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Sunday, December 18, 2005
 
NFL Week 15 Sunday Games

And then there were none--no undefeated teams, that is. I was watching the Indy-SD game and was stunned that the Colts kept Manning in the game after first couple series of downs; that was a risky choice for Dungy. You know how it is; if the Colts go on to win the Super Bowl nobody would have criticized him for resting Manning after the first half, but for sure they would have criticized him brutally if Peyton had gotten hurt.

The Cardinals once again lived down to expectations, losing to the hapless Houston Texans (who may have blown their chances for the first pick in the draft). Last year the worst team in the league was San Francisco, and the Cardinals gave them their only two wins. SF is still one of the worst teams in the league but they gave Jacksonville quite a tussle today.

Washington flattened the Cowboys in the afternoon game, putting the 'Skins in decent position for the playoffs. They win any tie-breakers over Dallas and the Bears based on head-to-head wins and have a great 8-2 conference record which should serve them well against some of the other teams. They lost to Tampa Bay, so they don't want to be tied with the Bucs for the last slot. It would help them greatly if Chicago could beat Atlanta in the late game tonight.

Here's the playoff picture as it appears now:

AFC Playoff Seeds

1. Indianapolis (locked in)
2/3. Denver/Cincinnati Right now Denver has the better W/L percentage in the conference at 8-2.
4. New England. Cannot move down; unlikely to move up.
5. Jacksonville (virtually certain; they are a game ahead of the other teams contending for wild card spots and still have about as easy a schedule as can be imagined, despite their lackluster performance today).
6. Pittsburgh/San Diego/KC. The Steelers beat the Chargers in San Diego, so they have the edge. They also have a comparatively easy schedule, at Cleveland and home versus the Lions. The Bolts have to travel to KC and then host Denver. Kansas City is a game behind, but they could slip in if they win out and Pittsburgh loses a game.

NFC Playoff Seeds

1. Seattle: (virtually locked in; they need a win or a Chicago loss).

Still a scrum for the rest of the five playoff spots; nobody's in and a whole lotta teams are contending for five spots. The Giants and Carolina have 10 wins, which puts them in a much better position than Tampa Bay with 9 and Dallas, Washington, Minnesota and Atlanta (pending tonight) with 8. Chicago will have either 9 or 10 after tonight.

Controlling their own destiny: Chicago would take the #2 seed by winning out. As I write this though, that's a harder prospect for them because they have to win tonight's game as well. New York and Carolina look like they could get down to something called "Strength of Victory" which the tiebreaker rules shown here don't define.

Washington looks in good shape if Chicago beats Atlanta; otherwise they need help. If Chicago loses tonight, then Minnesota would be still alive for as high as the #4 seed.

Update: Chicago seems to be winning, so Washington now controls its own destiny; if they win out they will be in the playoffs.
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