Greg's Weekly Picks NFL Playoffs

Greg’s NFL Weekly Picks: Playoffs

LAST WEEK: 10-6 :: OVERALL: 160-95-1 (62.5%)

The season has come to a close, and with a rather mediocre showing in the final two weeks, my record as a prognosticator is equally mediocre. Much like my favorite football team!

Looking ahead to the playoffs, I do see some interesting possible matchups.

First off, this wildcard weekend. I actually think all four wild card teams will win their games. Has that ever happened before? All four wild-card, road teams winning? Probably not. But that speaks to the caliber of those four divisions, NFC West, NFC North, AFC West, and even AFC East. I think all four of their opponents are better than they are.

If that happens, that sets up interesting divisional round games. All four would be divisional matchups! (Again, has that ever happened before??) Indy @ Tennessee, Baltimore @ Pittsburgh, Philly @ NY Giants, and Atlanta @ Carolina. What a great set of games! Those are much harder to pick, to be sure, but I really like the momentum the Colts have, and I see a rematch of the game a couple weeks ago at the Meadowlands on the NFC side.

So, Indy at Pittsburgh, and Carolina at New York… again, a great weekend of football. Both should be very good games. (Even if Baltimore somehow manages to upset Pittsburgh the week before… would be a good matchup of both Baltimore franchises.)

In the end, defense (and enough offense) wins. Pittsburgh will play the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants for the Lombardi Trophy in February. That will be a great game as well… I’d have to give the nod to the Giants and their crazy unstoppable running game in that one. But Pittsburgh has found a way to win all the games they needed to this year. So, you never know.

Let the playoffs begin!

(And for the Bills… there’s always next year. Which, is really true for us. There is ALWAYS next year…)

Current Bills Playoffs Pre-Season

Are The Bills Setting Their Sights Too Low?

We are under a week from the start of training camp, and there is a buzz around Bills land. It is the typical late-July buzz, but this year the din seems to be a bit louder. Players are excited, coaches are excited, and fans are excited. Even some of the media is starting to catch on, calling this Bills team a possible “Sleeper” in the 2008 season.

And for good reason, as I have mentioned before in parts 1 and 2 of my pre-pre-season preview of the 2008 Bills.

But something has been bothering me almost every time I hear any player talk about this upcoming season. Sure there is great optimism, and there are many good reasons to believe (returning players, new players, system is established, good talent level on this team, good depth) … but what are they believing in?

“I want to be the best I can be and I want to take this team to the playoffs and I want to win some football games,” said QB Trent Edwards.

Did you see it? What is it that Trent (and seemingly every other Buffalo Bill) wants from this season?

To make the playoffs.

Granted, when a franchise has not attained that level in nine seasons, that seems a respectable goal. But is it enough? Is it like in karate (I don’t really know what I’m saying here) where you try to break a board, you have to envision your hand going through the board, not to the board. If the Bills dream of only the playoffs, might they only get that far… and miss the chance to advance in the post season?

To me, it seems they are not thinking far enough ahead. I have heard the popular sports adage, “Cross one river at a time.” We often heard it coming from the mouth of our beloved Marv Levy. And I do understand that thinking also. But really, is it enough to only want to make the playoffs? Don’t we want to at least win a playoff game? Shouldn’t we be thinking we have as much right to that Lombardi Trophy as the other 31 teams? Maybe more??

As we enter training camp, I’d like to see the Bills language change slightly. It may be only a word, but I think it might be important. Once we see the players start thinking they really can win, they really are good… perhaps they will start to talk like they believe that too, and maybe that will bring about a change not only in language and thinking, but on the football field as well.

NFL Playoffs Schedule

Playoffs? Oh, the Possibilities…

Yes folks, I am that crazy. Every year about this time, our Bills are somewhere near the .500 mark and visions of playoff dates dance in our heads. Well, in mine at least.

So I broke down the five contenders’ schedules today, and believe it or not, things are looking very promising for our Buffalo Bills!

First, let’s look at who is still in the race:

  1. New England: 12-0
  2. Indianapolis: 10-2
  3. Pittsburgh: 9-3
  4. Jacksonville: 8-4
  5. San Diego: 7-5
  6. Cleveland: 7-5
  7. Tennessee: 7-5
  8. Buffalo: 6-6
  9. Denver: 5-7
  10. Houston: 5-7

Wow! When you look at that list, what shot do the Bills have?? Assuming the Division winners are set (New England is, then Indy, Pittsburgh, and San Diego) that leaves the two wild card spots in contention for SIX teams! Ouch!

But let’s take a look at those six teams, and their schedules.

Denver & Houston
These two teams are at 5-7 and are going to need a LOT of help. Basically, I’m just being kind to their fans putting them on here. They would have to win out, and get some serious help from teams above them in order to make the playoffs. Let’s count them OUT.

That leaves four teams who are in the thick of the race. We’ll look at them one by one.

Let’s start from the top down.

Jacksonville (8-4)
Jacksonville beat the Bills so, they own the tie-breaker over us there. And, with a two-game lead, they are definitely in command for one of those two spots. Their remaining games include: Carolina, @ Pittsburgh, Oakland, and @ Houston. Three of those games could be tough, but I see the Jags winning three of those four. That would put them in the playoffs as the top wild card seed, finishing 11-5.

Cleveland (7-5)
With Cleveland losing to Arizona yesterday, the Bills are in a much better position against this team. Even if the Browns win all of their games except the game against Buffalo, both teams could end up 10-6, with the Bills owning the tie-breaker having defeated them. That makes the game on Dec. 16th pretty crucial for both teams’ playoff hunt. Cleveland plays @ NY Jets, Buffalo, @ Cincinnati, and finishes at home against San Francisco. I see them winning at least two, maybe three of those, finishing 9-7 or 10-6. OUT of the playoffs.

Tennessee (7-5)
Tennessee has been quietly efficient this year. Like everyone else, they have fought through injuries, suspensions, and other roster changes to be two games above .500. Vince Young can win a game at any time, and their defense plays tough, too. They have some pretty difficult games on their remaining schedule, however. They start this week at home against San Diego, then @ Kansas City, home vs. the NY Jets, then finish @ Indianapolis. It seems very likely that they will lose at least two of those, and I think they lose three. That makes then 8-8, and OUT of the playoffs.

Buffalo (6-6)
That leaves the Bills. Our injury-riddled Bills who have been starting rookies and first-year players who have no NFL experience, and are at the bottom of the league statistically on both offense and defense… and yet, they are 6-6. And surprisingly, they Bills are in a pretty good spot. Their remaining schedule includes: home vs. Miami, @ Cleveland, NY Giants, then they finish @ Philadelphia.

Here’s the key. If the Bills win out, they will make the playoffs. Because winning out puts us at 10-6, AND includes beating Cleveland (who could then finish no better than 10-6) the Bills really “control their own destiny” as the saying goes. (Of course, Tennessee could disrupt that with a surprisingly good finish.)

So with that look at the schedules and the standings, and assuming the Bills can play smart, efficient, productive football for four straight games, the Bills look to be in pretty good shape for ending their playoff-less drought!

Every game counts, and the biggest one will be two weeks from now in Cleveland.

Go Bills!!