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2011 Home Stretch Playoff Picture

Posted by ultimatefbexperience on December 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM

      With just one-quarter of the 2011 season left to be played, there are sixteen teams with a chance to land one of the ten league playoff spots. Let's take a look at how it will play out.

NFC East.   After a 3-4 start, Hudson County (7-6) had won four of five to sneak up to a game behind Lenox Hill (8-4) going into this week's action.  Even though Lenox has lost two in a row, Hudson's close loss to BB this week means they are going to need help from Harlow or Etna to overtake the Hitmen.  These teams face off in week 15, a must-win for Hudson especially since Lenox won their first meeting.

NFC Central.   Buffalo (10-2) has a delicate hold on the top spot right now but faces an interesting test against New Jersey this week.  The Jawbreakers are sure to be up for this contest after suffering their first loss last week to Rural Hall (9-3).  Should the Bills lose, they still have a slight advantage over the 10th AD due to a better overall record within their division, thanks to Marietta (6-6) knocking off Rural Hall back in week 5.  Buffalo and Rural Hall have already split their two head to head contests.  Since both will surely be solid favorites in all their remaining games, the Central title could well come down to the division record tiebreaker.

NFC West.   With a three game lead and a sweep of their head-to-head games, San Pedro (10-2) would have to completely collapse in order for BB (7-5) to continue their string of four straight West Division crowns.

NFC Wildcard.   The runner-up in the Central Division battle is likely to secure the first wild card spot.  The second will come down to a battle between BB (8-5), Hudson (7-6), Marietta (6-6) and Gashouse (5-7).  BB should be the front runner because they have the easiest schedule down the stretch.

AFC East.   This race is too close to call.  Current leader Tampa Bay (8-4) has challenging games remaining against Fog City and Albany, as well as a head-to-head match against second place Frostburg (8-5) in week 15.  The Black Sheep won the first contest between those teams, 28-27.  Macungie (7-5) has the easiest remaining schedule but needs to overcome a disadvantage in the head-to-head matchups, having already lost two to Tampa and one to Frostburg.

AFC Central.   Fog City (10-2) is on an eight game roll and has climbed to #2 in the all important Action power rankings.  While they might look fairly secure to lock down the division banner for the fourth straight time, Albany (8-5) and Spokane (7-5) are still in position to make it interesting.  All three teams face opponents with winning records in all but one of their remaining games.

AFC West.   With the division title clinched and a perfect season out of the picture, there will be no distractions in New Jersey (11-1) about resting starters, etc.  But can Coach Scott keep his squad sharp and focused for the playoffs?

AFC Wildcard.   It's a big tangled mess right now, but the East and Central division teams are going to get to know each other pretty well over the final four weeks so stay tuned for these key matchups: 

Week 13:  Tampa Bay at Fog City

Week 14:  Albany at Tampa Bay,  Spokane at Frostburg,  Macungie at Fog City

Week 15:  Frostburg at Tampa Bay,  Spokane at Albany

Week 16:  Macungie at Frostburg,  Fog City at Spokane

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