NFL Playoff Picture: Stretch run vs Looking towards the Draft

By Will Stevenson

This season is a season of newcomers, disappointment and staying alive. While each season gives us new playoff teams along with teams the made it last year that are now struggling, fans are holding on to every game as the playoffs are just around the corner. The NFC and AFC West have a combined record of (22-7-1 and 21-8 respectively) between the top 6 teams. With their only being two Wildcard slots open these divisions are looking to snuff out the playoff chances of teams that are looking to make a late-season surge.

  1. Newcomers:
    The Cowboys are (9-1) this year, and looking at the STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE they haven’t played many good teams, but the Patriots play in the AFC East so who cares about bad opponents. Dak Prescott has been efficient this season and the offensive line has made Ezekiel Elliot an MVP candidate this year. I don’t like the Cowboys as much as the next, but when they are actually good, we must respect it.
    The Lions (6-4) are still the same team they’ve been since Matthew Stafford has arrived, the only difference is the NFC South is down-right terrible. The Lions are winning close games, in which they have trailed in the 4th quarter every game this season. Don’t worry, they’ll flame out in the playoffs or maybe before they have a chance to get there.
    I know the Buccaneers (5-5) aren’t the type of team we love, nor are they the “newcomer”, but the Winston and Mike Evans along with the defense have been able to stay in the mix as the season chugs along. We expected them to be at the bottom of the conference and division, but like the Titans and Texans, they keep winning.
    I don’t look at the Giants (7-3) as newcomers, because they are still the same team from last year, but they have won their close games this year versus their losses in close games in the previous season. Winning close games isn’t an exact skill, just ask the Panthers.
  2. Disappointments
    The Vikings (6-4) aren’t disappointments in the beginning, but throughout the season they have been up and down. First Teddy Bridgewater went down, then Adrian Peterson. Then they traded for Sam Bradford. Bradford looked good, the defense was great, but now they just snapped their 4 game losing streak.
    The Panthers (4-6) are a disappointment because they didn’t keep Josh Norman, which helped their defense, no matter how many of us said we shouldn’t have signed him. With the NFL changing every year I the standings, not too many teams can stay consistent with their winning. The Panthers are crawling back slowly, but they need to win out to take the division as the NFC East looks to take hold of the Wildcard positions.
    Arizona (4-5-1) and the Packers (4-6) are struggling along the offensive line and their defenses aren’t holding up like the should this year. Both offenses have been behind most of the year as Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers have been under fire all year long. A losing season for each club could result in coaching changes during the offseason.

National Football Conference

1DAL 9 1 0 .900 5-1 .386 .352 NFC East Champ
2SEA 7 2 1 .750 3-2-1 .465 .486 NFC West Champ
3DET 6 4 0 .600 4-2 .455 .475 NFC North Champ.
4ATL 6 4 0 .600 4-3 .530 .525 NFC South Champ
5NYG 7 3 0 .700 5-3 .490 .464
6WSH 6 3 1 .650 4-2 .500 .443
7MIN 6 4 0 .600 4-4 .500 .508
8TB 5 5 0 .500 4-3 .490 .400
9PHI 5 5 0 .500 3-5 .545 .373
10ARI 4 5 1 .450 3-3-1 .445 .250
11NO 4 6 0 .400 3-3 .551 .413
12CAR 4 6 0 .400 4-4 .485 .338
13GB 4 6 0 .400 3-4 .540 .425
14LA 4 6 0 .400 3-4 .490 .500
15CHI 2 8 0 .200 2-5 .556 .600
16SF 1 9 0 .100 1-7 .555 .400

As we look at the AFC, the Patriots are at the top, which is no surprise to anyone, but it’s the other teams that have caught the fanbase with excitement.

The Raiders (8-2) are on showcase tonight against the Texans (6-3) in Mexico City as this matchup breeds to division leaders that give us exciting offense on one side, and Top 5 defense on the other. The Raiders defense has improved over the past few weeks as they have seemed to catch up with the offense. Of course we don’t believe the Raiders can actually win the Super Bowl, but we shouldn’t just discount them because they are unproven.

The Texans (6-3) have Brock Osweiler and are missing JJ Watt, which was supposed to put them at the bottom of the division, but their defense has stepped up to the challenge this season. The Texans look like their usual selves, running, defense, and bad quarterbacking. They’ll need to change things if they want to advance this postseason, or just to fight off the Colts and the Titans for the division.

The Dolphins (6-4) are actually competent this season, lately. They are running the ball very well, playing better defense, and the Dolphins won a come from behind game against the Rams in LA yesterday. Do they have enough to fend off the Bills and make the wildcard? The AFC West seems to take up all the Wildcard slots at the moment, but the Dolphins are winning, which is a surprise to us all.

The Steelers (5-5) have had injuries, bad defensive games and suspensions which have crippled them this season. With the Ravens still not able to put points on the board consistently, the Steelers have the opportunity to overtake the division.

American Football Conference

1NE 8 2 0 .800 6-1 .435 .388 AFC East Champ
2Oak 7 2 0 .778 5-1 .495 .451 AFC West Champ
3Hou 6 3 0 .667 4-2 .527 .443 AFC South
4Bal 5 5 0 .500 5-2 .441 .231 AFC North
5KC 7 3 0 .700 5-2 .459 .420
6Den 7 3 0 .700 4-2 .495 .457
7Mia 6 4 0 .600 5-3 .441 .344
8Pitt 5 5 0 .500 4-3 .525 .392
9Ind 5 5 0 .500 3-4 .475 .385
10Buf 5 5 0 .500 2-4 .505 .420
11Ten 5 6 0 .455 3-5 .468 .353
12SD 4 6 0 .400 3-5 .560 .488
13Cin 3 6 1 .350 3-4 .559 .290
14NYJ 3 7 0 .300 3-4 .470 .323
15Jack 2 8 0 .200 1-6 .515 .350
16Cle 0 11 0 .000 0-8 .550 .000

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If you are looking for deep insight with big words and well put together sentences, you are looking in the wrong place. I think as i am typing. There are misspelled words, fragmented sentences, improper punctuation, and incomplete thoughts. Nothing is in order, so just becuase I have a title, doesn't mean that's what it is about. I usually write my titles after the fact. I plan nothing. I just write what I am thinking at the moment, and then I just stop. I don't wrap things up, or have a conclusion and intro, just a whole bunch of words coming from a brain that should have been analyzed as a child, but now has 30 years of misguided wisdom. So there you have it.

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