Thursday, December 17, 2020


I’m picking the Football Team’s defense as my player of the week for four sacks and forcing three turnovers that resulted in two defensive touchdowns in their 23-15 win over the 49ers in Arizona.

Staying in the NFC East, it is without a doubt an embarrassment. Every team has a chance of winning the division and hosting a home playoff game despite the possibility of having a record below .500. A third of the division’s out-of-division wins – 3-0-1 – have come against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1).

If the playoffs were to start right now, the Football Team – as the NFC East leader with a record of 6-7 – would host the Seattle Seahawks, the top Wild Card team with a 9-4 record and currently tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the lead in the NFC West. Next week, the Seahawks and Rams face each other in Seattle and could make all the difference in who will get a home playoff game in the Wild Card or have to begin the quest for Lombardi on the road much like the Seahawks did last season.

The Seahawks know all too well about the consequence of not winning the division as last season came down to inches in the final overall game of the 2019 NFL season against the 49ers. That defensive stand by the 49ers gave them the NFC 1-seed and not getting that touchdown sent the Seahawks (11-5) 2,400 miles across country to NFC East champion Philadelphia (9-7).

The Rams finished with the same record as the Eagles but missed out on the playoffs. Had the current expanded format been in place, the Rams would have made the playoffs. The Eagles only got in due to that division winners are automatically assured a playoff berth and home playoff game regardless of record.

The last time three Wild Card teams made the playoffs was in 2001, the season before the NFL reorganized to it current format of two conferences with four divisions in each conference with four teams in each division for a total of 32 teams. Despite not being division champions that season, the Packers and Dolphins hosted playoff games. The Packers were more successful in defeating the 49ers at Lambeau Field that season.

So why cannot the top Wild Card team host a home playoff game?

The NFL’s new playoff format provides additional incentive for having the top record in the conference instead of in previous seasons from 1978-2019 where it was the top two seeds in each conference automatically advanced to the Divisional Round. There should be an incentive for the top Wild Card team as well as an additional one for the next three division champions to finish with a better record than the top Wild Card team to justify hosting a home playoff game.

My proposal would be that if the top Wild Card team finishes with a better record than any of the next three division champions, they would be allowed to be seeded 2-4 with the worst division champion dropping down to the 5-seed.

Had this proposal been in place, the Seahawks would have had a home playoff game against the Eagles and maybe could’ve gone to Lambeau, beat the Packers if not exhausted from making the round-trip cross country the previous week, and given us Seahawks-49ers III for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

There is actually precedent for this proposal. When the NFL and AFL merged into the current NFL in 1970, only two division winners in each conference were given a home playoff game while the third division champion was sent on the road as well as the lone Wild Card winner.

This was codified when the NFL started seeding teams in the 1975 season – a lesson learned when the Miami Dolphins who had the best record in not just the AFC but the entire NFL in 1972 had to play at Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship Game. When the NFL expanded the playoffs in 1978 due to schedule going from 14 to 16 games, the 3-seed received a bye to the divisional round but still had to play on the road while the 4-seed – one of the two Wild Card teams – was at home. It wasn’t until 1990 when the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format that rewarded the 3-seed – a division champion – with a home playoff game as well as kept the 4-seed at home in the Wild Card round. It was a good balance until the league structure changed as a result of the Houston Texans joining the league in 2002.

The league should restore that balance as it would make the race for playoff positioning more entertaining and as I have stated in that post, an incentive for a winning record instead of being guaranteed a playoff spot due to winning a weak division.

Now the picks 







Kickoff times are Mountain Time

Sunday afternoon games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN)

Picks are in BOLD

NFL Television Schedule Map



Chargers at Raiders



Bills at Broncos, 2:30PM

Panthers at Packers, 6PM



49ers at Cowboys (DEN)

Jaguars at Ravens

Texans at Colts

Patriots at Dolphins

Lions at Titans


Seahawks at Football Team (DEN)

Bears at Vikings

Buccaneers at Falcons



Chiefs at Saints (DEN)


Eagles at Cardinals

Jets at Rams



Browns at Giants



Steelers at Bengals


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