IT’S starting to take shape. Week 12 provided us with the answers to questions that we have been asking for a few weeks now. Yes, the Rams seem to be legit. Yes, the Pats and Steelers have all but secured a home game in Week 2 of the AFC playoff battle. Yes, Blake Bortles will continue to do Blake Bortles things that confuse us and wow us (not in a good way). And yes, Alex Smith has officially self-destructed along with the rest of his KC teammates.
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1st: Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2) – @Bengals, vs. Ravens, vs. Patriots
2nd: New England Patriots (9-2) – @Bills, @Dolphins, @Steelers
3rd: Tennessee Titans (7-4) – vs. Texans, @Cardinals, @49ers
4th: Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) – @Jets, vs. Raiders, vs. Chargers
5th: Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4) – vs. Colts, vs. Seahawks, vs. Texans
6th: Baltimore Ravens (6-5) – vs. Lions, @Steelers, @Browns
THE standings have Pittsburgh and New England looking like they are a cut above everyone else in their conference. Don’t be so fooled though, with Tom Brady copping a beating on the weekend and the Steelers barely overcoming Green Bay there may be another twist or two left. Tennessee finally caught a break as the Jacksonville Jaguars found out what happens when Blake Bortles tries to swing the result in his team’s favour. The Chiefs are cooked and Baltimore got a much-needed win with Buffalo breathing down their neck.
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1st: Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) – @Seahawks, @Rams, @Giants
2nd: Minnesota Vikings (9-2) – @Falcons, @Panthers, vs. Bengals
3rd: Los Angeles Rams (8-3) – @Cardinals, vs. Eagles, @Seahawks
4th: New Orleans Saints (8-3) – vs. Panthers, @Falcons, vs. Jets
5th: Carolina Panthers (8-3) @Saints, vs. Vikings, vs. Packers
6th: Atlanta Falcons (7-4) – vs. Vikings, vs. Saints, @Bucs
ONE, two and three in the NFC improved their win column in headlining fashion. The Eagles towelled the hapless Bears, Minnesota made Detroit’s Turkey Day a forgettable one and the LA Rams snapped the Saints eight-game win streak with an impressive performance at home. Those same New Orleans Saints still remain in 4th place despite the Panthers winning and tying them at 8-3. Atlanta still might just be the best team in the NFC South as they moved to 7-4 with their third W on the trot. This weekend six of the top seven teams in the NFC will play another member of that group and the results will be telling.
In The Hunt
Buffalo Bills (6-5) – vs. Patriots, vs. Colts, vs. Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) – vs. Steelers, vs. Bears, @Vikings
Los Angeles Chargers (5-6) – vs. Browns, vs. Redskins, @Chiefs
Oakland Raiders (5-6) – vs. Giants, @Chiefs, @Eagles
With nine wins likely to get you into the playoffs all four of the Bills, Bengals, Chargers and Raiders recorded victories on the weekend to keep their hopes alive. Looking ahead we will find out real quick how serious Buffalo and Cincinnati are with games against the top of the food chain in Week 13. As Kansas City continues their epic fall from grace LA and Oakland are perfectly poised to overtake them with winnable games on the weekend.
Seattle Seahawks (7-4) – vs. Eagles, @ Jaguars, vs. Rams
Detroit Lions (6-5) – @Ravens, @Bucs, vs. Bears
THE top-heavy NFC means that there aren’t too many teams on the outside looking in that can cause a headache at this point of the year. Seattle has their work cut out for them, facing the No. 1 team in the league this weekend with other playoff contenders on the horizon. Detroit and a banged up Matthew Stafford may have the easiest schedule left, but they can’t afford even one slip up if they are going to complete a stunning turnaround.
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Miracles Do Happen
Green Bay Packers (5-6)
Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
Washington Redskins (5-6)
Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
Miami Dolphins (4-7)
New York Jets (4-7)
Houston Texans (4-7)
THE recipe is simple for the seven teams above clinging on to the faintest strand of hope. If they win all of their remaining games then they are likely to own a record worthy of a playoff berth. With each team missing at least one star it’s unlikely that we will see any of these squads play in January. Wait the Jets aren’t missing anyone noteworthy? Oh…
Better Luck Next Year
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
Denver Broncos (3-8)
Indianapolis Colts (3-8)
Chicago Bears (3-8)
New York Giants (2-9)
San Francisco 49ers (1-10)
Cleveland Browns (0-11)
WE are getting to the point of the year where we can officially slam the door shut on more and more team’s playoff hopes each week. This week we welcome three teams to the end of their season with the Bucs, Broncos and Colts all ruling themselves out of any postseason action thanks to Week 12 L’s. With all three of those teams struggling at quarterback due to injuries and blatant stupidity expect to see more losses pile up before the wins start flowing over the final five games of their 2017 campaigns.
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