Real Deal (Football) Report – Playoff Predictions

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  A little late, but still timely, I hope!

First, a recap of some of last weeks key game action to get us where we are!

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Football) Report – Playoff Predictions

Dallas Cowboys 248, New York Giants 231: How many games of the week this year have included one of these top two teams in the league?  And how much do you want to bet that these two teams meet in the NFC title game?  Delanie Walker returned with a bang for the Cowboys, scoring 30 points, to lead a well-rounded 142 point offensive performance for the Cowboys and overcome a 41 point explosion by Justin “didn’t he used to suck for the Seahawks a while back” Forsett.  This game wasn’t terribly meaningful except as a bragging rights game, but congratulations to the Giants and Cowboys for their sheer consistency this season.

Oakland Raiders 220, Kansas City Chiefs 179: On to games with real playoff implications.  A huge game for Oakland which has now won 3 straight to claim the final wild card spot, and seems to be looking stronger every week.  In fact, this week 12 performance was Oakland’s highest point total of the year.  The Raiders young offensive players are all turning it up at the right time, with Jordan Matthews capitalizing on the Eagles QB change, Andre Holmes and De’Anthony Thomas scoring consistent points, and Josh “Arma-Gordon” returning with a resounding 31 points on 16 targets.  Oakland did all this despite a terrible 2 point ball-drop by Mike Vick, who was promptly replaced by Shaun Hill for the play-offs.  This team is going to be a super hard out having gotten hot at exactly the right time.

Denver Broncos 229, Miami Dolphins 176: And look who else appears to be rounding into shape at exactly the right time?  The flying geriatric Peytons have been surprisingly mediocre much of the year despite their 11-5 record, finishing only 15th in total points.  But this 146 point offensive performance wasn’t surprising.  It wasn’t even out of character.  This offense can have this kind of game just about any time – and if they do in the playoffs, they will be a hard out.

On the other side of the football, its a game of inches.  A game of inches.  After this drubbing by Denver, Miami fell to 9-7, losing out on the wild card spot to Oakland.  But let’s keep in mind that Miami lost a pair of games, each by less than 2 points early in the year.  One of those games was a week five loss to those same Oakland Raiders, 141-140.  One point.  You reverse that one, single, week 5 point and Miami is in the playoffs.  Fantasy Football can be a cruel, cruel game.

Onto our playoff predictions (which come, it should be noted for honesty, in the midst of the Lions / Bears game):


#3 Kansas City vs. #6 Oakland:

Prediction: Oakland

Always ride the hot hand.  And avoid the injured one.  Oakland comes rolling into the playoffs on a streak, and has strong matchups for key players, including Jordan Matthews, Eddie Lacy, and Josh Gordon.  The Chiefs, on the other hand, have red flags on Jordan Cameron, Jordan Reed, and Eric Berry, and big question marks around other underperforming offensive players.  I predict this one will be very close, and that Josh Gordon won’t score 31 again – but that in the end, Oaklandh as enough firepower to win their fourth and move on.

#4 Indianapolis vs. #5 Denver:

Prediction: Indianapolis

Let me tell you a little secret about the Washington Redskins Defense.  I’ll whisper it for you: “It’s not very good at stopping pass plays”.  Andrew Luck is mad.  He’s cranky.  He’s playing Washington.  He’s going to throw for 8 billion yards.  And he’s going to do it to TY Hilton.  Indy is also due – it’s been a rough last three weeks – and I just have a feeling that this week looks like an explosion for the Colts.  Meanwhile, Denver just had its explosion.  I predict a regression to the mean for the Broncos offense (which is still good, but not 140 points good), and Indy knocks Denver out of the playoffs for the second straight year.

NFC Playoffs:

#3 New Orleans vs. #6 New York Giants:

Prediction: New York Giants

Seeding and tie-breakers are so weird.  The New York Giants finished as the #2 scoring team in RDFL this year – and it wasn’t close.  They scored 3453 points.  By contrast, Oakland (lowest scoring playoff team) scored only 2674.  But the Giants have the #6 seed in the NFC by virtue of playing in the same division as Dallas and losing both Head to Heads to Philadelphia.  And the team that is most upset about that?  New Orleans.  What a reward for fighting off the Falcons and winning their division.  Look, this game could go either way.  New Orleans is a fantastic football team and that offense is finally completely healthy.  But I can’t pick against NYG.  At least I can’t until they play Philly or Dallas again.

