Dec
22
2020

The Latest NFL Playoff Picture

There are only two weeks left in the NFL regular season. As Christmas approaches, there is no time for kinship and love in the NFL. It is all about grabbing the remaining playoff spots. Week 15 shook everything up; now anything can happen. The NFL is coming to the most dramatic, brutal, and heart-wrenching conclusion possible. Let’s take a look at the state of play in both conferences.

AFC

The Kansas City Chiefs are closing in on the one seed in the AFC. A narrow win over the New Orleans Saints leaves Kansas City on the brink. The one seed and the crucial bye will belong to Andy Reid’s team with a win over the Atlanta Falcons. In theory, the Chiefs could lose their last two games, and they could still win the one seed. Don’t forget, Kansas City possesses the tiebreaker over the surging Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs are in charge of their destiny in the AFC.

The destiny of the second seed changed dramatically over the weekend. Week 15 saw the rampaging Buffalo Bills leap into second place. Buffalo clinched their first AFC East title after crushing the Broncos on Saturday afternoon. The Bills are beginning to play their best game at the perfect time.

Sean McDermott’s magnificent team is closing in on the second seed in the AFC; the final two weeks will see Buffalo play division rivals New England and Miami. Buffalo can ram home their newfound dominance in the division with two wins, plus they can announce themselves as the Chiefs’ biggest threat.

Buffalo is in second place due to the Pittsburgh Steelers wobbling at the worst time. The Steelers’ struggles are shocking the NFL world currently. Three straight defeats see Pittsburgh drop to third place. Even worse for Pittsburgh fans, the Steelers must play Indianapolis and Cleveland in weeks 16 and 17.

Pittsburgh’s offense has sunk to the bottom of the Allegheny River. They can’t run the ball, Roethlisberger can’t throw the ball, and the playcalling is from the 1970s. The battered Steelers are in trouble, the last three weeks we’ve seen them fall from first to third, now they must right the sinking ship. Why? The door is now open for the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland strolled to a Sunday night win over the Giants. Cleveland is now one game back of the ailing Steelers. Cleveland is hot right now, no surprise that it’s coincided with the bruising Nick Chubb’s return. Kevin Stefanski’s team are in a brilliant position. Baker Mayfield is back to his Oklahoma best; the receivers are playing fantastically well; meanwhile, Myles Garrett and crew on the defense are feasting.

The Browns take on the now not winless Jets in Week 16. Cleveland needs to take care of its business. Then they must hope for a Christmas present from the Colts. If Hoosier Santa can deliver them that dream gift, it could set up the biggest Browns game in 20 years. The Browns could play the Steelers in Week 17 for the AFC North title.

The Titans and Colts are still wedded to one another atop the AFC South. Both teams own 10-4 records; both split their season series 1-1. Tennessee is on top by holding a better division record. Tennessee hammered the Lions, whereas the Colts edged a win over the Texans.

Neither team is giving in; it is a thrilling divisional race. Week 16 is monumentally big in this division. The Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers, concurrently, Tennessee heads to Green Bay in a mouthwatering clash that has consequences for both conferences. Eventually, one of Tennessee or Indianapolis will make a mistake, who will blink first?

The Dolphins vanquished the Patriots in Week 15. That win ended New England’s playoff hopes. More importantly, it kept Miami in seventh place; critically, they still hold the last wildcard spot. At 9-5, the Dolphins are level with the Baltimore Ravens. Lamar Jackson looks to be back to his MVP best; the Ravens crushed Jacksonville.

Next for Baltimore is a game against the Giants. The Dolphins visit the sinking Raiders; it is a playoff game for the Raiders. Las Vegas must win, their season is over if they lose. Conversely, for Miami, a defeat could clear the playoff pathway for the Ravens. The final spot is down to these three teams. It could go in any direction.

NFC

The Packers are inching ever closer to the first-round bye in the NFC. A less than convincing win over the Panthers sees them on the precipice. Unfortunately for Aaron Rodgers and company, there is a bulldozer sized running back in the way. Green Bay welcomes the Tennessee Titans to Lambeau field in Week 16.

A win coupled with the Seahawks losing will give Green Bay the one seed. A defeat would not be disastrous; the Pack own the tiebreaker over New Orleans; however, they’d like to ease the pressure as much as possible. Green Bay can do that with a win over the Titans.

New Orleans lost a close game to Kansas City this past week. They should’ve won; nevertheless, they lost. New Orleans’ chance of grasping the one seed is slipping away; they would love to grab the bye week. Injuries are piling up for the Saints; they could do with a bye.

Ultimately, New Orleans can’t concern themselves with things out of their control. Christmas day sees them welcome the Vikings to the Big Easy. New Orleans can exact revenge and clinch the division with a win. That is the best Christmas gift for any Saints fan.

Sound the alarms; there is a new clubhouse leader in the NFC West. The Seahawks are now on top. They defeated the Dwayne Haskins led Washington Football Team on Sunday. It was unconvincing, not that it matters. Wins are the only currency teams are dealing with right now. The ‘Hawks went on the road to a tricky opponent and won.

Afterward, the winless New York Jets provided them with a beautiful gift. The Rams played an ugly game as the Jets beat them. It was an abject game from Sean McVay and his offense. They could not run the ball, Goff looked rattled by the Jets’ pressure, culminating in an ignominious defeat. This week, these two teams play each other.

The Rams travel to the Pacific Northwest; the division title is on the line. The NFC West comes down to this; Week 16, Rams v Seahawks for all the marbles.

The Football Team is still in pole position in the NFC East. Notwithstanding Dwayne Haskins abysmal quarterback play. If Alex Smith can come back healthy, Washington is still in a strong place. The defense is ferocious; the offense needs their game manager back.

If Washington continues to falter, the Giants, the Jalen Hurts-led Eagles, and the Cowboys are all still in the hunt. None of those teams can win a wildcard berth; their only pathway is through the division. The schedule features all four of these teams playing divisional games over the next two weeks. The most bizarre division in the NFL could come down to a bananas conclusion.

Tampa Bay and Arizona are closing in on their postseason spots. The Bucs’ comeback win over Atlanta should see them over the line. Even if it isn’t, the Bucs’ forgiving schedule places them in a fantastic position to sew up their place in the playoffs.

The chaotic Cardinals are playing a manic brand of football currently. Every game is unpredictable and wild; they held on to a win over the Eagles, they are now 8-6. Realistically, only the resurgent Bears can deprive Arizona of that seventh spot. Arizona plays San Francisco this week; meanwhile, the Bears play Jacksonville. Arizona’s fate is in their hands, although Chicago is ready to pounce if they slip up.