NFL playoff picture: Chiefs & Eagles
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
There is always a handful of NFL teams with mediocre records that have high hopes to make the playoffs each season.
Most of the time, it’s teams with a .500 winning percentage (8-8 overall) or with one win over the .500 mark (9-7) that find the final spots in the playoffs. This season, there are 10 teams that could potentially post barely respectable records and still get in. With two weeks left, five squads from the AFC and NFC, respectively, are still in the hunt. It will make for an exciting finale to a season that was almost cancelled because of the lockout. The playoffs are where the excitement is at, but with so many teams on the bubble, the end of the 2011 season should be action packed.
I will be concentrating on the playoff hopes for the two worst teams of the 10 squads that could be playoff bound. With 6-8 records, it doesn’t seem like the Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles will be able to punch their cards into the wildcard round of the NFL postseason. The Chiefs and Eagles should be able to give others searching for that No. 8 spot a run for their money, though.
Here’s a look at what Philadelphia and Kansas City will have to do in order for the squads to make the playoffs:
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-8 overall, 2-2 in AFC West)
• Division up for grabs: Believe it or not, the Chiefs still have a chance to win the AFC West. Kansas City owns its own destiny because the Chiefs have to win their final two games against the Oakland Raiders (Dec. 24) and the Denver Broncos (Jan. 1). They will also need some help. In order for Kansas City to make the playoffs, the Broncos must lose at least once in the next two weeks AND they need the San Diego Chargers to also lose at least once. The Broncos wind up the season against the Buffalo Bills and the Chiefs. The Chargers play the Detroit Lions and Oakland.
• Oh boy Orton: The Chiefs’ future for 2011 will rest with quarterback Kyle Orton. He’ll get his chance at revenge against the Broncos, so there will be some added fire there, but the game is in Denver. Broncos will probably praise their beloved quarterback, Tim Tebow, and make it extremely difficult for Orton to win the heated matchup. Orton and the Chiefs did hand the Packers their only loss of the season, but I don’t know if that magic is going to last. After all, Orton didn’t have a touchdown pass in 31 attempts as the Chiefs relied heavily on their running game. The bad news for K.C. is that both the Broncos and Raiders have strong run defenses, leaving a lot of pressure on Orton.
• The verdict: I don’t believe the Chiefs can win both of their games. I think Kansas City makes it interesting by beating the Raiders at home, but ultimately, they lose to the Broncos because Denver will also be playing for its playoff life and simply has a better team.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (6-8 overall, 3-1 in NFC East)
• Division up for grabs: It’s kind of funny that I was able to use this subhead again, but the NFC East and AFC West are that crazy my friend. The Eagles still have a shot of playing spoiler to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants for the division crown. If the Eagles run the table, they’ll have an impressive 5-1 record in the division, but they also need some help because the Cowboys are 2-2 and the Giants are 3-2 in the tough NFC East. For Philly to make the playoffs, it must win the final two games AND need the Jets to defeat the Giants this week AND the Cowboys to lose to the Giants. That’s a tall order.
• Equipped to upset: The Eagles certainly have the team on paper to knock anyone off. They just haven’t played like that all season long. Being deemed the “Dream Team” was more like poison to this squad and I think the big egos of too much talent reared its ugly head in Philly more than once. But if players like Michael Vick, Shady McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson have big games, anything is possible.
• Too little, too late: I must apologize to my friend Jordan Wheeler, who predicted the Eagles would make the playoffs in the first episode of Couch Side. There’s to way in h-e-double hockey stick make the playoffs. For as much talent as the Eagles have, the Cowboys and Giants posses just as much firepower. For that reason and that reason alone, I can’t even dream of Philly putting on their dancing shoes.