Shoe-in and maybe with a shoehorn
A few comments on the playoff status of the NFL teams I pull for based on this week's games, some obvious and maybe some wishful thinking. For only the third time in league history, the Eagles clinched a division title in 11 games with a convincing defeat of thw second-place Giants yesterday afternoon. Although this would normally be something to get excited about for us Philly fans, this simple fact is that until we play the NFC Championship game, it is business-as-usual.

As I've said to many a fan by Week 3, we are just waiting to get back there and have another crack at it. Although I will stop short of saying that a Super Bowl win will be the only way to validate the season, it would be more satisfying than getting the NFC Championship game monkey off our backs. However, I feel that if we do get over that hurdle, then we are going to win the big game, loosely based on what the Red Sox did after they beat the Yankees. Even though the Super Bowl represents a bigger challenge, if the Eagles win the Championship game (for the first time in over 20 years), then a great burden of expectation will be lifted, and we can then soar on the flapping wings of T.O.

(Also would like to take this opportunity to thank the Redskins for making this title even easier than the last three. Also, I should note that after 11 games, Joe Gibbs has yet to get as many victories as Joe Paterno.)

But, against who? The Patriots? The Steelers? The Colts? This year, the AFC is a much tougher conference record-wise, and there are many teams in the hunt for a playoff spot. Maybe it's sentimentality, maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's just rooting for the underdog, or maybe it's just stealing Jaquandor's thunder, but after the Bills crushed Seattle at home this week for yet another sound victory, I think they have a chance. Yes, they are 5-6 right now, but let me list some factors which have compelled me to spout like a madman:
  • They have the weakest remaining schedule in the AFC; the total number of wins of their next four opponents is 10.
  • The offense is finally playing up to their defense, with McGahee running wild and Bledsoe not wetting the bed.
  • In order for the Bills to get a wild card, they will need some help (read: choking) from the teams with better records; this weekend went a long way towards that with the Jags and Broncos both losing to go 7-4, only two games ahead of Buffalo.
Of course, the final game of the season is against the Steelers (in Buffalo), and I think that the Bills might just be playing for their playoff lives in that game.

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