This week in the NFL is almost over all that remains is a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles, who really have no shot at making the playoffs at this point. After 15 games I am more confused than ever and completely perplexed by the last remaining division races and the teams clawing at each other for the final wild card spots.
The week started off with the Chicago Bears defeating the New Orleans Saints to keep pressure on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. I do not know how the Bears won on Thursday without any passing defense in the second half and without any means by which to move the ball forward. Really it was a pitiful win, but a win nonetheless.
The Viking responded by ravaging the Cardinals defense in a 35-14 game. Adrian Peterson was amazing with 165 yards and the Arizona had such awful pass coverage that Tavaris Jackson threw four touchdowns.
Minnesota should win the North based on talent and team play, but their last two games are far more difficult than Chicago’s. The Vikings play the Falcons, a team just as desperate for a win, and the Giants. The Giants that will show up in Week 17 will probably have Brandon Jacobs and the fact that they will be playing for home field advantage in the NFC playoff picture gives them motivation despite their clinching of the division.
The Bears get a revenge game against the Green Bay Packers. Avenging the 37-3 loss is enough reason to play, but add in a possible playoff spot and Chicago might have enough reason to go out destroy the Pack and then run all over the Houston Texans.
The other division without a clear winner is the AFC East. The New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots are each 9-5. Each team won this week and the games on each team’s schedule little to help pick a winner. The Pats have the Cards and the Bills and the Jets and Dolphins have creampuffs before they meet each other in the last game of the season.
I do not know who should win or who will win. This is the division to watch and might actually inspire me to watch the terrible NFL coverage on CBS these last two weeks.
Elsewhere, the NFC wild card has come down to the Dallas Cowboys, Tamp Bay Bucs, and Atlanta Falcons. Right now the Falcons are the odd man out, but with two weeks left, a feud still brewing in Dallas and the Bucs offense relying on a 38-year-old quarterback, the young, fun Falcons could easily be in the playoffs.
One wild card spot has been all but decided. The Indianapolis Colts have played far from the pretty offensive game that had become their staple but with 10 wins they should get one of the wild card spots.
That leaves whoever does not win in the AFC East and the Baltimore Ravens competing for one spot. My guess is that Joe Flacco continues his descent back to the rookie world and the second place in the East gets the last spot. Flacco has had two abysmal games in a row and I do not think he has enough experience to bounce back from that kind of funk yet.
I may be utterly lost when it comes to the NFL Playoffs this season, but I that kind of competition is what drives the sale of NFL tickets and is really making me wish I did not live in a cold weather city.