against weak Minnesota and fading Tampa Bay.

Luckily for Redskin fans they do face a harder road in the 2nd half. They go to Chicago and Atlanta and have home games against Dallas and Atlanta. They may get tested in Buffalo as well, but they do have some more cream puff games against the Jets, Tampa and New Orleans. Carolina will probably finish at 11-5.

I’d be willing to bet that the next media favorite will be Atlanta. They’ve won 2 straight and their next three games are home to Green Bay and Tampa Bay, then on the road in Detroit. Winning those 3 will put them at 9-2, and 1st in the NFC. They do have some tougher games down the stretch: the home and home against the Panthers and at Chicago. I’d look for them to finish 12-4.

If my fellow Redskins fan is looking for a bright side take solace in the fact that we’ll be battle tested if we do make the playoffs. These tough NFC East battles are going to be good experience when it comes to playoff time.

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I’d be willing to bet that the next media favorite will be Atlanta. They’ve won 2 straight and their next three games are home to Green Bay and Tampa Bay, then on the road in Detroit. Winning those 3 will put them at 9-2, and 1st in the NFC. They do have some tougher games down the stretch: the home and home against the Panthers and at Chicago. I’d look for them to finish 12-4.

If my fellow Redskins fan is looking for a bright side take solace in the fact that we’ll be battle tested if we do make the playoffs. These tough NFC East battles are going to be good experience when it comes to playoff time.

Atlanta's next three games aren't as easy as you think.

While Green Bay has been awful (most 1-7 teams are), they have been in every game. No bounces have gone their way this season. But for the most part, they have been in one possession games every game this season. And that's probably their easiest game...

Tampa has been able to stop Vick for his entire career. Even when Tampa was bad, they always had the Falcons #.

And whie Detroit sucks. They are solid on Thanksgiving day. Plus a short week after playing a physical defense

I would be surprised if Atlanta got through this at 9-2.

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Atlanta's next three games aren't as easy as you think.

While Green Bay has been awful (most 1-7 teams are), they have been in every game. No bounces have gone their way this season. But for the most part, they have been in one possession games every game this season. And that's probably their easiest game...

Tampa has been able to stop Vick for his entire career. Even when Tampa was bad, they always had the Falcons #.

And whie Detroit sucks. They are solid on Thanksgiving day. Plus a short week after playing a physical defense

I would be surprised if Atlanta got through this at 9-2.

You can argue that those games aren't as easy as I assume, but you can't argue that thanks to their schedule they have an easier road than us.

NFC East is tougher than the NFC South

AFC West is tougher is than the AFC East.

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Luckily, just as the NFC East teams will be knocking each other off, so will the NFC South Teams. It looks like the NFL intentionally scheduled most of the division games to be played the second half of the season.

The difference being, every team in the East is capable of beating every other team. I'm not so sure I believe that Tampa or New Orleans would give Atlanta or Carolina a great game at this point.

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The Rams don't play NO twice. They do play SF twice. I think that was what you meant. They are also 4-4. If they beat us then they have the inside track due to their easy schedule. The NFC East might not even get a wildcard. The teams will be beating on each other so much that a team like the Rams could easily slip in.

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I predict of all the NFC teams, Carolina will drop like a rock and may be out of the playoff race by years end, especially if their "0 for ever" continues against Michael Vick.

If you look at the first half of Carolina's schedule, they have only beat one team with a winning record, and that was Tampa with Simms at the helm.

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The Rams don't play NO twice. They do play SF twice. I think that was what you meant. They are also 4-4. If they beat us then they have the inside track due to their easy schedule. The NFC East might not even get a wildcard. The teams will be beating on each other so much that a team like the Rams could easily slip in.

Thanks on the correction, good catch.

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