In the AFC, Why Not Zoidberg?'s time in the #1 slot was short-lived, as JPP's Missing Fingers rebounded from a Week 14 loss and regained the top seed. In the NFC, Rabid Ferrets pushed Boardwalkers out of the #2 seed position and put himself in line for an all-important first-round bye. Other than those changes, the entire top-12 remains exactly the same.
We start off in the AFC East where Mike C is trying to hammer down the division title. How does he do that? Simple -- beat Vlad M this week, and then get a little help. If Mike C wins, and then Deesato beats Ethan C, then Mike C is champ. If Vlad M wins, then the entire division gets thrown into a huge muddle where theoretically, any one of them could conceivably come out on top.
When it comes to the AFC North, one thing we can be sure of is that both JPP's Missing Fingers and Brenda's Bulldogs will be making picks in January. One of these two is going to win the division (and will have an excellent shot at earning a first-round bye), and the other will be the #5 seed and will be playing on Wild Card Weekend. Which will it be? That could very well be settled here. If JPP's Missing Fingers get the win, then the race is over and he'll seal up the division title. But if Brenda's Bulldogs comes out on top, then she'll take the lead and will have the inside track to lock up the title in Week 17.
In the AFC South, StuB will finish out as division champ, and is now looking to improve his standing for the postseason. He can't finish lower than the #4 seed (his current position), and winning these next two weeks could possibly earn him a bye. First things first, he'll have to get past Yellow Jackets, who already beat him once this season. Yellow Jackets' postseason chances are nearly gone, but putting up two wins to close out the season would put her in a situation where if enough other people lose, she could conceivably back in.
Why Not Zoidberg? has the AFC West all sewn up and currently holds a first-round bye, but he'll certainly be rooting for Brenda's Bulldogs this week to help him make it to the #1 seed and the $50 bonus that comes with it. Of course, that won't matter if he doesn't do his part by beating Mary L this week. Mary L is another player with a nearly non-existent statistical chance at a postseason berth, but even a 1% chance is still a chance -- it all begins with a win here.
We have a huge one brewing in the NFC South -- Boardwalkers holds the lead at the moment, but Beep Bops is in just about a dead heat with him. This is a huge one for Boardwalkers, who would seal up the division title with a win here. If Beep Bops prevails, then this one will be decided in the final match of the season where Beep Bops would be champ with either a win or a Boardwalkers loss.
No matter what, Turf Toe will be making the playoffs. But if he wants to earn the NFC East title, then he either needs to beat Hyena this week, or hope that Jeff B stumbles in one of his final two matches. Jeff B's only path to the title is to win the last two weeks and have Turf Toe lose the same, so Turf Toe has to be feeling pretty decent about his chances. Ironically, even though Turf Toe has not locked up the division title, he does have the inside track to the #1 seed in the NFC.
Shucky Duckies has nailed down the NFC West title, but he can still set his sights higher. He's currently the NFC's #4 seed, giving him plenty of room to move up. Earning a first-round bye would be a tricky prospect, but if Turf Toe and/or Rabid Ferrets really slip up this final two weeks, then he would have a shot it moving in to one of their slots. It all begins with a win over Fighting Sporks this week. If he can keep his perfect divisional record going, then he gets to have a shot at a bye going into Week 17.
There are also three divisional matches between opponents who have been eliminated from playoff contention. And while they only have two weeks left in their seasons, that doesn't mean they can't be successful weeks -- there are still two more Player Of The Week prizes to be awarded before the season comes to a close. The three matches are:
NFC West: Eighteen vs. Evil Squad of Evil.
NFC North: Bassturds vs. Pigskin Palookas
NFC South: Ragesters vs Alabama Slammers
There's one more match that, while not a divisional contest, still has an awful lot riding on it. Jeff B is hoping that back-to-back wins to finish the season will be enough to garner him the NFC East title, and if Turf Toe slips up, that would be the case. Looking to prevent that from happening is Rabid Ferrets, who has sealed up the NFC North crown and moved into the #2 seed spot, but is looking for more. He, like Jeff B, is hoping that Turf Toe loses to Hyena this week, but it's for purely selfish reasons. A Rabid Ferrets win and Turf Toe loss would mean Rabid Ferrets would grab up the #1 seed in the NFC and he'd be in line for the bonus cash that comes along with it.
All right, that'll do it for this part of the preview, but like last week we have an...
IMPORTANT NOTICE: It's Christmas weekend which, as is to be expected, will be changing things up from a submission standpoint. Your pick for Thursday Night Football is due in at the usual time of 12 noon on Thursday, but the rest of the week will see the deadline pushed up 24 hours -- weekend picks must be in by 8:00 pm sharp on Friday. The weekend games kick off at 1:00 on Saturday (Christmas Eve), and we're not going to be able to chase down any stragglers.
So, please make sure your pick submissions are all in on time. And to rehash the point we made last week I'd suggest you get all your picks in by the Thursday deadline. You can always make changes before the Friday deadline if you like, but you'll have a set of picks in just in case you find yourself pressed for time. All right, have a great week everyone!
Up first is Why Not Zoidberg? looking to move closer to that #1 seed with a win by Buffalo. Standing in his way is Mary L and her pick of Miami.
Then we have a matching pair -- both JPP's Missing Fingers and Mike C are very much hoping for a New Orleans win to push them to their respective division titles, while Brenda's Bulldogs and Vlad M need Tampa Bay to help keep their title hopes alive for another week.
Finally, we have Shucky Duckies trying to move up in the seeding, and a win by the Texans would be a big boost there, while a Bengals win would help Fighting Sporks play spoiler.
All right, that's all for this next-to-last preview. Hopefully you have everything taken care of that needs doing so you can spend your Christmas Eve enjoying the games. Take a look at the completed pick chart -- good luck everyone!
Check the updated pick chart and take a look back later -- the late game will definitely close out one match, and might make it two if the Bengals pull off the upset.
So with the smoke clearing on the week, the playoff picture is coming more and more into focus. Here's what we have off of this week's results:
JPP's Missing Fingers: AFC North Champion and AFC #1 seed
Mike C: AFC East Champion
Boardwalkers: NFC South Champion
Turf Toe: NFC East Champion
So as the playoff standings come together, we have all eight division champions crowned, and one AFC Wild Card spot locked up. That leaves three postseason berths left unclaimed heading into the season finale, as well as three of the four first-round byes left undetermined.
Congratulations to all of this week's winners, and extra congrats to those who got the job done and locked up their postseason berth!
Someone who won't be living up to his name this season is I Will Win It All -- having only six wins has guaranteed that. But, of those six wins, half of them, including this week, were Player of the Week performances! So while he hasn't been consistent, he's certainly fit into the "When you're hot, you're hot" mold. This big wins and close losses have him just one pick out of the Player of the Year lead as well -- something we'll take a much closer look at in next week's preview.
All right, we'll have a lot to look at next week, so we're going to get busy with that. In the meantime, check the finalized pick chart, see how you look in the nearly-completed Standings, and get a jump on submitting your final picks of the 2016 regular season.
Enjoy the week all!