Red predicts that you will soon meet a woman – a blonde or brunette – possibly a red head. Red also predicts that many of the NFL Playoff spots will come down to the last week of the season – thanks in no small part to the extra Wild Card team. That’s just what prognosticators like Red needed to keep them in business to the end. Six teams are in including the Chiefs, Bills and Stealers in the AFC and the Packers, Saints and Seahawks in the NFC. Eleven teams are already waiting until next year and fifteen, count ’em fifteen teams are still in the hunt. So here goes:
Red’s Top Ten – aka the Popular Kids:
- Kansas City Chiefs (13-1). The Chiefs are in a class by themselves right now with Professor Andy Reid instructing star pupils like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins. He even has room for remedial learners like LeVeon Bell. Another win against the Falcons on Sunday wraps up the first round bye and the Chief can coast into the playoffs.
- Buffalo Bills (11-3). In case you hadn’t noticed the Bills are good, really good. Diggs and Beasley may be the number two WR combo in the league right now behind any combination of Chiefs receivers. Oh, and there’s this guy Allen who looks okay.
- Green Bay Packers (11-3). The Packers are not making it look easy right now with less than impressive wins in recent weeks over the Panthers and Lions. Next week’s match-up with the Titans has “NFL Game of the Week” written all over it.
- Cleveland Browns (10-4). Browns are No. 4 with a bullet after beating the previously hot Giants on Sunday. Everything is clicking for the Browns right now. They seize their first playoff spot since 2002 with a win over the Jags on Sunday. Trivia Question: Who was the Browns’ quarterback in their last playoff win?
- Pittsburgh Stealers (11-2). Red is reporting early this week but he will assume the Stealers beat the crippled Bengals tonight. If Red is wrong, readers can self-adjust the rankings accordingly.
- New Orleans Saints (10-4). There is no shame in losing to the Chiefs, but the Saints seem to be in decline. They are still dangerous in the NFC playoffs because of the semi-pathetic competition at the lower levels.
- Seattle Seahawks (10-4). Seahawks are in the playoffs. While Red is reluctant to declare their early demise as he remembers a pretty mediocre 7-9 Seahawks team sort of clobbering a Saints team that some were predicting to go to the Superb Owl, he just doesn’t think this squad can hang with the Packers or Saints.
- Tennessee Titans (9-5). The best of the 9-5 squads sits atop the AFC South. They will solidify playoff chances by dispatching the Packers on Sunday. Looking for to that one, Red is.
- Miami Dolphins (9-5). So benching The Beard turned out to be a good move.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5). Bucs coast into playoffs with criminally easy remaining schedule.
Still in the Hunt aka the Wannabes.
11. Indianapolis Colts (9-5). Much as it pains Red to say it, the Colts are odds on favorite to make the playoffs by beating the Jags in Week 17. A sure bet if they are victorious against the Stealers next week. Red wouldn’t bet on the Stealers and neither should you.
12. Los Angeles Rams (9-5). Losing to the Jets confirms Red’s suspicions about the Rams. You just don’t know if the Rams team that beat the Seahawks and the Dolphins is going to show up on any given Sunday.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-6). Red might take a flyer on the Cardinals making some trouble in the playoffs – if they get to the playoffs, that is.
14. Washington FT’s (6-8). 6-8 and in the driver’s seat with games remaining against the Panthers and Eagles. Hmmm. This looks very likely to kill off Red’s dream of a 6-10 team making the playoffs.
15. Baltimore Ravens (9-5). Needing a number of things to happen to make the playoffs and get a shot at redemption for the last two years of sad sack playoff football. Ravens should be able to take of their end of the bargain with games against the Giants and Bengals.
16. Chicago Bears (7-7). Not quite “stick a fork in them done” but almost ready to come off the grill. They probably stay alive this week with the Jags on the schedule and maybe just maybe the Packers are starting the scrubs in Week 17.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7). A game effort by Marcus Mariota was not enough to keep the Chargers from practically ending the Raiders chances. Maybe Mariota gets a couple of games to show that he can still play.
18. Minnesota Vikings (6-8). Miracles do happen. But there is a reason they are called miracles.
19. Dallas Cowboys (5-9). The Cowboys are red hot but have to finish off the Giants and Eagles and hope the FTs stumble. See below.
20. New York Giants (5-9). Why won’t the Giants just go away?
21. Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1). The pulse is very faint indeed.
The Bottom of the Barrel – Sitting alone in the Lunchroom.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13). Ugh, simply ugh.
- New Jersey Jets (1-13). Red would like to see some post-game footage of the Jets celebration after beating the Rams. On any given Sunday . . .
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1). Considering a move to Havana.
- Houston Texans (4-10). Finding new and imaginative ways to lose close games.
- Atlanta Falcons (4-10). Never has so much talent been wasted.