Talking playoffs: Who's in? And who'll be left in cold?
Posted: Monday December 5, 2005 9:34AM; Updated: Monday December 5, 2005 12:22PM
Falcons quarterback Michael Vick fell to the Panthers for the first time in six career starts on Sunday.
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's beginning to look a lot like the playoffs. I know. I had to shovel three inches of snow off my driveway before heading to Giants Stadium on Sunday morning.
Don't you love this time of the season? It's what's fun about the NFL. Do or die. The stretch run might end up being the most predictable in NFL history this season. Why? No upsets. Over the last couple of weeks barely any underdogs have won. Fifteen games were played this weekend. The favorites won 13. I'd hardly call the other two games upsets. Pittsburgh was favored over Cincinnati, but it's becoming obvious the Steelers really aren't the Steelers right now. And Denver was favored over Kansas City by a whisker, which might be the funniest line of the year since Kansas City has won 16 consecutive home games in December.
If form holds (it usually doesn't, but this looks like a chalk year), then we ought to make some late-season judgments. Let's see where we stand with three quarters in the books, heading into the last four games.
This morning's headlines:
Pittsburgh's in big, big trouble. Not to win the AFC North. To make the playoffs.
Atlanta's in big, big trouble. Not to win the NFC South. To make the playoffs.
Jacksonville is going to knock a very good team out of the postseason.
Kansas City will have to go 3-1 against four contenders to make the playoffs.
The Vikings, great story that they are, likely have to finish with a nine-game winning streak to make it. You know what? They can.
Let's flesh out those stories and more.
Buckle up. It's going to get bumpy.
East: The Patriots aren't the three-peaters we've come to admire, but there will have to be a collapse of GeneMauchian proportions for this team to not host a wild-card game on Jan. 7. New England (7-5) would have to go 1-3 down the stretch against teams with a combined 19-29 record and Miami (5-7) would have to win out, including a KO of the Patriots in Foxboro on New Year's Day. Not happening. New England is pretty much locked in as the AFC's No. 4 seed.