Posted 10/28/2013 at 06:28 PM
Big chips keep falling in the BCS standings with Missouri and Texas Tech taking losses last week. Miami and Florida State have a knockout game this week while Oregon and Stanford will have a top 5 knockout game in two weeks. If Oregon and Florida State remain undefeated behind Alabama there will certainly be some controversy ahead. Oregon flipped spots with Florida State after last week’s win over UCLA, they could flip back this week with Oregon off and the Seminoles with a profile boosting opportunity. Ohio State and Baylor will hope for upsets all around to get into the conversation but they will need significant help and in Baylor’s case there is a very tough final month waiting. LSU and Alabama will face in two weeks as well in a game that could make the title game picture quite clear should LSU pull off the upset. A one-loss Alabama team could best Ohio State or Baylor in the rankings but Oregon and Florida State have enough ammunition should they win out to shut out the SEC this season should the Tide get beat.
With the balance of power in the NFL shifting west this season with arguably the top two teams in both conferences playing in the same division there will be a huge incentive to be the #3 seed compared with the #4 seed in the playoffs. The NFC East champion seems destined to take the #4 spot and will likely play as a home underdog vs. the NFC West runner up while there will be a fierce battle in the AFC for those top spots. With Denver potentially being the #5 seed New England, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis will need to be at their best in the coming weeks with positioning being critical. Cincinnati’s week 5 win over the Patriots could prove to be a hugely important tie-breaker.
In the NFC Green Bay appears to be gaining momentum with four straight wins but things have fell favorably for the Packers, who have lost to the best two teams they have faced this season. Green Bay played Detroit without Calvin Johnson and also caught Cleveland and Minnesota in weeks where their quarterback situations were a mess. The Packers also get the Bears without Jay Cutler this week and will get Philadelphia likely still with some quarterback questions in week 10. The Packers may be setting themselves up to be greatly overrated late in the season based on the favorable scheduling breaks and there is reason to be suspicious of the suddenly improved running game and defense.
A team that could be ready to make a charge in the coming weeks may be the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. While they have a positive point differential, Baltimore is just 3-4 but the schedule lines up well with road games in Cleveland and Chicago looking less dangerous with injuries for those teams and a big home date with Cincinnati in two weeks. Baltimore has home games against marginal competition in three straight weeks in week 12-14 so the Ravens should not be ruled out as a threat to Cincinnati in the North and a team that could again make some noise in the postseason.
Carolina looks like a team taking a step towards playoff contention but we’ll find out for sure the next few weeks as the Panthers have San Francisco and New England in back-to-back weeks. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…