NFL Playoff Picture & Week 11 TV Maps for Tri State Area

*UPDATE* Fox Wheeling will now be showing Dallas @ Washington at 1pm. Kenny Albert, Moose, and Goose on the call.

First here is the TV schedule for this coming weekend:  The action starts on Thursday Night on the NFL Network with the NY Jets @ Denver.  On Fox all local affiliates are scheduled to show at 1pm Tampa Bay @ Green Bay with Joe Buck & Troy Aikman.  On CBS at 1pm both Pittsburgh and Wheeling will show Cincinnati @ Baltimore with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf while Youngstown will show Jacksonville @ Cleveland with Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker.  At 4:15pm all local CBS affiliates will show San Diego @ Chicago with Jim Nantz & Phil Simms.  And of course the NFL Red Zone Channel will offer its customary continuous live whip around the league all afternoon Sunday.  The Sunday Night game on NBC is Philadelphia at the NY Giants and the Monday Night game on ESPN is Kansas City @ New England.  As usual this info from and subject to change.

And now for the conference standings & playoff picture, starting in the AFC:

1. Houston (7-3) (head-to-head tiebreaker with Pittsburgh)

2. Pittsburgh

3. New England (6-3)

4. Oakland (5-4)

5. Baltimore (6-3) (division record on Cincinnati)

6. Cincinnati

7. New York (5-4) (head-to-head w/ Buffalo for divisional rank, tiebreaking on Tennessee)

8. Buffalo (conference record on Tennessee)

9. Tennessee

10. San Diego (head-to-head-to-head tiebreaking on Denver & Kansas City)

11. Denver (head-to-head tiebreaking on Kansas City)

12. Kansas City

13. Jacksonville (3-6) (conference record on Cleveland)

14. Cleveland

15. Miami (2-7)

16. Indianapolis (0-10)

In the AFC North the Steelers currently lead the division by a half game, but Baltimore and Cincinnati actually control their destiny for winning the division while the Steelers do not.   The Steelers currently have 7 wins and have games remaining with St. Louis and Cleveland (2) so they are in solid position to at least make the playoffs.  The Ravens have 3 losses, with 2 of them being the week after playing the Steelers; they don’t have that hurdle to overcome down the stretch.  The Bengals still have 3 of their 4 games with Baltimore and Pittsburgh ahead of them; its an obvious opportunity, but if those games go poorly it could imperil even their wildcard chances.  Cleveland still has 5 division games remaining & can therefor impact this race; they could’ve been in the playoff race but this past Sunday’s loss to the Rams really hurts their chances.

Having completed a sweep of the Jets, the Patriots are in great shape to win the East assuming the Bills don’t rebound and complete a sweep of the Pats later in the season.  If New York and Buffalo do have to rely on getting a wildcard, their losses to Baltimore and Cincinnati respectively could haunt them.  Matt Schaub’s injury puts Houston at some risk of losing the South to Tennessee, but if they can get to 10 or 11 wins that will probably be enough.  The Titans, if they can’t catch Houston, are also alive in the wildcard race and their Week 2 win against Baltimore could prove useful.  As for the Colts, I am not sure glancing at the numbers, and the NFL doesn’t officially release this sort of thing until after Thanksgiving, but they may already be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.  They are eliminated from their division race.  In the West all 4 teams are currently 2-2 in division games, with Oakland having the current advantage of a 1 game lead.   However, the Raiders still have to play all 4 teams in the NFC North which isn’t easy.

And now for the NFC:

1. Green Bay (9-0)

2. San Francisco (8-1)

3. New Orleans (7-3)

4. New York (6-3)

5. Detroit (6-3) (division record tiebreaking on Chicago)

6. Chicago

7. Dallas (5-4) (conference record tiebreaking on Atlanta)

8. Atlanta

9. Tampa Bay (4-5)

10. Seattle (3-6) (head-to-head tiebreaking on Arizona for divisional rank, conference record on Philadelphia [head-to-head tiebreaking on Washington for divisional rank])

11. Arizona (head-to-head tiebreaking on Philadelphia)

12. Philadelphia

13. Washington

14. Minnesota (2-7) (conference record on Carolina & St. Louis)

15. St. Louis (tiebreaking on Carolina)

16. Carolina

Chicago has pulled even with Detroit for 2nd in the North but is still behind the Lions because of one more loss in division games.  Of course, the Lions haven’t played Green Bay yet; Thanksgiving Day is the 1st meeting.  Something that could actually help the Lions is that their trip to Lambeau is Week 17; the Packers could very well have the #1 seed clinched by then and treating the game as a glorified preseason game (unless they are 15-0 and care more about history than the Colts did a few seasons ago).  The Bears will spend the next 5 weeks playing the AFC West of my youth; the next 4 playing the current AFC West, followed by a game with Seattle.  At this point the Bears and Lions are in great shape to get the two wildcards, but the loser of the New York-Dallas race and/or Atlanta could still be factors.  Other teams are alive but will need to put together winning streaks.  The Cowboys still have both games remaining with the Giants, so they fully control their destiny for winning that division.  Coach Smith’s decision to be John Cooper stupid and go for a 4th down at his own 29 in overtime has put the Falcons in a weakened position trying to win the South.  Everyone winning in the NFC West last week means the 49ers cannot clinch the division mathematically this weekend; but a good Sunday followed by winning the Harbaugh Bowl Thanksgiving Night could give them a playoff spot to feast on.  Once that formality is taken care of, their win over the Giants served to fortify them being in great shape for getting the #2 seed in the playoffs and a 1st round bye.


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