Since the regular season is coming to a close, I thought I better get you prepared for the playoffs. The postseason in the NFL is a three-week playoff system and the Super Bowl. The rounds are: Wild-Card, Divisional, and Conference Championship. The conference champions play in the Super Bowl. Let me explain the how teams get on the road to the Super Bowl.
The NFL is divided into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each of those conferences has four divisions (North, South, East and West). The playoffs are comprised of 12 teams, 6 from each conference. The four division winners get playoff spots. This is the reason why there is such a focus on division leaders. You may have heard someone comment, “they are leading the AFC East” or “they are only two games behind first in the NFC North.” It is all about making it to the playoffs. After the division leaders are determined, two more teams are selected from each conference. These are the teams that have the best record in the entire conference not including the division winners. They will play division winners in the Wild-Card Round, hence they are referred to as “wild-cards.” The best two teams in each conference are off during the Wild-Card Round and they have an automatic home game. They play the winners of the Wild-Card Round in the Divsional Round. The overall best team in the conference gets all of its games at home, not including the Super Bowl; unless, of course the Super Bowl is in their home stadium. Jerry Jones thought his team would do it this year, but they are not even going to make the playoffs.
With three weeks left in the regular season, there are several teams “in the hunt.” This means that they are close to becoming a Wild-card. I’ll use the current NFC standings to illustrate this. At the moment, the New York Giants have a record of 8 – 4 after 12 games. They would have a Wild-Card spot if the playoffs started over the weekend. Tampa Bay is at 8 – 5 after 13 games. They are hunting for the wild-card spot. The Giants game this evening against Minnesota is pivotal. If they win they move to 9 – 3 making Tampa Bay’s hunt more difficult. If they lose, they will be tied with the Bucs. This helps Tampa Bay with its hunt to become a playoff team.
All of this leads me to tonight’s games. The New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings are playing in Detroit at Ford Field because the roof of the Vikings home stadium, Metrodome collapsed early yesterday morning. As I shared, it is a big game for the Giants. Minnesota would love to mess up things for the Giants, but I don’t think they are equipped to do so. They don’t know who is going to be their quarterback (Favre is still trying to recover) and they did not know they had to make a road trip until yesterday evening. The Giants better stay focused and get it done tonight. Next week they have Philadelphia at home.
Are you ready for some football?
Monday Night Football is traveling to the Lone Star State. The Baltimore Ravens play the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Even at 5 – 7, the Texans are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. After a tough loss last weekend, Baltimore’s offense will be solid. Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Le’Ron McClain should not have any problems against the Texans’ 31st ranked defense. On top of that, the Ravens’ defense is ranked #7. I don’t see Houston’s Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson doing too much damage against Ray Lewis and the gang. I’m going with the Baltimore Ravens tonight. MNF kicks off at 8:30 pm on ESPN. This week we’re going to the hippest part of Washington, DC for the game, U Street. Join us at Ben’s Next Door.
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