#4 Seattle vs. #5 Philadelphia:

Prediction: Seattle

So this is the pick I feel least comfortable with.  The Seahawks have absolutely backed into the playoffs at 8-8 and just lost to the Arizona “We tried SO HARD to tank this year and just couldn’t quite make it work” Cardinals.  And they face a very tough matchup with the real football 49ers this week, which should further depress player values.  And the Eagles, on the other side, are playing well and just picked up Colin Kaepernick to further improve their team.

But I have a feeling.  This is the sort of game that screams Philadelphia.  And it reminds me of that game a few years again where the 7-9 NFC West winning Seahawks got a home game against the Saints and beast-moded them into the ground.  I think that happens here.  I think Seattle gets some great efforts this week, and knocks off Philadelphia – simply because absolutely everything says they should not.

Good luck this week everyone, and Happy Turkey Day!!!


Real Deal (Football) Report – Week 11 Recap

And then there was one.  Only one more week left to go in the regular season.  But it’s going to be a fun one!  Why do I say that?  Fully 10/32 teams will be playing meaningful games this week, and that is aside from those who have already clinched a certain seed and those duking it out for an early pick.  It’s never a bad thing when fully half of the teams in a league are still alive in the final week of the season.

On to our penultimate recap!

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Football) Report – Week 11 Recap

Game of the Week: Green Bay Packers 223, Philadelphia Eagles 184

So I’m a smart-ass.  But let this post prove that I don’t let my smart-assery get in the way of at least mediocre fantasy sports journalism.  Had I been, I would have selected Jacksonville 98 – NYJ 85.  And I’m also not a sadistic person who delights in the pain and misfortune of others.  Had I been, I would have selected Carolina 181 – Atlanta 177, a brutal elimination game for the plucky and rising Falcons.

But I am neither of those things.  I’m bona fide.  Damn right.  So I choose this one – a meaningful NFC game with nice performances from both teams.  My take-away from this game is that the Trifecta of Rodgers / Nelson / Charles is going to be really hard to beat.  The trio combined for 98 points, overshadowing a thoroughly mediocre effort from the rest of the offense which included a -2 from the likely soon to be cut Marcus Thigpen.  On the other side of the ball, despite disappointing performances from Shady McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Robert Griffin the Benched (Esquire), the Eagles actually lost this game on the defensive side of the ball with 62 points.  Losing DeMeco Ryans may prove to be a significant blow to this team.

Stock Rising:

Oakland Raiders: How about them Raiders?  9-6 with Josh Gordon coming back for the final game of the season, and their two wild card rivals, Miami and Denver, squaring off across the way.  If Oakland wins and Denver can beat Miami, the Raiders will sneak into the playoffs and be looking very good.  Add in Mark Sanchez’s infatuation with rookie Jordan Matthews (65 combined points in the two games Sanchez has started), and the Raiders are going to be a very tough out.

Dallas Cowboys: Can their stock really rise?  The answer is absolutely yes.  Any time a team clinches the conference’s top seed and a playoff bye with a week to go, it counts.  It particularly counts in the ultra-tough NFC East, a conference that still looks almost certain to send three teams to the playoffs.  So long as the Cowboys can avoid injury to Romo and DeMarco Murray, they will enter the playoffs as the odds-on favorite in the NFC.  Absolutely no quit in this team all year long, and an admirable run of consistency.

Chicago Bears: Remember how at the beginning of the year, I thought the Bears were going to be outstanding?  And how I thought they were going to give Green Bay and Detroit a run for their money?  They didn’t so much show up over the first half of the season, and their playoff hopes were done early.  But LOOK AT THE LAST TWO WEEKS – a Combined 449 points across two weeks.  That pace across the season would have WON the NFC North.  So what’s happened?  The DEFENSE has showed up, with two consecutive hundred point weeks led by the suddenly immortal Chris Borland.  The Bears will return this core last year – and these last two weeks have set the rest of the league on notice that this will be a contendah next year!

Honorable Mentions: New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns

Stock Falling: Hearbreaking section this week… I’m sorry guys 🙁

Houston Texans:  Ouch.  A game effort by the Texans all year has kept them within striking distance of the AFC South crown, and a loss by Indianapolis to the suddenly rising Patriots left Houston’s window of opportunity wide, wide open.  But the Texans ran into a Browns team revved to play spoiler, and lost by 40.  With both tie-breakers with Indy going against them, it was an elimination game for Houston, who will now try to parley Andre Johnson into some young guys who can get him over the top in 2015.

