The Ravens and Browns are 8-6. The Ravens will beat the Patriots in week 16; the Browns are favourites to beat the Bengals. You'd expect the Ravens to take the Vikings in week 17, but the Browns/Steelers is a tough one to call. It's honours even as far as the H-2-H is concerned and if both win out they will also tie in division record. Then it’s down to the hands of the Madden tie-break. Looking at the current ranking, that could be the Browns. The second place team might well clinch a wildcard spot, but they will be relying on other teams in the conference to lose a game or two.
The Jags suffered a divisional loss to the Colts (they were robbed!) but still hold the #1 seed ... for now. They play the Chargers in week 16 and travel to Indy in 17. 14-2 or 12-4 ? Either way they should make the playoffs. The Texans, meanwhile have the Titans, Colts and Chargers. They will be looking to finish in style and could take the division and #1 seed with a 13-3 record. The Colts have tough couple of weeks ahead with two divisional games to play. The Texans and Jaguars will want to avenge their earlier defeats. Could the South be sending 3 teams to the playoffs?
The Jets have the top spot at the moment but 2 unfortunate losses have seen them lose their grip on the East. They are 6-0 in the division and wins over the Steelers and Bengals will see them through. The Dolphins are having their best season so far and at 9-4 with the Steelers, Raiders and Buccs to play, they’ll be scrapping for a wildcard spot.
The Chargers have already clinched the division. It’s now just a matter of which seeding they will get.
Once again, the Packers dominate the North. The only unbeaten team in the league and set to take the #1 seed. The question is whether they will rest a few starters for the remaining fixtures, or if a the glory of a perfect season is too tempting to pass up on. It’s the Falcons who could benefit if they do.
The Buccs have it at the moment and will hope to continue to take the division. The week 17 fixture with the Dolphins will probably be critical to both and the Buccs can’t afford to sit back and relax, just yet. The Falcons, meanwhile, are snapping at their heels and could cause a late upset if they beat the Packers and when they beat the Patriots. Finishing 13-3 though should gain them a wildcard spot. Skulking away in the background is the leagues dark horse, the Panthers. They play the 49ers, Saints and Bills. Will 12-4 be enough to get them through? This is a very tight conference and it could all come down to the tie-break.
The Redskins are back and pushing for the #2 seed. Week 16 will be a corker when they face the Cowboys. Neither team will want a loss at this late stage – least of all Dallas. Week 17 sees one of the oldest rivalries in Madden when they play the Eagles. Riverman always treats these as a grudge match and there is little love lost between these two. Dallas will certainly be cheering for the Eagles in this one. As for the Cowboys, they sit at 10-4 with the Redskins and Giants to play. Will they make the playoffs? I expect them to.
The 49ers have won this. Will they be tempted to rest a few players for the remainder of the season? The Panthers would benefit if they do.