i found this and, thought some of you guys would like to read it. so here it is below:

The NFL playoffs are just around the corner, with only three weeks of the regular season remaining. Since 2002, the league expanded to eight divisions from six, adding two extra playoff spots for each conference. The American and National Football conference give four automatic bids to the East, West, North and South divisions. Also, two teams from the AFC and NFC earn wild card spots.

This yearís AFC postseason picture is starting to take shape in Week 15, with Indianapolis (13-0) standing as the only team to earn a berth. The Coltsí 26-18 road victory against Jacksonville last Sunday not only clinched the clubís third straight AFC North title, but also secured home-field throughout the playoffs for head coach Tony Dungy.

Every year, youíre going to have deserving teams that donít make the playoffs and this season is no different. The AFC faces that situation this year and it appears that three teams (Pittsburgh, San Diego, Kansas City) with identical 8-5 records will fight for the final wild card position.

Before we get into the lone spot, letís establish the first five seeds. As mentioned earlier, the Colts have wrapped up the No. 1 position. Denver (10-3) and Cincinnati (10-3) can both clinch their divisions with one victory and then will face tiebreakers for the coveted first-round bye and No. 2 seed.

New England has an outside shot to earn the second-seed in the AFC, but the Patriots would have to win out and get some help from the Broncos and Bengalsí opponents. Itís safe to say that Jacksonville (9-4) would earn a wild-card spot by winning two of its final three games against San Francisco (2-11), Houston (1-12) and Tennessee (4-9).

Letís get back to the talented trio that has their back to the wall. The Chiefs and Chargers both failed to show up in Week 14, losing to Dallas (31-28) and Miami (23-21) respectively, while the Steelers snapped a two-game skid by walloping Chicago, 21-9. All three have shown signs of dominance and all have faltered as well.

Kansas City is the only team out of the three that controls its own destiny. The Chiefs travel to the N.Y. Giants this Saturday before hosting San Diego and Cincinnati to close the season. Those three teams have a combined 27-12 record.

Pittsburgh has the easiest route, if youíre looking at records. The Steelers travel to Minnesota (8-5) on Sunday before finishing the year with a pair of identical 4-9 clubs in Detroit and Cleveland. Two road games seem tough, but at the same time very winnable.

Marty Shottenheimer and the Chargers have played one of the toughest schedules this year and handled it well. However, last weekís loss to the Dolphins mightíve cost San Diego its second consecutive playoff berth. The Bolts have back-to-back road trips to Indy and K.C. before hosting Denver in its season finale. Fortunately, San Diego will be facing the Colts and Broncos in situations where both teams have clinched already. Make or break game is at Arrowhead Stadium on Christmas Eve.

The NFC is still up for grabs at this time and only Seattle (11-2) has clinched a playoff spot. The Seahawks can wrap up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a combination of two victories and/or losses by Chicago and Carolina. Did you know that Seattleís head coach Mike Holmgren hasnít won a playoff game since he left (0-3) Green Bay?

Eight other clubs will battle it out for the final five spots and you can be assured the tiebreakers will come into play. The pendulum has been swinging back and forth all year long, but this writer likes the chances of Joe Gibbs and Washington. The Redskins host Dallas and N.Y. Giants at FedEx Field before a road finale against a banged up Philadelphia squad. Three straight victories would all but likely secure a wild card bid and maybe an NFC East title if the Giants squander one of their battles against K.C. or Oakland. It would be the first division triumph since 1999 for the Hogs.