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The way I see it...(Long Read)

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; There are so many different scenarios that can be played out here with just six weeks to go in the season. The stretch run for the playoffs could turn this year into a complete enigma. There are now nine teams ...

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:37 AM   #1
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The way I see it...(Long Read)

There are so many different scenarios that can be played out here with just six weeks to go in the season. The stretch run for the playoffs could turn this year into a complete enigma. There are now nine teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs in the NFC and MAYBE two dark horse teams with a slight chance at still making it (Washington and Detroit). The key to some of these teams chances depend on injuries and how long certain key players may be out of action. With Cutler out against the Niners tonight, they could drop down to a tie with the Packers (Packers would hold the edge because of winning the first contest between the two) depending on if Jason Campbell can do just enough to move the offense. You can't count out the Bears defense, though. The Niners, however, may be playing without Alex Smith, too. They may have to go with Colin Kaepernick at QB to make this a battle of the back-up QB's. I would look for a low-scoring game here. Atlanta isn't a lock for the #1 seed in the NFC anymore, mainly looking at their last two games. The Saints knocked them from the ranks of the undefeated and Mr. Elite, Matt Ryan, threw five picks against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. There has to be cause for some concern in Falcon Land, because their offensive running game making them completely one-dimensional. Their run defense isn't much better and now with the possibility of Asante Samuel missing time with a shoulder injury, they could get lit up by a team with a good, or even average, offense. They were fortunate enough to be playing the Cardinals who have the passing attack equivalent to passing a kidney stone...utterly painful.

Here is a look at the teams left in the NFC who are playing .500 or better and how I see them playing out the rest of the year. I didn't include the dark horse teams, because after seeing their remaining schedule, I think Washington could finish 7-9 at best, and Detroit would be lucky to win one or two more games, giving them a 10-loss season.




Falcons (9-1, 5-1 NFC): @TAM, NO, @CAR, NYG, @DET, TAM

Bears (7-2, 4-1 NFC) : @SF, MIN, SEA, @MIN, GB, @ARZ, @DET

Packers (7-3, 5-2 NFC) : @NYG, MIN, DET, @CHI, TEN, @MIN

49ers (6-2-1, 4-2-1 NFC) : CHI, @NO, @STL, MIA, @NE, @SEA, ARZ

Seahawks (6-4, 4-4 NFC) : @MIA, @CHI, ARZ, @BUF, SF, STL

Bucs (6-4, 3-4 NFC) : ATL, @DEN, PHI, @NO, STL, @ATL

Vikings (6-4, 4-3 NFC) : @CHI, @GB, CHI, @STL, @HOU, GB

Dallas (5-5, 4-4 NFC): WAS, PHI, @CIN, PIT, NO, @WAS

Saints (5-5, 3-3 NFC): SF, @ATL, @NYG, TAM, @DAL, CAR


Falcons: On paper, their remaining teams' records on their schedule is below .500, but that doesn't mean this team is a lock to win any of them. Their performance against the Cardinals yesterday was one of the worst performances any team has even put up this season, yet they still come away with the win, because....well, it's the Cardinals. Tampa is playing great ball lately, especially on offense. I could easily see them splitting the two games against the Falcons, and maybe even a sweep. The Saints are always going to play UP against the Falcons and they have owned the Falcons over the last several years. The Giants game is the key here. Which Eli Manning is going to show up? The playoff run Manning or the one that has been on the field the last several weeks? I still think the Giants win it, but it could be a toss up. Carolina and Detroit are probably wins.

Prediction: The wheels fall off of the bandwagon and the Falcons end the season on a 2-4 stretch, knocking them from the #1 see in the playoffs, finishing the season at 11-5. This will probably be just enough to win the NFC South, depending on how Tampa and New Orleans finishes out the season.

Bears: With still seven games to play, including tonight's game at San Francisco, the Bears have a favorable schedule. As I stated before, this all depends on the health of Jay Cutler and how he comes back from his concussion. Tonight's playing field is leveled, however, with Kaepernick most likely starting for the Niners. Cutler should be back next week, though. They still have four tough division games left to play with one of them against the Packers in Green Bay and two games against the best RB in football, Adrian Peterson.

Prediction
: I see the Bears finishing off the season (including tonight's game) at 5-2, giving them a 12-4 season.

Packers: The Packers are the hottest team in the NFC right now with five straight wins. They SHOULD be 8-2 right now, but the Monday Night Football debacle is playing a pivotal role in their season right now. It could ultimately determine the outcome of the NFC North and the #1 see in the playoffs. They have a tough stretch of games coming up, because their defense is still not great, but you can never count out Aaron Rodgers. They still have four division games remaining, and even though they are 2-0 so far in the NFC North, division foes always play seem to play up for them. I think the key to the rest of their season lies in two games, however. Next week, they are on the road against the Giants and in Week 15, they are on the road against the Bears.

Prediction: I see the Packers finishing the season on this stretch at 5-1, giving them an overall record of 12-4. The loss will come at the hands of the Giants or the Bears. Whichever team they lose to will be the deciding factor on if they get the #1 seed in the NFC or the #5 Wild Card spot.

49ers: The Niners aren't as good as advertised before the season started, mainly because Alex Smith has regressed from last season. He can have a couple of huge games, a few average games, and throw up a couple of duds (see NY Jets and NY Giants games). Their saving grace has been their defense and the fact they are playing in the NFC West. Even though they will still probably win that division, the tie they had against the Rams is probably the game that is going to determine their seeding in the playoffs. Their remaining schedule isn't very favorable for them, either. They are on the road at New Orleans, New England and Seattle. They are also playing a tough Bears defense tonight with Alex Smith possibly not playing.

