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The Main Race
Much like what the Bills are doing in the AFC, the Seahawks (9-2) look to clinch a playoff spot for the 2nd year in a row. The only losses of the season came from divisional foe, Arizona at 24-30, and a loss at Carolina by score of 34-38. Going forward, the key guys for this strong Seattle team look to be Marshawn Lynch (1,184 yds and 9 td's on the ground), Gronk (735 yds and 12 td's), and Victor Cruz (651 yds and 6 td's). Also, Bruce Irvin is laughing at the idea of a sophomore slump as he has already totaled 21 sacks through 11 games. Look for this team to finish 14-2 and clinch home field advantage in the NFC.
There are three other teams behind Seattle that look like front-runners for the NFC playoffs. These teams include Dallas (8-2), Arizona (7-3), and Carolina (7-3). Respectively, these teams will need strong showings from their breakout players such as Demarco Murray (1,375 yds and 14 td's) in Dallas, Phillip Rivers (3,704 yds and 30 td's) in Arizona, and Greg Olsen (712 yds and 5 td's) in Carolina. On their heels, we have Minnesota (6-4), Atlanta (6-4), Chicago (6-4), New Orleans (7-4), and Philadelphia (6-4). These teams are all in the right spot to make the playoffs, but they will have to get hot at the end of the season if they want to reach their goal. Some key match ups that will determine who makes it include the following:
Week 12: PHI/DAL
Week 13: ATL/CHI, ARI/PHI, DAL/BUF
Week 14 MIN/CHI
Week 15: ARI/PIT, ATL/HOU
Week 16: CHI/ARI, NO/PHI
Week 17: CAR/NO, SEA/PHI, ARI/DAL
It doesn't look good for Arizona, but our experts predict that the defending NFC champs will get through this tough end of the season schedule and make another appearance in the NFC championship.
Down but not out..
Two teams still hold on to their hopes of making the playoffs if they can get things going. Detroit (4-6) needs Megatron to dominate these last 6 games like he has all season long (1,223 yds and 10 td's). This guy can be untouchable, but will the coaching staff recognize this and get him the ball in crunch time?
Washington (4-6) also has a small chance to sneak into the playoffs. The big question here is whether or not RG3 can get his TD:INT ratio back where it needs to be. If he can do that, this team has that powerful run game led by Michael Bush and Roy Helu Jr., that can win them these last 6 games.
Remember to check back in when we advance to get the latest from around the league. We will be closely looking at how the playoff picture is shaping up in both divisions, but this NFC race looks like it's going to get interesting.