With something to play for across the board of the PFL Pro 10, the second season reaches its penultimate week. The playoff mix in the AFC is wide open with the three AFC East teams in the hunt for January football, its high risk and reward for the Bills, Jets and Dolphins with the slim chance of nabbing the number 1 seed but with the Jacksonville Jaguars nipping at their heels and one of these vaulted franchises could slip out altogether.
Whilst only one AFC team can sneak out of the bubble into the playoffs, the NFC is faced with 3 potential upstarts depending on how games play out. The Giants and Seahawks are assured of seeing January football but things are not as certain for the Bucs and Falcons. Despite both holding strong records the pressure is on to ensure they hit the home stretch at full-pelt to avoid being a casualty of the NFL’s division system. Hoping for divine intervention are the Rams, Eagles, and Redskins, with the Vikings and Lions look to the other hoping they fall asleep at the wheel to nick the division.
It would be rude to ignore those that have fought hard but ultimately come up short this season and with that in mind the race to the bottom is yet to be concluded, the Cardinals have the wooden spoon all but in their hands – but will their coaches desire to win cost them in the final stretch? Waiting ready to pounce for that 1st pick are the Panthers, Titans and the Cowboys.
Here’s the low down on the top 3 games going into week 16:
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
This is the division to keep an eye on this week, and the game of the week is undoubtedly the rematch of the week 4 stormer as the Jets visit Buffalo hoping to level up the records and leapfrog them to the top of the division. Having seen some up and down week the Jets will hope to consolidate some winning performances and Buffalo will be praying that their run game will be more proficient then week 4 when they managed a paltry 22 yards. It’s highly likely that Coach @RainbowDoc will be having a word with Tyrod Taylor and what colour his team plays in. A Jet win will put the cat amongst the pigeons if Miami also wins and would leave all three fighting it out for 2 playoff spots and potential 2 seed. A Bills win will give them the edge for the Division crown and potential pressure on the Colts for the 1 seed. In reality, this is all fans of the game need to think about – do you really want to see Geno Smith in the post season?
Tampa Bay @ Miami
This NFC/AFC match up has potential impact across the board. Like the middle child seeking appreciation from their parents, Miami comes into this game with it all to do. At risk of slipping out of the playoff picture despite a strong season record they welcome their Floridian neighbours for the “Fun in the sun” Bowl. They’ll need to hope that Tannerhill bucks the trend of this season and doesn’t add to his 30 interceptions so far. Miami needs a win to keep the pressure on Buffalo and New York, a loss may not end their playoff hunt as long as the Bills suffer the same fate.
For Tampa Bay they need to come home with a win to maintain control of their destiny and with a rampant Falcons team close by they cannot afford any slip ups. Tampa will need to see their offense match the performance of their top ranked D to secure this road victory. Winning keeps the Bucs in the hunt for the 2nd seed and keeps Atlanta at bay. With Tampa welcoming New England in week 17 and Atlanta travelling to Dallas both teams should win out over the final two weeks. If they don’t, the Seattle Seahawks are waiting on tippy toes to steal the 2 seed in the same way they have been picking off QBs like they’ve been picking fruit off a tree.
Minnesota @ Atlanta
The Vikings have a tough road visit to the 10-win streak Falcons, with the division on the line they will need to pull out an exceptional performance with the knowledge that the Lions face the ineffective 4 – 10 Bears. A Lions win and a Vikings loss could spell the end of the Vikes dreams as Detroit faces the first-pick chasing Panthers in week 17 whilst Minnesota finishes the year off with a divisional match up at home to Green Bay.
Atlanta are on a seriously hot run currently and putting serious pressure on Tampa Bay for the NFC South crown, any slip up here however is likely to relegate them to a wildcard berth. Can the historically choking Falcons put a pin in their inability to finish and sneak through to take the 2 seed?
Elsewhere in the AFC
San Diego, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver and Jacksonville all need to keep winning.
The Chargers face off against the Eagles, one of these teams will in effect see their season ended in week 16.
Oakland can, however, do their Californian cousins a favour by reclaiming some pride by taking down the Broncos.
Jacksonville must win against the Colts to keep any hope of wildcard slot going, should that happen the Colts will be at risking of losing their 1 seed to the AFC East.
Elsewhere in the NFC:
Little else to be concerned with, New York are all but guaranteed the 1 seed and so the fight now sits with who is going to take the 2nd seed. Whoever wins the NFC North will be hitting the wildcard eekend regardless. Should Tampa and Atlanta both lose, the Seahawks may have the opportunity to sneak up to the 2 seed but in reality their game is one to avoid as the Cardinals are intent on securing the 1st pick in the draft and Seattle probably want to avoid any significant injuries. LA has a very slim chance of sneaking in to the wildcard but A LOT and I mean A LOT would need to go in their favour.
Individual performances to watch out for:
Zach Brown could overtake the injured Bobby Wagner as the “Pick-King” and whilst Alex Smith kept the ball away from the opposition last week, the Chiefs are averaging 2 turnovers per game.
Jeremiah Attaochu could make up for Wagner losing the pick record by claiming Michael Strahans 2001 record of 22.5 sacks. Seeing as Attaochu and the Seahawks were intent on killing Palmer and the rookie Forbes in week 12 with 5 team sacks, (4 by Attaochu) this is a real possibility.
A lot could be decided this week, but a lot could still be left open. Pressure is mounting on the leaders and hopes are set to be crushed on all others.
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Last modified on Monday, 27 February 2017 12:41