Atlanta Falcons:  Another team with a loss they couldn’t afford, the Falcons didn’t QUITE get enough from Zach Mettenberger to put them over the top, losing by four to the spoiler Panthers.  Due to a brutal tie-breaker draw, the Falcons are on the outside looking in this year despite some impressive wheeling and dealing to turn around last year’s brutal squad.  Even more galling for the Falcons was two defenders posting goose eggs, an ill-timed injury to Arian “Australian for Running Back” Foster, and a kicker bye-week that probably proved the difference between a win and a loss.  Brutal luck, but the Falcons will be back strong next season – provided Foster and Roddy are too.

Seattle Seahawks: Hard to put a team with an inside track to the playoffs in this camp, but a 50 point dud of a week 11 loss has left the door open for divisional rival San Francisco to make a move.  There are a couple of saving grace’s to this particular rough spell, though.  First, the loss happened without Jason Witten, Eric Decker, and Percy Harvin, all of whom are back next week.  More to the point, the Seahawks only need to win at Arizona to clinch the West (or not get outscored by SF by 60) – so that playoff door is not actually all that open…

Dishonorable Mentions: Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints

Games of the Week:  For all that it is the last week of the year and elimination games abound… most of them are not very good.

Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos – Now THIS is a playoff game.  Denver is almost certainly already in, and Miami can get in with a win.  But playoff seeding is at stake, and if Miami loses, they will need to hope and pray for an Oakland / KC win.  There’s a softer element at play for both sides too, as neither have put together a truly strong performance for a few weeks, and while sometimes a team goes crazy in the playoffs after backing in, you always want to have a little momentum on your side.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders – The other big game in the AFC, this one is huge for Oakland and irrelevant for the Chiefs, which have locked up the #3 seed in the playoffs regardless of what happens in this one.  For Oakland, though, a win, coupled with a Miami loss, would put the silver and black in the playoffs.  Just as important, Oakland needs to see how Josh Gordon will return, and whether or not Jordan  Matthews and Mike Vick can continue to put up the numbers.  Oakland could be out by Friday morning.  Or they could be in the Super Bowl.  We’ll see!

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants – Does it matter for the playoffs?  Not all that much.  But does it matter for bragging rights?  ABSOLUTELY!  If this was College Football circa 1980, this would be the Orange Bowl, and we’d be voting on a national champion coming out of this one.  The Cowboys have the most points in RDFL this year with 3,234.  The New York Giants are second, EXACTLY TWELVE POINTS BEHIND.  NUTS.  This could become one of the craziest rivalries in RDFL, and I for one can’t wait to see round #2!

Good luck everyone – especially those of you still fighting for playoff spots!


Real Deal (Basketball) Report: Recap Periods 1-5

Well, the first few weeks came with some surprises for sure. There are three 10-1 teams, three 1-10 teams and a 0-11 team, so parity has not exactly been a feature of this league thus far. Here’s what the playoff picture would be if the season ended today:

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Basketball) Report: Recap Periods 1-5

1. Orlando (10-1)
2. Miami (9-2)
3. Cleveland (9-2)
4. Charlotte (9-2)
5. Atlanta (7-4)
6. Washington (6-5)
7. Toronto (6-5)
8. Brooklyn (6-5)
And every other team is under .500. Not exactly a hot start for the East (art imitates life, etc.).
1. Sacramento (10-1)
2. Houston (10-1)
3. Memphis (7-4)
4. Dallas (7-4)
5. Golden State (6-5)
6. OKC (6-5)
7. Minnesota (6-5)
8. Portland/Clippers (6-5)
Early on in the season, yes, but just like in real life, it looks like the bottom half of the East teams will be limping into the playoffs while there will be 10 or 11 West teams fighting for a postseason spot. It should be interesting to watch – will the East catch up? Who will stay healthy and emerge as top dog in the West?
Below, join me as I divulge into some way-too-early observations about where we will stand six months from now.
1. Sacramento Kings
The gamble has paid off! What a season Kobe is having, even if it is to the detriment of his real team. Rudy Gay has not fallen off one bit and this team’s bigs (Boogie, RoLo) can bang down low with the best of them. The bad boys team is one of the best in this league and perhaps the one I dread facing most.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers

