The NFL playoff races are heating up. Week 16 was make or break for many teams. Let’s take a look at the current state of the NFL Playoff races, starting with the AFC.
AFC Playoff Preview
We can’t talk about the AFC without talking about the Steelers and the Patriots. These two teams had an epic (and fairly controversial) week 15 clash. The Patriots triumphed, seizing the driver’s seat for the number 1 AFC seed. Now both teams lead the AFC with 12 wins. The Steelers crushed the Houston Texans and only have Cleveland remaining on the docket. New England smashed the Bills in week 16 and have a home game against the Jets remaining, meaning they’ll probably keep that number one seed.
Added to the mix, veteran James Harrison signed with New England on Tuesday after getting waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
If the playoffs started today, the Jaguars (3rd seed) would play the Bills (6th seed), and the Titans (4th seed) would play the Chiefs (5th seed). The Jaguars have 10 wins, while everybody else in the AFC playoff picture (obviously excluding the Patriots and Steelers) have eight. This means the Jaguars are likely to hold onto the three seed. The soft remaining schedule of the Patriots and Steelers is a major roadblock to a first round bye for the Jags. The Ravens (eight wins) and the Chargers (seven wins) are the two key bubble teams to watch out for. Both teams close out the season against squads with losing records. Conversely, the Titans close out against the Rams and Jacksonville. Watch them closely- the soup (or “trouble” if you’re not familiar with British lingo) is splashing around their ankles.
NFC Playoff Preview
In terms of wins, The NFC is better than the AFC this year. Yet, the Patriots and the Steelers are probably the most dangerous playoff teams. If the playoffs started today, the Eagles and the Vikings would get first round byes. Both teams have loaded rosters, and an unproven commodity at quarterback.
Nine of the 12 teams that are a lock for the Playoffs have been determined.
All five of the NFC teams that have guaranteed spots in the playoffs (Philadelphia, Minnesota, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams and Carolina) didn’t make it to the beyond the regular season last year. Atlanta and Seattle are the two teams competing for the conference’s final spot.
Philadelphia (13-2) secured the top overall seed in the conference and a first-round bye with a win over Oakland Monday night.
Week 17 should be a lot of fun.