Last week I called for mayhem and we got some mayhem when it comes to the playoff race. The Chiefs beat the Raiders on TNF to take first place in the AFC West and the second seed in the AFC playoffs. The Seahawks played their worst game in the Russell Wilson era and blew their chance to clinch the NFC West. The Giants stopped the Cowboys from clinching the division.
Here’s how the AFC looks:
- New England Patriots (11-2)
- Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
- Houston Texans (7-6)
- Oakland Raiders (10-3)
- Denver Broncos (8-5)
Just outside are the Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Bills, Colts, Bengals, and Chargers. Jets, Jags, and the 0-13 Browns are all eliminated.
And in the NFC:
- Dallas Cowboys (11-2) – clinched
- Detroit Lions (9-4)
- Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)
- Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
- New York Giants (9-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)
The Redskins, Vikings, Packers, Cardinals, Saints, Eagles, and Panthers are all still technically in the hunt, while the Rams, Bears, 49ers are all out.
Week 15 – LEEETS GO!
Los Angeles Rams (4-9) at Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)
The Rams are eliminated from the playoffs and have fired their head coach Jeff Fisher, like a week after giving him a contract extension. The Seahawks played their worst football since Russell Wilson was drafted and passed up a chance to clinch the division last week against the Packers. The Rams beat the Hawks earlier this year, 9-3. And have won their last three meetings. The Seahawks are fully embracing the “Action Green” Color Rush uniforms this week, from green rally towels, green end zones, green Sea Gal uniforms, and I’m sure a ton of Action Green merchandise sales. If you may recall, I’ve been a big opponent of the Color Rush uniforms all season. I’ve been torn on these Action Green uniforms all season long – dreading this week’s game. But it’s kind of a fun thing to do while the Seahawks are playing like shit and are without Earl Thomas for the rest of the season. So, go Action Green and go Hawks.
Miami Dolphins (8-5) at New York Jets (4-9)
The Dolphins are right outside the playoff glass looking in. The Jets have nothing to play for – except their dignity. Which they seemed to have reclaimed last week in their double-digit comeback against the shitty 49ers. The Dolphins have lost Ryan Tannehill to an ACL injury, however. Unless their defense can keep them in it, the Jets might actually have a chance here.
Green Bay Packers (7-6) at Chicago Bears (3-10)
The Packers stomped on the Seahawks last week, but Aaron Rodgers has a calf injury that he’s insisting isn’t a problem. The bigger problem for the Packers is the Lions sitting pretty in the 2nd seed of the playoffs and the Vikings also ahead of them in the playoff race. The Lions lead the division but the Vikings and Packers are only 2 back with three games left. With Stafford injured, anything can happen and the division could be up for grabs – except for the Bears of course. Bears are a casualty here.
Cleveland Browns (0-13) at Buffalo Bills (6-7)
Rumors of Rex Ryan’s firing swirling, the whiteout and lake effect snow all around in Buffalo, and the Browns majestic season makes this a must-miss game of the week. Waste of time – even though the Bills are still technically in the playoff hunt. But let’s be honest, no one wants to watch this game.
Winner: Bills – because 0-14
Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
Both teams lost must-wins last week. The Eagles are on the verge of being eliminated, with Dallas all but wrapping up the NFC East. The Ravens and Steelers are fighting for their division, as it should be in Week 15. Both teams are on the outside looking in. If the Ravens want to keep pace, they’ll need to win this one. Sorry, Philly.
Tennessee Titans (7-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
The Chiefs scored all of their points in the second quarter last week and then played stout defense to claim the 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and the lead in the division. Thanks to their run game, the Titans are still in the hunt for the playoffs. The AFC South is deadlocked, with the Texans sitting at the top – for now. The Chiefs need to put some space between them and the Raiders and this is the best chance to do it with a tough remaining schedule. The Titans are grasping at a miracle season that no one saw coming – this matchup being a tad-bit underrated this week. Chiefs can clinch a playoff spot this week with a win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1)
This is always a fun match-up, isn’t it? However, the Bengals were supposed to be in a better place than they are right now to make this even mean a whole lot. The Steelers need a win to pad their lead over the Ravens and keep themselves in the playoffs. The Bengals are at the bottom and will likely stay there.