We all expected this. Despite LeBron’s slow start. Move along. The big concern for this team right now its depth – just take a look at that bench – but a team with LeBron and Melo has no excuse not to be near the top.
3. Orlando Magic
This squad proves what we all suspected in the preseason: having a stacked frontcourt is everything in this league. Vucevic is a revelation in a double-double league, and the resurgence of Pau Gasol has been a boon. Throw in infamous first overall pick Greg Monroe and this team is scary. This team seems to have contributions from pretty much everywhere – guys like PJ Tucker, Mike Dunleavy and Chris Kaman have been big for Orlando. I’m sure the team is happy to have Oladipo back, but will he and Evan Fournier (who’s also been very good) eat up too many of each other’s minutes?
4. Miami Heat

The team has earned a reputation in Real Deal as a wily dealer. Darren Collison has been a very pleasant surprise (surprising to me, at least) and Chris Bosh is the man. I was wrong about this team – expect them to be among the top teams in the East come springtime.
5. Houston Rockets
Led by superstars James Harden and Joakim Noah, this team’s quality is its depth. Guys like Mario Chalmers, Wes Matthews, Chris Copeland, Mo Williams and Harrison Barnes have really stepped it up. The biggest question for this team is if those guys can maintain their successes – Houston’s playoff hopes hinge on that, as it’s unlikely Harden can carry a team on his own in this league.
6. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are right at the top along with two other teams in my division (sigh) led by…Tony Wroten?! Guys like Andrew Bogut and Perry Jones have stepped it up bigtime, but I’d be nervous if these were my best performers next to Jefferson and Kemba. Charlotte looks good for now, but I wonder if the team will end up disappointed after a hot start.
30. Philadelphia: The tank is in effect, it seems, after that big Dirk trade. Missing that first round pick back in the summer pretty much cost this team the 2014-15 season, and now the tank race is on between Philly and Indiana. It should be interesting to see what other players Philly sells off this season – Anthony Morrow, Chandler Wilson and Channing Frye are all great trade bait.
29. Indiana: Tank is a go. With four rookies in the starting lineup, it will at least be fun for the Pacers to watch the youngsters grow. What’s not so fun right now is that only two players are averaging more than 20 fantasy points per game.
28. Boston: Kind of saw this one coming. Rondo has bounced back very nicely, but aside from Terrence Jones, there’s really not much worth looking at.
27. Phoenix: Injuries, man. Aside from the high-profile loss of Russell Westbrook, this team has also seen only very limited action from Rodney Stuckey and Amir Johnson, and it looks like Brandon Knight and Taj Gibson probably won’t be enough to carry this team. Phoenix needs to make some moves or hope for a miracle in order to get back in the playoff hunt in a stacked West after a 1-10 start.
26. Milwaukee: I still believe this team can succeed, but boy it’s been a rough start. Glen Rice Jr., Ray McCallum and John Henson have all been total duds, and behind Kyrie and Ibaka, this team is really lacking. Some of us (me, whoops) thought the young talents would blow up, but it’s not looking so hot now. There’s still time for them to grow, though, but by then the other teams in the East may have distanced themselves too much.
1. Anthony Davis: 24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.3 ST, 4.1 BLK, 56.1 FG%, 76.9 FT%
Lookin’ at dat stat line. A monster. There’s no other way to put it. He’ll finish as Real Deal MVP easily unless he gets hurt.
2. James Harden: 25.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.7 ST, 1.0 BLK, 90.5 FT%, 2.0 3PG
I see you, James. Harden is improving each and every year, and though his shooting has been a little off, he’s getting to the line so easily nowadays that you can bank 10-15 points just on free throws every night. Those rebounding numbers are nice, too, along with the assist.
3. LeBron James: 27.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.3 ST
Return of the king? Not just yet in the NBA, and maybe not in Real Deal. Though his scoring hasn’t really dwindled, that famous Bron-Bron efficiency isn’t quite there yet this season. One might expect better assist numbers, too, but you really can’t complain about that stat line.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Paul, Steph Curry, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Nikola Vucevic, Pau Gasol
Reggie Jackson: Stay out as long as you want, Russ. The kid is special – I knew there was a reason I traded up.
Tony Wroten: I guess somebody’s gotta do the scoring.
Deron Williams: This name isn’t really a sleeper, but he’s actually putting up really good numbers after a few disastrous seasons.
Darren Collison: Some people saw it coming, some didn’t. I didn’t.
Draymond Green: Not really a sleeper considering everyone was praising this pick as a steal during the summer, but even the biggest Dray fans probably didn’t expect 13/7/3 to go along with a steal, a block and 2 threes per game on 47% shooting and 41% from beyond the arc. Wow. And there’s this:
Kelly Olynyk: One of the few bright spots on a pretty lame Boston squad. 60% shooting with over a 3 per game. Not bad, Kelly.
And that’s it! Until next time, folks. Leave your comments below if you’re so inclined. I’m also taking suggestions for columns/segments you’d like to see in these things! So if you have any ideas, please let me know about them!


