November 14, 2014

Rethinking the playoffs + Week 11 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

It seems to happen every year, sparking debate about reform that ultimately never comes: One team beats out another with a better record to either make the playoffs or get a home game.

At the rate New Orleans and the NFC South is going, we could see a team with a losing record make the playoffs while a strong team like Dallas, Philly, Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay or San Francisco is sent packing when the regular season ends.

How is that right?

While it’s a bit questionable to not allow division champs an automatic berth, I can see some upside towards it. Winning a contest among the weak shouldn’t be a reward. In fact, if you can’t score enough wins against your fellow chumps, that should be damning enough.

Perhaps we keep divisions and use them for scheduling purposes only.

I could be swayed either way in this debate.

The one unalienable point that should be changed is how the playoffs are seeded.

Wild cards should be forced to play road games against a team that has a worse record than it.

What sense does it make that a team like Green Bay or Detroit could finish 12-4, finish a behind their rival in a tiebreaker and be forced to play on the road in the playoffs while New Orleans gets its comforts of ‘dome?’

The playoffs should be seeded by record, regardless of division.

Best of all, it’s the right move: Some that the NFL would receive some actual kudos for making.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPS.

Buffalo +6 over MIAMI

In the most “Bills” sequence ever, Kyle Orton was called for intentional grounding and a safety after a good two-minute debate by the refs, the Bills recovered a fumble on the ensuring punt and then ended up missing a long field goal. Talking proud, Buffalo.

CLEVELAND -3.5 over Houston

Ryan Mallet’s first start probably isn’t going to go so well in the Dawg Pound.

CHICAGO -3 over Minnesota

The Bears have to turn it around at home after two massive losses in a row, right?

Philadelphia +5.5 over GREEN BAY

I get the fear that it is Mark Sanchez on the road against an offensive juggernaut like the Packers, but man was that Bears defence awful last week to inflate Green Bay’s ego.

KANSAS CITY (pk) over Seattle

Losing Brandon Mebane will hurt the Seahawks rush defence, which falls right into the hands of the Chiefs.

CAROLINA +1 over Atlanta

The Panthers couldn’t possibly look as bad as they did against Philly. Two of the Falcons wins have come against the lowly Bucs this season.

Cincinnati +7 over NEW ORLEANS

I don’t think that Andy Dalton can have as terrible of a game as he did last week because, well, that would be nearly statistically impossible.

Tampa Bay +7 over WASHINGTON

With the Bucs going back to Josh McCown, I actually think they have a chance in this one.

Denver -9.5 over ST. LOUIS

Sorry Rams fans, but Shaun Hill just isn’t going to be the answer against Peyton Manning.

NEW YORK GIANTS +4 over San Francisco

Just when you count the Giants out, they’ll unexpectedly turn things around. But man, that run defence was awful against Seattle.

Oakland +11.5 over SAN DIEGO

The Raiders kept it close when these two teams last met and, honestly, I would be surprised if Oakland picked up its first win in a year.

ARIZONA -1 over Detroit

If coach Bruce Arians believes he can win the Super Bowl with Drew Stanton, who am I to say otherwise? This defensive battle will definitely go UNDER.

New England +2.5 over INDIANAPOLIS

You just can’t bet against a red-hot Tom Brady coming off a bye week in a prime-time game.

Pittsburgh -5.5 over TENNESSEE

Big Ben will easily win the battle of the longest-named QBs in the game.

Last week: 7-6

This season: 79-67-1

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