December 20, 2013

Why expand the playoffs? + Week 16 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

With just two weeks to go, the race is on.

There is only a couple of playoff spots settled and no one has been locked into their position.

So why is the NFL thinking about expanding the playoffs in 2015?

The current system, with 12 teams, is working just fine and stresses the importance of having actual good, deserving teams in the post-season. Though an ESPN piece did point out that if two additional teams had made the playoffs since the Texans joined the league in 2002, there wouldn’t have been a losing team in the playoffs and only five 8-8 teams would have been in, isn’t that too much?

Being at .500 shouldn’t be good enough to make the post-season, as it often in the NHL and NBA.

What the NFL should do instead of adding teams is to change the seeding system. If the top wild card has a better record than a division winner – which could be the case for Kansas City and San Francisco this season – it should be seeded higher and get that valuable home game. Why penalize a team for being in the same division as a great team?

You also wouldn’t see a team like the Colts – with the AFC South sewn up – potentially rest down the stretch, knowing it has little chance at improving from the fourth seed.

The NFL doesn’t need to change the playoffs and add teams to keep things interesting, it simply needs to make a minor rearrangement to keep things fresh.

The lines are from 5Dimes and the home teams are in CAPS.

BUFFALO +3 over Miami

The Dolphins are closing in on the playoffs, but the Bills are a tough out at home. Plus, you can’t underestimate the winter weather forecast this weekend.

New Orleans +3 over CAROLINA

The Saints may be worse on the road, but they just crushed the Cats a couple of weeks ago.

Dallas -3 over WASHINGTON

Sure, the Cowboys will likely blow this game somehow, but they are still a better team than Washington.

Tampa Bay +6 over ST. LOUIS

The Bucs have been decent enough to safely take six points from a team led by Kellen Clemens.

PHILADELPHIA -3 over Chicago

So, why did they flex this into the night game, when Baltimore-New England has just as many playoff ramifications? If Dallas wins, this game is meaningless for Philly, but I still see them playing their hardest over a Bears team that LeSean McCoy will absolutely destroy.

Cleveland +2 over NEW YORK JETS

With a strong enough defence and Josh Gordon, the Browns should be able to win this one and hurt their chance at the top pick.

KANSAS CITY -7 over Indianapolis

Jamaal Charles won’t score five TDs again, but the biggest statement about last week’s performance is that the Chiefs offence can be that stellar.

CINCINNATI -7.5 over Minnesota

Even with Adrian Peterson back, the Bengals shouldn’t be in any trouble here.

Denver -10.5 over HOUSTON

The Broncos have had ten days to prepare for the worst team in the league. Plus, the Texans have shelved Ben Tate now too.

JACKSONVILLE +6 over Tennessee

The Jags have already beat the Titans and have looked good recently. What am I missing here?

SEATTLE -10.5 over Arizona

Before you get stoked about the Cardinals’ playoff chances, remember that the last time they visited Seattle, they lost 58-0. And potentially being without Larry Fitzgerald really hurts too.

New York Giants +9.5 over DETROIT

Which team will out-mistake the other? The Lions have more to play for, but this the type of wacky game that the Giants take, even when they have no business winning.

SAN DIEGO -10 over Oakland

The Raiders are toast and should get trampled here. Keenan Allen needs a big game here to separate himself in the race for rookie of the year with Eddie Lacy.

Pittsburgh (NL) over GREEN BAY

Without Aaron Rodgers, I don’t like the Packers chances against a resurgent Steelers side.

New England +1 over BALTIMORE

Can the Ravens really make a run to the playoffs without being that good on offence? Kicking six field goals doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Baltimore’s ability to move the ball.

SAN FRANCISCO -12 over Atlanta

The Falcons are going to be a force next year after banking a top-5 pick. The 49ers are looking to grab the top wild-card spot.

Last week: 7-9

This season: 103-109-9

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