Real Deal (Football) Report – Week 10 Recap

I’m back, after a work-driven week 9 hiatus.

My first reaction after checking this week’s scores: I should have taken a week 10 hiatus.  My goodness, we SUCKED this week.  Almost all of us.  League wide.

14/32 teams scored under 150 points, compared to just 5/32 who went over 200.  Multiple teams scored a season LOW in points.  And it wasn’t just eliminated teams – playoff hopefuls like Indianapolis, Kansas City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, Houston and San Francisco all underachieved badly.  Here’s hoping we can do better as a collective league in week 11!

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Football) Report – Week 10 Recap

Game of the Week: New York Giants 192, Seattle Seahawks 178.

So I have to tell you – it really does gall me to select a game of the week where neither team scored over 200 points.  But this was the closest, most impactful game of the week.  What other choices were there?  Dallas plastering a teetering Jacksonville team?  The Packers played well in a well-fought 232-207 win over… the Bears.  New Orleans beat San Francisco in another meaningful game… by 85.

No, this game had both the importance and the drama we look for in a game of the week – just not the massive point outputs.  The story of this game was simple – Beast Mode can’t play no defense!  Marshawn Lynch single-handedly kept the Seahawks in the game with a 46 point explosion.  And the defense eleven-handedly fumbled the game away with a rather pathetic 51 point effort.  The Giants, meanwhile, struck gold in pick-up Justin Forsett (25 points) and won the defensive battle handily (89 points) to provide the difference.  Put in another way, Ryan Mundy, Jerry Hughes, and William Gay outscored the entire Seahawks defense.  Ouch.

The win allowed the Giants to keep pace with Dallas and gain a game on the Eagles, while the Seahawks also kept pace in the loss column with the 49ers.  What the game did accomplish was effectively eliminate the NFC West from wild card contention, making Atlanta the only non-NFC East team still in contention for a wild card spot.

Stock Rising:

– Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers: The top two seeds in the AFC are now officially etched in stone, and they can rest their players in preparation for a well-deserved bye week.  The Bills rode back-up quarterback Kyle Orton (who looks like a very shrewd pick-up) and a massive game from TE Julius Thomas (26 points) past Kansas City, while the Steelers continued their dominating run with a 220-95 obliteration of the Jets.  At 12-2 and with both holding a head-to-head tiebreaker over the 10-4 Chiefs, the AFC’s top two seeds have officially and scientifically clinched.  A big congratulations to Darren Leung and AJ Sisneros for their outstanding performances this season!

– The NFC East: Yes, Philadelphia suffered a tough loss at the hands of Carolina during what equated to a second bye-week.  Who cares?  With losses by Atlanta, Seattle, and San Francisco, it looks ever more likely that the NFC East is going to get three teams into the playoffs, all with double-digit wins.  In terms of fantasy points scored, Dallas and the Giants are 1st and 2nd in the entire league, while the Eagles come in at a very respectable 6th.  And while you’re marveling at the accomplishments, keep in mind that each of these three had to play each other twice, and the Giants had easily the most difficult schedule in all of football this year.  Dominating performance from start to finish by the NFC East, and I would not be shocked to see two Eastern teams square off in the NFC Title Game

– New Orleans Saints: Remember a few weeks ago when the Saints had dropped two in a row and looked to be in real danger of losing their stranglehold on the NFC South?  Yeah, i don’t really believe that happened either.  It feels like back when we didn’t have a national debt.  New Orleans blasted San Francisco 244-163 this week to reclaim sole possession of 1st place in the South, and as good as they looked on Sunday, it is hard for me to believe they’ll relinquish that spot.  The Saints were led by an outstanding 143 point offensive performance, keyed by the return of Jimmy Graham (32 points), the emergence of Preston Parker (22 points), the continued under-the-rader fantasy awesomeness of Golden Tate (26 points), and the special teams electricity of Darren Sproles (23 points).  Oh, and some guy named Brees got involved too.

