Friday’s Baba Ghanoush: Breaking Down the 2012 NFL Playoffs and NFL Awards
Welcome back football fans to the Friday Baba Ghanoush: Regular Season Finale Edition. Here, we’ll review the NFL’s 2012 regular season and hand out some unofficial awards, as well as look towards the last week of games and the playoffs. So sit back, relax and fill up on a fresh serving of baba ghanoush (still a real thing and as fun to say as ever). And since it’s Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday (and the last Friday of 2012), I’m trying to have as much fun with this as possible (and you should too!).
The AFC Playoff Picture
The AFC playoff field is already set, with (in order of current seeding) the Texans, Broncos, Patriots, Ravens, Colts and Bengals. Aside from the Colts and Bengals being the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds, respectively, the top four seeds are still completely up in the air. But someone’s got to own each spot after the end of this week, and here’s how it can be done:
Texans: If they beat the Colts, then the road to Super Bowl XLVII goes through Houston. Simple as that. But if they slip up, they can still earn home-field advantage if both the Broncos and Patriots lose. They can still earn a first-round bye if they lose, the Broncos lose and the Patriots win.
Broncos: If they beat the Chiefs, they’re guaranteed at least a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed. If they win and the Texans lose, the road to Super Bowl XLVII goes through Denver.
Patriots: If they beat the Dolphins, they’re guaranteed at least the No. 3 seed. If they win and either the Texans or Broncos lose, then they’re at least the No. 2 seed and earn a first-round bye. But if they win, and both the Texans and Broncos lose, then the road to Super Bowl XLVII goes through New England (Patriots hold tiebreakers over both teams).
Ravens: If they beat the Bengals and the Patriots lose, then they flip-flop seeds aka the Ravens are the No. 3 seed and the Patriots are the No. 4 seed (Ravens hold head-to-head tiebreaker over Patriots).
The NFC Playoff Picture
Now that we got the easier conference out of the way, we can move on to the more difficult playoff scenarios in the NFC, where the Super Bowl winning team is bound to be (and I say that because the past three, and four out of the last five, winners have been from the NFC). So far, the Falcons, Packers, 49ers and Seahawks have clinched playoff spots, while the NFC East and final wildcard spot is anyone’s. Without further ado, let’s get into the scenarios:
Falcons: The NFC’s No. 1 seed no matter what (but may not matter if they go one-and-done for a third straight year).
Packers: If they beat the Vikings, then they’ll be the No. 2 seed and earn a first-round bye. But if they lose, they would need both the 49ers and Seahawks to lose to the Cardinals and Rams, respectively, to clinch the No. 2 seed.
49ers: If they beat the Cardinals, then they win the NFC West and are at least the No. 3 seed. Would need to win and have the Packers lose to earn No. 2 seed and first-round bye.
Seahawks: If they beat the Rams, then they are at least the No. 5 seed as a wildcard team. Would need to win and have the 49ers lose to win NFC West. Also, if they win and both the 49ers and Packers lose, then they are the No. 2 seed.
The NFC East Crown
To keep things as simple as possible, the NFC East and the right to the conference’s No. 4 seed and to host a home playoff game comes down to Sunday night’s matchup between the Cowboys and Redskins in our nation’s capital. Whoever wins that game wins the division. Simple as that.
The Sixth Seed
Sort of like The Sixth Sense but not really, I see one out of four possible teams becoming the NFC’s No. 6 seed. The Vikings, Redskins, Bears and Giants all have a chance to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Here’s how it all breaks down:
Vikings: Currently hold the No. 6 seed and can clinch it with a win against the Packers. If they lose, they can still clinch the No. 6 seed if the Bears, Giants and Cowboys all lose.
Redskins: Though it’s easier for them to beat the Cowboys and win the division, they can however earn a playoff spot as the No. 6 seed if they lose. For that to happen though, the Vikings and Bears would also need to lose.
Da Bears: Beat the Lions and have the Vikings lose to the Packers (this is perhaps the first time in history that Bears fans are rooting for the Packers).
The G Men aka The New York Football Giants: The defending champions are in danger of not making the postseason this year, and, after doing some research, would make the Giants the first team since the 2006 Steelers to fail to make the playoffs the year after winning the Super Bowl. Nevertheless, they can still clinch the No. 6 seed if they beat the Eagles and the Bears, Vikings and Cowboys all lose (and, of course, if they do make the playoffs then we all know they’ll somehow dominate their way to the Super Bowl and win a close game against the Patriots).
Regular Season Awards
To commemorate the end of the 2012 regular season, I am going to hand out some awards to the people that, in my opinion, have earned them for their performances. Though some of these for me were real close, I hate ties so there could only be one winner (if you want my rationale on any of my choices, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll explain further).
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Offensive Player of the Year
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Defensive Player of the Year
J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Casey Hayward, CB, Green Bay Packers
Coach of the Year
Bruce Arians, Indianapolis Colts
Hope you all enjoyed this week’s Baba Ghanoush and enjoy the last week of the regular season.
Shout out to Kevin Roberts, who finished 16th in FantasyPros.com’s Expert Rankings Contest.
Shout out to Tom McFeeley, who differed with me on six games in our weekly picks, where I hold a four-game lead. Sir, things are about to get real interesting this week as we head into the playoffs.
See you all next week for the 2012 NFL playoffs in 2013!