Detroit Lions (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4)
Matthew Stafford injured a finger last week, but insists it will not be a problem. The Giants beat the Cowboys – again – to keep their playoff hopes alive. This match-up could happen again in the playoffs if things stay the same. If the Giants lose and Dallas wins, the Cowboys can clinch the division and a first-round bye. Detroit can clinch the NFC North with a win and a Green Bay loss. The Giants can clinch a playoff spot this week with a win and a Washington loss…. Oh and a Minnesota loss or tie, PLUS a Green Bay loss or tie. So, both teams need to win. Someone is clinching something thanks to this game.
Winner: Giants are on a roll – keeping things interesting with the Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (7-6)
Both of these teams are on the outside looking in at this point and both need a win to keep their seasons relevant. Minnesota needs to lose to help out the Giants and the Colts need a win to get to .500. Vikings are playing surprisingly good football – still. They’re just a damn miracle this year.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at Houston Texans (7-6)
Houston can pad their division lead with a win this week against the sad Jaguars. Hoorah Texans. I’m uninterested.
New Orleans Saints (5-8) at Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1)
The Cardinals almost completed a comeback against the Dolphins last week but fell short. Carson Palmer is still throwing interceptions like a crazy man and the Saints are struggling to hold on to anything. Thanks to the shitty records in the NFC, the Saints and the Cardinals haven’t been eliminated quite yet. The Seahawks can clinch the division even if they lose to the Rams if Arizona loses. Saints don’t have a shot – truly. That pains me because I love Drew Brees.
San Francisco 49ers (1-12) at Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
The Falcons are sitting in the 4th seed right now with a slight lead on the Buccaneers in the division. The Bucs have been surprisingly great the last few weeks to climb up the standings and into playoff – and division – contention. Falcons need a win to separate from the Buccaneers, who will face a true test against the Cowboys this week. Falcons got the better end of the deal in the NFC South during week 15.
Oakland Raiders (10-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-8)
The Raiders fell to the 5th seed after losing to the Chiefs last week. They can clinch a playoff spot with a win. OR a tie and a Miami loss. OR a tie and a Denver loss. OR a tie, Miami tie, and a Denver tie. OR like 5 other scenarios that are just ridiculous. Basically, they just need to win and take care of their own business. That’s the easiest route for the Raiders. Chargers are just…. They’re just hanging on. Here’s my prediction for the Chargers this week:
New England Patriots (11-2) at Denver Broncos (8-5)
More playoff clinching scenarios! The Patriots win the AFC East with a win or tie OR a Miami loss or tie. They can also clinch a first-round bye with a win. The Super Bowl Champions are sitting in the final seed of the AFC bracket and need a win to stay there thanks to the competitive AFC. The struggling offense of the Broncos might be the very thing holding them back from a playoff run this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-2)
Dallas wins and Giants lose, Cowboys win the division and a first-round bye. The Buccaneers have been on a hell of a roll, winning five-straight to get themselves right at the top of the NFC race. We’re so lucky to be able to have meaningful football game to watch in primetime, because MNF is garbage. If this Tampa Bay defensive line gets to Prescott the way other teams have the last couple weeks, they could rattle him and give their offense a chance to put some points up against Dallas’ lackluster defense.
Winner: Tampa Bay with an upset
Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Washington Redskins (7-5-1)
In a few playoff clinching scenarios, teams need Washington to lose. They’re pretty good at blowing chances they have to stay relevant (I grew up in DC), so this is their opportunity to keep that DC sports tradition alive. But the Panthers aren’t great and are sitting at the bottom of the NFC – however, still mathematically alive in the playoffs – for now. I can’t believe this is a Monday night game during week 15. What a wreck.
Enjoy the last weekend of football before the holidays! Next week – we feast!