What is certain?
The New York Giants have secured the first seed in the NFC and are joined by The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks. In the AFC only the Colts and Browns have secured playoff football claiming their respected division crowns. The Jets, Bills and Dolphins have gloriously stepped out of Tom Brady’s shadow and all have secured double digit win totals but only two are confirmed to move forward.
Who’s going to be sad come Sunday (read Thursday morning)?
The Green Bay Packers have it within their power to be a factor in the NFC division title, despite being 4 – 11. Should the Green Bay stroll over to US Bank Stadium and take down the Vikings, they will take revenge for their week 5 loss and hand the division to Detroit. Although mathematically speaking and regarding the NFL rules on tie-breakers, Detroit will take the division crown officially as they hold a 5-1 division record which means the Vikings are done for, even if they take out the Packers and Detroit loses to Carolina. Sad times!
Realistically this leaves us with one spot yet to be decided and some potential ups and downs within the seedings.
Atlanta and Tampa Bay come in with identical win-losses at 12 and 3 but Tamp holds the upper hand with a better division record giving them the current 2nd seed. However, should they succumb to the Patriots at home and the Falcons beat the Cowboys they swap places. Up for grabs is the chance for a week off or a wildcard battle.
The final wildcard slot will be between either Washington or Philadelphia. The Eagles have the upper hand with a 10-5 record against the ‘Skins 9 – 6. However, should Washington take home a win against a possible Giants team resting its starts and the Eagles loss away to the hot and cold 49ers their division record (as their head to head is equal) will see them into the Wildcard round.
Expect to see the reigning Super Bowl champs, Tampa Bay, hold their 2nd seed and the Redskins to pip the Eagles to the 6th seed as a resurgent 49ers team upsets the Eagles and New York rests its 1st string, putting Bryce Petty under centre just to stick one to the Jets but falls flat. Division winners in the wildcard round be warned thought – you do not want to meet the rampant Falcons!
And now it all gets a little bit more exciting (that’s right the AFC is more exciting than the “Eli Manning” dull NFC).
Game of the week has to be the hum-dinger, division final bash in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos hold their destiny in the hands of a man named after a British pre-made stuffing, (actually its Paxo but close enough). Can the young gun Paxton Lynch destroyed the dreams of father of 7 Phillip Rivers in his twilight years? Will Spice Racks belief in Melvin Gordon be repaid in this alternate world and see him out perform perennial making-the-leap C.J. Anderson? Can the Chargers find ecstasy by joining the mile high club and sending the Broncos to the glue factory in their own house? If they do, the head to head record will see the Chargers secure the AFC West crown that they missed out on last year and potentially make a surprised return to the Super Bowl.
Whilst this maybe the game of the week, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the AFC East (except the Patriots – to which fans from the other 31 teams smile greatly).
Losses by both Buffalo and Miami put the Jets in the drivers seat to claim not only the division – for the 2nd year in a row – but also the 2nd seed. The Jets face the middling Bengals in Ohio and should come away with the win. Whilst what could have been a division title deciding game in Buffalo becomes a probably loser goes home. Miami cannot take the AFC East crown but they can help their bid for post-season football by beating Buffalo. Should all 3 teams lose, New York takes the crown but Miami will take 2nd place in the Division over Buffalo based on the common game win percentage.
All three teams would be happy to see Houston take out some final game season hate on the Jaguars preventing them from sneaking into the offseason and securing three AFC East teams in January football. Should the Jaguars win, the cat (in this case a large tropical rainforest cat) will be well and truly in amongst the pigeons.
With nothing to play for in Cleveland, the Colts best hope that the Browns starters are in the bar chilling out because a loss to Cleveland and wins by wither Buffalo or New York could see the Colts dive-bomb from the number 1 seed to number 3, due to their week 3 loss to the Jets and their conference record.
Colts dive-bomb to the 3rd seed, Miami loses out on a playoff trip by losing in Buffalo as Jacksonville gives further argument to Crock Osweiller being s**t and Rivers puts the young gun Paxton “I ate too much turkey with stuffing” Lynch to the sword securing the AFC West for the Chargers and another route to make amends for losing last year’s Super Bowl.
IT’S GONNA BE A GREAT FINALLE PEOPLE.
PS: In a game no one gives a s**t about (not even the coaches who appear to be on auto-pilot) the Cardinals can sew up the first pick by playing dead against the Titans.