Prediction: I see the Niners going 4-3 in their final seven games, giving them an overall record of 10-5-1. They will probably get a first round home game in a Wild Card match-up.

Seahawks
: The Seahawks are possibly the biggest surprise of the NFC this year. Even though they were aided by the MNF game against the Packers, they still have a nasty defense, a Top 5 running back in Marshawn Lynch, and a rookie QB who seems to do just enough to get them wins. The remainder of their season is favorable for them with games against the Dolphins, Bills, Rams and Cardinals. Their two toughest games will come against the Niners and Bears.

Prediction: The Seahawks finish the season at 4-2, giving them an overall record of 10-6 which is the record that could make this season an enigma. This may or may not be good enough to get them in the playoffs.

Bucs: Tampa Bay is playing some great football lately on the offensive side of the ball and is the most improved team in the NFC after last years shambles. Since their loss to New Orleans at home, they have rolled off four straight wins and they have scored no less than 27 points in their last six games. The question will be if their defense can keep the opposition out of the end zone. Their remaining schedule is brutal, however, with two games against the Falcons and road games against the Broncos and Saints. The key to their playoff hopes rests in the games against the Falcons. If they sweep, they may make it as a wild card. If they split, they watch the playoffs from home.

Prediction
: The Bucs finish off the season at 3-3, giving them an overall record of 9-7. Close, but no cigar.

Vikings: The Vikings are another team that is vastly improved this year, but their remaining schedule is probably the toughest of any of the NFC playoff contenders. Their defense is better than last year, and Adrian Peterson has had a monster season after coming back from that ACL tear late last year. However, they still have two games against the Bears and the Packers and one against Houston and and Christian Ponder is still their quarterback. I don't think any team would want to be in their shoes right now.

Prediction: Complete collapse. The Vikings finish the season 1-5, giving them an overall record of 7-9. Maybe next year, Vikings.

Dallas: The only reason I put Dallas in here is because they are 5-5, but you never know what to expect out of this team and their quarterback, Tony Romo. Jason Garrett has to be one of the worst play-calling coaches in the NFL, yet they still seem to hover in playoff talks until the end of the year. They still have three division games left to play, plus games against the Saints, Steelers and Bengals. While the Saints and Steelers games are both at home, Jerry World has not been a lock for a Cowboys win in the past.

Prediction: The Cowboys finish their stretch run at 2-4, giving them a 7-9 season for the year. No playoffs for the Cowboys again.

New Orleans
: After that dismal 0-4 start, the Saints have gotten back to their winning ways. Winning five of their last six has them trolling at the bottom of the possible playoff contenders, when seven weeks ago, the thought was just absurd. Their defense is still allowing big numbers, but the key is that they are forcing turnovers and clamping down in the red zone. The offense has really started to gel again since the running game has vastly improved. You can never, EVER count out a Drew Brees-led team. Their next four games are going to determine their fate this season. The Niners, Falcons, Giants and Bucs are all going to be tough, but the Saints almost always seem to play up for the upper echelon of the NFL.

Prediction: I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. This is where the homer in me comes out. Saints finish the season 5-1, giving them an overall record of 10-6, but will it be enough for them to reach the playoffs? Even if it isn't, it still becomes a successful season after Bountygate, two interim coaches and an 0-4 start.

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:43 AM   #2
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

Think how amazing a 10-6 season would be after starting 0-4, one game at a time fellas

We have unfinished business with the 49ers, this time at our home!
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

I'm hoping for this scenario...

Atlanta gets the #1 seed, Saints sneak in as the #6.

We win our 1st round game against someone like SF or NYG.

We then travel to the Georgia Circus Tent and stomp that ass for a 3rd time.

I'd much rather play there instead of Chicago. Hopefully somone will knock off Chicago before the NFCCG.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:02 AM   #4
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

Nice write up. Of, course, for the the SAINTS the next three games will tell all. There's no reason we can't win all three, but we can afford to lose one. If we lose to the rest of the way, lots of help will be needed.

Henceforth, I'll be rooting for any AFC team playing NFC and for any NFC Division leader playing an NFC team with .500 record or better.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:32 AM   #5
 
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

All good..... as long as we're drinking the Kool-Aid, here's to hoping for 10 straight wins!
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:01 AM   #6
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

We'll see, the true tests are in the next three.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

I'm drinking the "Win Out" Kool-Aid. If somehow the falcons manage to drop 4 more games, that gives us the division crown. We won 8 straight last year to cap off the regular season andnone of the remaining games on our schedule is unwinnable, so with a little luck and continued progress we can do it and I think 11-5 gets us in the playoffs, as at least a WC.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

Giants?
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:20 PM   #9
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

Originally Posted by saintsfan1313 View Post
Giants?
I didn't even realize that I didn't put them in there. I'll make this one quick.

Prediction: Giants win the NFC East and get a Wild Card home game with a 3-3 record to close out the season, giving them an overall record of 9-7.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:45 PM   #10
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Re: The way I see it...(Long Read)

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
All good..... as long as we're drinking the Kool-Aid, here's to hoping for 10 straight wins!
I'm putting vodka in my Kool-Aid.
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