Here’s the current playoff picture before the last two weeks of the NFL season:

Below I outline my predictions for the playoffs:

AFC Setup: I think the AFC is pretty well set, except for my Colts team, who unfortunately have the tough position of winning out — once against the Raiders at Oakland and once against Titans at home. Both games are not push-overs: The Raiders have a slim chance to get into the playoffs because they are 5-0 in their division. By beating the Colts, a win against their devision rivals, the Chiefs, would give them a spot in the playoffs. What’s probably most surprising is the fact that the Chiefs would get in today, but a lot can change in two weeks.

NFC Setup: The NFC is the most volatile. As it stands, the RAMS have a chance to make it in, but only if they win out. The Giants losing to the Eagles last week was a crushing blow, and now they have to hope that the Packers aren’t going to spoil it for them. With Aaron Rodgers back, the team looks like a dark horse — they almost came back to beat the Patriots at Foxboro with a rookie QB. Ultimately, I think we’ll see the Packers make it into the playoffs and knock out the Giants.

AFC Wild Card Predictions: So, taking the AFC as it is, I see the Jets beating Chiefs. There is practically no offense on the Chiefs other than their running game, and it is tough to see them beating the defensive minded Jets. The Baltimore/Indy game is always a classic — a behemoth defense against a prolific offense. Unfortunately our team has suffered some injuries so it will be difficult to say that we make it much farther than the wild card. However, the Colts do have home field advantage as the division leaders (in a rough and gritty division), so we have a sporting chance.

NFC Wild Card Predictions: With the NFC, the Eagles will likely steam-roll over any team — they are a juggernaut and Vick is an amazing player. It will take a great defensive stand by any team (Packers, Giants). The team is 6-2 with Vick at the Helm and have scored 20+ points against every opponent they have played except in one game this season. With a healthy Samuel, the team has a great combination of offense and defense. Unbelievably, the Rams will make the playoffs with the 4th seed, meaning they have home field advantage against the Saints. Another great game, but with the inexperience on the Rams squad, I doubt they will beat the defending champions, the Saints.

AFC Divisional Game Predictions: The Patriots are the powerhouse of the AFC — simply unstoppable. And their post-season record has been impeccable. They should easily beat Jets at home, given their recent 45-3 embarrassment. The Steelers have to face the Colts, and our success with them is only measured with one game in the post season: In 2006, the Steelers eeked us out with a field goal. The Steelers are playing some great football, and this is likely where the season ends for the Colts in Pittsburgh.

NFC Divisional Game Predictions: Two birds, the Eagles and the Falcons, both have amazing offenses. But it is defenses that win games — this matchup is favoring the Eagles again. It is remarkable that the Falcons have rolled into the playoffs, but their true colors will be shown with a second matchup against NO this week. If they hold the Eagles to a small amount of points in the Georgia Dome, then maybe we’ll see a good game from the Falcons, but ultimately not a win. The Bears are making a great run towards the end of the season and are “bearing down” against many teams. This should be a no contest if their defense can stop the Saints. It would be great to see the Bears in a conference playoff again, as they have been overshadowed by many high profile teams in the NFC like the Packers and the Saints of old.

AFC Championship Game (Steelers @ Patriots) Prediction: Patriots. Same justification as above really — Brady can pick apart defenses and his O-line is still one of the best in the NFL, enough to limit the blizting rush of the Steelers. The Patriots also should have a gameplan ready to slow down Mendenhall.

NFC Championship Game (Eagles @ Bears) Prediction: This will be an instant classic. If there is any defense that can stop Vick, it is the Bears D. In fact they did in week 12 — final score with the Bears up by 5. This one should also be just as close, but probably more of a fist-fight than the previous game. Expect a low scoring grudge match, but with the Bears inching by.

Super Bowl (Patriots v. Bears) Prediction: *sigh* the Patriots again? As the old adage says — defenses win championships. So here we have two great defensive squads with two great histories, but only one team has the clearly better offense — the Patriots will (to my disgust) win this one.

AFC Wild Cards
: Colts over Baltimore, Jets over Chiefs
NFC Wild Cards: Eagles over Packers, Saints over Rams
AFC Divisional Games: Eagles over Falcons, Bears over Saints
NFC Divisional Games: Steelers over Colts, Patriots over Jets
AFC Championship: Patriots over Steelers
NFC Championship: Bears over Eagles
Super Bowl: Patriots over Bears

Yes, it hurts me to say that the Patriots will win again, but I really can’t imagine the Patriots being stopped with how they are playing in December. I would not be surprised though if the Patriots did get knocked out early, given the Steelers history in the playoffs as well (or even by the Jets looking for revenge). The other side, the NFC, looks pretty clear. But, the Eagles still could beat the Bears too if Vick can figure out how to throw a football as well.