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Second-Half Preview
PAUL ZIMMERMAN
November 15, 2004
Only three teams look like playoff shoo-ins to Dr. Z, who sees a scramble for the other nine berths with even some 3--5 teams in the hunt
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November 15, 2004

Second-half Preview

Only three teams look like playoff shoo-ins to Dr. Z, who sees a scramble for the other nine berths with even some 3--5 teams in the hunt

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NFC North The story of this division will be written on the medical reports: Brett Favre's sprained thumb versus Randy Moss's bad hamstring. Green Bay has won its last three. The teams meet twice in the next seven weeks. I favor the Pack, but I think both are playoff bound. Not so for Detroit, which is capable of really dreadful performances.

NFC South Looks like Atlanta and the Three Stooges, but I've got a feeling about Tampa Bay. I think the Bucs are one of the 3--5's that will sneak into the playoffs. They've won three of their last four, ever since Brian Griese emerged from the reject pile to become their starter, and Griese is playing the best football of his life. He has completed close to 70% of his passes, with six touchdowns and one pick.

NFC West Against New England the Rams looked hollow. They couldn't figure out a way to exploit a decimated Pats secondary, and they couldn't stop anything. Their defense has gone to hell. I think Seattle will beat them this Sunday. If that happens, the Rams would be 4--5, with a whole bunch of angry rivals snapping at their heels and two of those nasty cold-weather games coming up, at Buffalo and Green Bay. And look what happens if the Seahawks do score their upset over St. Louis: Seattle will have a two-game lead with home tests against Miami, Buffalo and Dallas on the horizon. I've got the Seahawks pegged as the No. 2 playoff seed behind Philly. The rest, I believe, will be a scramble.

Super Bowl It depends on where the Patriots and the Steelers meet in the AFC Championship Game, and what New England's injury situation is at the time. Whichever AFC team it is, I'll pick it to beat the Eagles in the Big One.

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