Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection – Dolphins are in (as division champs!), and Falcons are out

Anwar S Richardson

Each week through the season we'll try to guess what the NFL playoff picture will look like when the season ends. To see through which teams are for real, and which are going to collapse despite their great early-season record. Think of it as "bracketology" for the pigskin set.

Here's last week's playoff projection.

You jumped off that Detroit Lions bandwagon like it was on fire, huh? No more picking the Lions to with the North?

I had to stop, drop and roll to make sure I did not get burned. After I saw how unproductive Detroit’s offense was after Reggie Bush’s injury, the Lions are a house of cards. Detroit cannot win without Reggie Bush, and while most teams would struggle without their top player, Bush’s previous injury history is enough to scare me away.

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I see you have accepted Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers back into your life. Congratulations on putting them in the playoff picture, unlike last week.

Talk about a moment of clarity. Did I really think Green Bay was not going to make the playoffs? How about concussion testing for writers? The Packers still have issues on defense - Green Bay gave up 20 points in the second half against Washington – but Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers.

Miami over New England? Do you realize you're picking Ryan Tannehill and Joe Philbin to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick?

My bad. Was I supposed to get excited about New England's narrow victories against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets? Brady and Belichick are great, but New England will have to face a good team at some point this season. Miami is coming off a road win against Indianapolis. I’m jumping on Miami's bandwagon and leaving Detroit in my rear-view mirror.

Nothing is going to move Seattle ahead of New Orleans, is it?

Frank Schwab can sell you the Seahawks in his power rankings every week, but I’m not buying it. New Orleans is winning with defense, and when is the last time anybody said that? When I look at New Orleans’ schedule, the Saints may only lose three games this season.

But did you see Seattle on Sunday night? And did you see New Orleans before that? You can't almost lose to Tampa Bay like that.

New Orleans did not play well against Tampa Bay, but the Saints were strong against Atlanta. Seattle struggled against Carolina, but played well against San Francisco. I believe in Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan right now. Somebody in the Ryan family has to win, right?

Just going to play roulette with the NFC East winner until you land on one?

This is a bad division. New York jumped off the David Wilson bandwagon, Dallas refuses to jump on the DeMarco Murray bandwagon, Washington’s defense is horrible, while Philadelphia’s offense is overshadowing a struggling defense. Dallas has the most talent, so the Cowboys are my pick until coach Jason Garrett proves me wrong, which could happen any day now.

The Falcons aren't in ... someone really good is going to get left out of the NFC playoffs, aren't they?

What is really good about the Falcons right now? Steven Jackson is out for two-to-four weeks, defensive end Kroy Biermann was placed on injured reserve, while linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is on the short-term version of IR. Meanwhile, receiver Roddy White has been unproductive because of his ankle injury. Honestly, Chicago has looked better than Atlanta so far.

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