- Colts At 12-0 there is little chance anyone will beat the Colts for home field.
- Chargers SD has a lead over Cincy in the AFC record. If SD can beat Cincy at home in week 15 they will clinch this spot.
- Patriots The loss to Miami last week eliminated any chance of the Pats to avoid the Wild Card round but they have an easy schedule the rest of the way. Their key game will be in week 17 against the Jags who might be fighting for a playoff spot themselves.
- Bengals Cincy has the toughest remaining schedule of the top 4. I can’t see them winning at the Vikes and then at the Chargers to win the 2nd spot. Instead, they will likely lose both and end up in the 4th spot even if they can beat the Jets.
- Broncos Denver will probably lose 2 out of their 3 games left winning only against Oakland but their hot start has kept them in the race. They will lose to the Colts and the Eagles but hang on by a fingernail to the 5th spot.
Jags or Ravens The Jags have a 1 game lead in the overall standings and 2 in the Conference loss column over the Ravens but the Jags have to play Indy at home and NE on the road. I expect them to lose both giving them a 9-7 record with an 8-4 within the AFC. I project the Ravens to have the identical records in both. The playoff spot will be determined by net points within the conference.
- Saints The only threat to a 16-0 record for the Saints will be the home game against what by then should be a crumbling Cowboy team in week 15. Other than that and some new injuries, this Saints team could march through the schedule unbeaten. To insure home field throughout the playoffs, they will have to be prefect.
Vikings If the Vikes get by Cincy next week at home, they should go the rest of the way without another loss. They will have to face the Saints in the playoffs at NO and that won’t be easy. Arizona showed the path to beating the Vikes last week by running multiple crossing patterns against the Vike zone.
Cardinals only if Warner stays healthy The Cards are the toughest team to project because they look like world champs one week only to look just weak the next. But they have the easiest schedule with a game at SF and DT and games at home against the Rams and the Pack. Only the Packers are good enough to beat them with a healthy Warner but anything can happen.
NFC (L)East team This had better be the Boys unless Coach Phillips wants to be unemployed and see Jones tear the team apart and put it back together crooked. The Eagles look like the team to beat for the 4th spot with a shot at sneaking into #3 if they win out. I project them at #4
Packers The Pack could end up with the 3rd best record in the conference but can’t catch the Vikes for the division crown. They will be a tough out in the playoffs.
The loser of the Eagles/Cowboys fight for the NFC Least title. This division has been a major disappointment this season. The Giants have a chance to overtake the Cowboys because they hold the tiebreaker.
Around the NFL
Weis is dialing for dollars.
Ex ND coach Weis is making the rounds of teams that might be looking for an Off Coordinator. Reportedly he visited the Bears yesterday and is scheduled to be in Cleveland today. There are rumors that he may be named OC this week replacing the often criticized Brian Daboll. Weis coached QB Quinn at ND and may be hired just as a consultant to help his development.
Cleveland owner Lerner backing off his “football Czar” talk.
After a particularly disgusting series of losses, Learner told the press he was going to look for an experienced NFL guy to oversee the operation. After a couple of games that were 2 bottle of Tums disgusting, he has not mentioned it since. There is a 40% chance that Mangini survives. The talk now is to hire a football guy that might be able to work with Mangini as HC without any input to the draft.
Eagles coach Reid to get a new contract.
Eagle management has recognized that Reid would be a top candidate for other NFL jobs opening after the season. They will give Reid a new deal.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .