Five In, Five Out
Every year, five to six teams end up missing out on the playoffs that were in the year before. Parity for you. Lately, the NFC has had more churn than the AFC which has stayed more constant, but with the reduced offseason, it's hard to say what impact they'll be. Who you've got?
1. Kansas City - Easiest of the bunch. Already hit by some injuries, may end up sliding to third behind Oakland.
2. Seattle - Almost as easy, but as the NFC West is determined by who manages to screw up the least, you never know.
3. Chicago - Surprising that they did so well last year. However, the other three teams in the division should be better.
4. Indianapolis - Peyton's an unknown, but they've already started slipping after a decade of being in the playoffs.
5. Atlanta - The big pick. Atlanta do not typically string two playoff seasons together and their main issues in the offseason didn't seem to get sorted. TB are a good team and New Orleans look like the strongest in the division. They'll finish above the Bucs, but may end up being on the outside looking in when it comes to the wildcard.
Bonus: 6. Pittsburgh - Steelers haven't made the playoffs after the Superbowl the last two or three times. Typically, one team from the previous SB doesn't make the playoffs the following year though that was broken last year with NO and Ind. GB won the SB despite tons of injuries and have a good, young side. If either of the two fail, it's Pittsburgh even with the schedule.
1. San Diego - Straight swap with KC. Missed out due to bizarre malfunctions. Should be back this year.
2. St Louis - Most likely to oust Seattle. Arizona'll be close, but Kolb? Does anyone trust him?
3. Detroit - Be a wildcard, but eventually they've got to be back in the playoffs, surely? A lot of it depends on health.
4. Houston - The every year pick. With the state of that division which is hurtling downhill in a hurry (at least for this year), it's now or never for the Texans.
5. Dallas - Wanted to pick the Giants, but too many injuries already for them. Cowboys are still better than the Redskins. Sneak in as a wildcard before being bounced out.
Bonus: 6. Oakland - In the event that the Steelers miss out, another wildcard'll take their place. Cleveland aren't good enough yet (and I don't need to mention the other Ohio team), AFC South is too messy and the AFC East... well, that's putting faith in Buffalo or Miami. I suppose Miami's an outside possibility, but that would require some luck to go their way. By process of elimination, Oakland's the biggest possibility.