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2014-15 NFL Season E

Joshua Campbell
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NFL Bracketology: Week 16

12/16/2014 6:14am
last edited:12/16/2014 5:18pm

First things first, I apologize to those who read my weekly bracketology for not having a Week 15 edition. It was finals week for me and I didn't have the time to whip it up.

But as the weeks go by, we learn more and more about the league. Currently there 15 teams with winning records, four teams at .500 and 13 teams destined for losing seasons. However, three of those losing teams can still win their division due to the putrid NFC South. And since the NFC South winner will get into the postseason and host a playoff game with a losing record, it makes some really good teams on the outside looking in, i.e. Philadelphia. While the AFC is really close to having the playoff field set, the NFC remains wide open. To put it into perspective, the Dallas Cowboys will win their division with topping both the Colts and Redskins to close out the season and could get a first-round bye in that scenario. However, if they lose either of those games, they will most likely fail to get in the playoffs at 11-5. The Lions, Packers, Seahawks and the Eagles are all in similar situations. Each of these teams have wild scenarios to get in: need Team A to win while Team B loses and both Team C&D lose. If they both win, then Team A would need to lose. So that's the NFC and I will do my best to illustrate every playoff hopeful team's scenario to get in along with my predictions.

Week 14 Premier Matchups

Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at New Orleans Saints (6-8)

Falcons-31 Saints-29

This game will be a see-saw affair with all sorts of storylines. The two teams seriously dislike each other and it is hard to predict what will happen on Sunday. It will definitely be a shootout, but I think Matty Ice gets it done.

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) at Pittsburgh (9-5)

Steelers-27 Chiefs-21

I like the Chiefs, but the Steelers simply have more playmakers that will make plays when needed.

Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

Cowboys-34 Colts-24

With two top offenses in a primetime game, the team who typically wins is the team who controls the clock and wins the turnover battle which has the been the Cowboys' m.o. all year. The Colts too, but this matchup favors Dallas at home.

Seattle Seahawks (10-4) at Arizona Cardinals (11-3)

Seahawks-21 Cardinals-16

If the Cardinals still had Carson Palmer, I would pick the Cardinals 10 out of 10 times. The Cards are undefeated at home, but with a third-string QB facing the vaunted Seattle D, they just cannot create enough offense to win the division.

Denver Broncos (11-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1)

Broncos-31 Bengals-20

This game is going to come down to the Broncos' pass rush and the Bengals' o-line. I see DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller wreaking havoc on Dalton and forcing him into some poor decisions.

AFC Seeding

1. Denver Broncos (13-3)- The Broncos are still as scary as they come and with C.J. Anderson playing like a man possessed in the backfield, they will roll through the rest of the season.

2. New England Patriots (12-4)- The Patriots remain the team to beat in AFC, but I think they will slip up against a dominant Bills' defense in Week 17.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)- Their secondary is very scary, but their offense is rolling whether Big Ben is putting up big numbers or LeVeon Bell is.

4. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)- The Colts will slip up in Dallas, but are still a dangerous team with an elite offense.

5. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)- Justin Forsett's resurgence has Baltimore right in the thick of things and they will win out against weak backup quarterbacks.

6. Buffalo Bills (10-6)- The Bills' defense has them peaking at the right time while the Bengals, Chiefs and Chargers are going to struggle down the stretch.

On the outside looking in:
Kansas City Chiefs (9-7), San Diego Chargers (9-7), Cincinnati Bengals (9-6-1)

NFC Seeding 

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-4)-Seattle is playing as good of football as any team in the league right now. They may need to find more offense come playoff time, but if their defense continues to play lights out, they won't need much offense.

2. Green Bay Packers (12-4)- Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense struggled in Buffalo, but are still the cream of the crop in the NFC North.

3. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)- I was right in saying that the dud on Thanksgiving was not indicative of their status as a contender. They are 100% a contender.

4. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)- A lot has to happen for the Panthers to get in. The Falcons have to beat the Saints while the Panthers win out. But the Panthers are currently playing the best football in the division.

5. Arizona Cardinals (12-4)- They will continue to stumble down the stretch, but their fast start keeps them from dropping out of the playoffs.

6. Detroit Lions (11-5)- The Lions are not good enough to beat the Rodgers-led Packers at Lambeau, but will still get in the postseason thanks to a better conference record than the Eagles.

On the outside looking in: New Orleans Saints (7-9), Atlanta Falcons (7-9), Philadelphia Eagles

AFC Wild Card Games

(6) Buffalo Bills at (3) Pittsburgh Steelers

Bills-20 Steelers-16 

The one team in the AFC that can shut down the Steelers' myriad of weapons is the Bills. This is the one matchup the Bills can actually win.

(5) Baltimore Ravens at (4) Indianapolis Colts

Colts-33 Ravens-24 

I like the Ravens, but not against Andrew Luck and the Colts. Luck is better than Flacco and will prove it on the field.

AFC Divisional Games

(6) Buffalo Bills at (1) Denver Broncos

Broncos-26 Bills-20

The Bills will give Peyton Manning a run for his money, but Kyle Orton is not good enough to get the job done.

(4) Indianapolis Colts at (2) New England Patriots

Patriots-37 Colts-30

Luck will play big, but not big enough as Tom Brady keeps picking up W's. 

AFC Championship Game 

(2) New England Patriots at (1) Denver Broncos

Patriots-28 Broncos-24 

Yet again, Manning vs. Brady for the right to go to the Super Bowl. Brady has a more complete team around him and the Pats' defense stifles Manning's Broncos. 

NFC Wild Card Games 

(6) Detroit Lions at (3) Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys-26 Lions-20 

The Cowboys' balance offensively allows them to be successful against any elite defense. Their offense is built for the playoffs and tough defenses.

(5) Arizona Cardinals at (4) Carolina Panthers 

Cardinals-19 Panthers-10

The Cardinals have the type of defense that can make Cam Newton look dreadful and that is what they will do.

NFC Divisional Games 

(5) Arizona Cardinals at (1) Green Bay Packers

Packers-24 Cardinals-20

If this game was Arizona, I'd take the Cards without hesitation. But the Packers are too good at home and Arizona's QB situation is a mess.

(3) Dallas Cowboys at (2) Seattle Seahawks

Cowboys-27 Seahawks-21

The Cowboys already proved they can win in Seattle and will use that same blueprint to take them out again.

NFC Championship Game

(3) Dallas Cowboys at (1) Green Bay Packers

Packers-31 Cowboys-27

The Cowboys are great on the road and the Packers are great at home. So what wins out? I really do not know. But when it's a toss up in the playoffs, I go with the QB with the most experience.

Super Bowl

(1) Green Bay Packers vs (2) New England Patriots (Glendale, Arizona)

Packers-26 Patriots-24

The Packers will win the rematch, but the Pats will still put up a fight. Rodgers will be 2-0 in Super Bowls while Tom Brady will fall to 3-3.

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