Put it this way – the Saints offense alone outscored 12 teams.  Not a team anybody wants to see in the playoffs.  Even if they play in the NFC East.

Honorable Mention: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions

Stock Falling:

– Atlanta Falcons: Some days are like this.  You have a decent chance to wrest full control of your division away from your rival.  You have an easy game.  He has a tough game.  The mystical forces of the universe are all lining up.  And then you drop a 147 point stinker and lose to last place Tampa Bay by 30.  And your rival crushes its competition.  Oof.  The problem was simple.  Guys who played offense for the Falcons (Roddy White and Julio Jones – 46 combined points) or defense for the Broncos (TJ Ward and Brandon Marshall – 35 combined points) showed up.  Everybody else… didn’t (66 points from the other 16 guys combined).  The Falcons have winnable games against Carolina and Cleveland to finish out the season.  But now they need some help – both from their own role players, and from their wild card competitors.

– Denver Broncos – Another team that dropped the ball in a stars-aligning moment, the Broncos went into Monday night in a perfect situation.  With Kansas City having already lost to Buffalo, the Broncos held a lead over Oakland into MNF.  Had they held on, the Broncos would have moved into a tie for first place in the division and held the advantage with an easier schedule to finish out the year.  Instead, Jordan Matthews went OFF to the tune of 40 points, demonstrating his incredible (and potentially shameful) chemistry with Mark Sanchez, while DeAngelo Williams managed nothing more than a few yards in a pile of dust.  Even more sour for the Broncos, Denver started only eight defensive players.  The Broncos are likely still headed to at least a Wild Card spot, but need to take care of business against St. Louis and Miami to hold off Nick Tomanelli’s hard-charging Raiders squad.

– Miami Dolphins – Another wild card team that could have used a better game, the Dolphins were crushed by the Detroit Lions.  While there is no shame in losing to the Lions, scoring 111 points is not ideal for a team with playoff aspirations.  Even worse for Miami, it leaves them with no cushion to guard against the Raiders and Texans, both 8-6.  The schedule makers did the Dolphins no favors either, giving them the hardest remaining slate of any AFC Wild Card.  Observe:

MIA: Buffalo, Denver

HOU: Cleveland, Cincinnati

KC: Seattle, Oakland

OAK: San Diego, Kansas City

DEN: St. Louis, Miami

IND: New England, Jacksonville

The Dolphins need at least one win… and may need to win both of two very difficult games to feel safe.

Dishonorable Mention: Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers


Games of the Week:

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: See the above.  The Dolphins need this game badly.  The Bills don’t.  But the Bills are 12-2 – and are entirely unlikely to take it easy on their divisional rivals.  If the Dolphins can somehow pull this game out, the Wild Card playoff picture may end up simple.  But if the Bills can knock them off, the AFC Wild Card picture could get muddy indeed!

Green Bay vs. Philadelphia: What the heck?  A marquis NFC showdown that doesn’t involve Dallas or the Giants?  What on earth is going on?  The Packers can clinch with a win.  Frankly, so can the Eagles.  The loser will have to sweat out the uncertainty of a final week.

Kansas City vs. Seattle: Another game with major playoff implications.  Seattle can put away the NFC West with a win this week, but will have to do it with Decker, Harvin, and Witten all on bye.  On the other hand, a win by the Chiefs would also clinch a playoff spot – but a loss would potentially force a week 12 showdown with Oakland for the division. Who saw THAT coming?

New York Giants vs. San Francisco: You know what really sucks?  When you play New Orleans and they hang 244 points on you.  And then you turn around and find the New York Giants waiting for you – particularly when you already played them just a few weeks before.  New York has no sympathy, nearing the end of its abominable schedule in very good shape.  This is a must win game for both teams, though the Giants have a bit more margin for error than do the 9ers.

Good luck to everyone in week 11 – except for Seattle, Oakland, and Denver!