Tuesday, December 27, 2005

NFC Report: Week 17
By Zach

Well, I'm back in the Great Northwest to enjoy a bit of the holiday season with my friends and family here. Yesterday, I watched the Sonics beat the Celtics and got my hands on a Rashard Lewis jersey. Saturday, I'm going to the UW-Arizona basketball game. This is all my excuse as to why it's taken me so long to post this.

Well, this is it. One week left. Several of the teams have already secured their playoff bids, while a few are battling it out. Only seven teams remain to fill six spots, so all but one of these teams will be around next week.

The Road to the Super Bowl Goes Through...Seattle?

Seattle Seahawks (13-2)

Outlook: Well, they beat the Colts. Some will say that the Colts sat most of their stars, and they did. But the Seahawks still played a good game, and certainly took advantage of a Colts defense which still had most of the starters in. Regardless, they got the W and the all-important first seed in the NFC. They also happen to have the best record in football. Yeah, I didn't see that coming at the beginning of the year. Shaun Alexander got his 27th TD, so he should be able to break Priest Holmes' record against Green Bay. You'll be getting a full-fledged playoff preview next week when I get back to New York, but suffice to say there's only one team in the NFC that remotely worries me, and they're gonna have to come to Qwest Field if they wanna advance.

Remaining schedule: @GB

Number Two With a Bullet

Chicago Bears (11-4)

Outlook: As I said last week, this is the one team that worries me. They've got the defense to shut down most offensive attacks (though they did struggle at times agains the lowly Packers) and with Grossman under center their offense isn't a crime against Humanity. Still, they struggle to run the ball at times and still can be forced into bad turnovers. They'll be a tough matchup for anyone at home, but I have my doubts about a young team winning on the road.

Remaining schedule: @MIN

Masters of the Universe...I Mean Their Destiny

New York Giants (10-5)

Outlook: They got the crap kicked out of them in DC. I still half expect them to lose in Oakland. They're toast as soon as they go on the road in the playoffs. Still, this team has plenty to be excited about...in 2006. For now, they'll probably hang with a team until Eli throws a bad pick late in the game to sink the G-Men.

Remaining Schedule: @OAK

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)

Outlook: They almost certainly will be the NFC South champs and the #3 seed in the NFC. Their offense has looked surprisingly effective at times, now that Cadillac Williams has gotten healthy. Joey Galloway is a dangerous wideout, and that defense is one of the best in the league. Still, something just rubs me the wrong way about this team. Maybe it's the thought of Chris Simms under center in a playoff game (especially on the road). Jon Gruden should find out where Major Applewhite is, just in case.

Remaining Schedule: NO

Carolina Panthers (10-5)

Outlook: Schizophrenia, thy name is the Carolina Panthers, or as I like to call them, the Chargers-South. So much talent, so many confusing losses. Well actually, I think their talent level has been overestimated. They've got one great player on offense, a decent QB, and a terrible run game. Defensively, their secondary is strong but their front seven has struggled, much to my surprise. You've got to figure they're gonna win against the Falcons, but then again, with this squad you never know.

Remaining schedule: @ATL

Washington Redskins (9-6)

Outlook: With a Lazarus-like rise from the dead, the Skins have become my favorite sleeper team in the NFC. Their defense is playing great, and Mark Brunell (if healthy) has proven he can still quarterback in this league. Plus, Clinton Portis is running well, and Santana Moss is very fast. The other NFC team that worries me.

Remaining schedule: @PHI

Gimmie a "D", Gimmie a "U", Gimmie an "N!" What's That Spell?

Dallas Cowboys (9-6)

Outlook: A winnable game, but my feeling is it's not going to matter. This team may get to 10-6, but they're gonna be watching the playoffs from home. Not enough run game, too much Drew Bledsoe, and too many crushing losses late. Think they'd like that Washington game back?

Remaining schedule: STL


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