The Race to Minnesota: Week 13
Four weeks. That’s all that is left for teams to make either the late push for some Play Off action, or hang on for dear life to their current seeding (I’m looking at you, KC!). Some thrive on the pressure, some crumble like an over baked Hob-Nob.
Here is how the Play Off picture looks after Week 13:
Very little changed in the AFC picture, with every one of the top 6 seeds winning. Except one. Kansas City.Their inexorable slide toward a .500 record has seen them fall well and truly in to the clutches of the chasing pack and, the way their momentum is carrying them right now, don’t expect to see their picture on the chart next week. The Raiders come to town in Week 14 and we all know how those two get along.
The Titans and Jaguars continue to match each other and remain locked atop the South. Week 17 is wh….. yeah yeah, I know you know already.
In the hunt
Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) – They avoided the potential banana skin against Cleveland this week and continued their impressive run to keep the pressure on the Chiefs. They are tied on record, but the Chiefs hold the tie-break advantage courtesy of their Week 3 victory. With the Chiefs and the Raiders still to play, it’s very much in LA’s hands if they want some post season football this year, but they will have to fight with the…
Oakland Raiders (6-6) – I said a few weeks ago it would be an outside bet for the Raiders to be in contention for the division. Well, guess what? Their division record stops them having the advantage over the Chiefs (who they have already beaten this season) but win again this week and they’ll leapfrog the Chiefs. If the Chargers slip up, then the Raiders are suddenly leading the AFC West.
Buffalo Bills (6-6) – they were unlikely to get a result against the Patriots in Week 13, but the loss of Tyrod Taylor means that slim window of hope they had of some post season action has probably closed now. They are still in contention, but they not only need a lot of help now, but also a fair slice of luck I think.
That’s about it for the AFC now for me. The Bengals’ loss to Pittsburgh on MNF leaves them two games back from the Ravens, the Jets stayed within sniffing distance courtesy of a late win over Kansas City, and Miami’s destruction of the woeful Broncos technically keeps their hopes alive as well, but all are needing some big time help from those above them.
The NFC is a different beast. The Eagles stuttered and stumbled in Seattle Sunday night meaning they have now surrendered the No.1 seed to Minnesota based on bets win percentage in common games (yes, we’re down to that level already!).
The Saints won the big matchup in the NFC South against Carolina with relative ease. It didn’t hurt the Panthers too much thanks to Atlanta being grounded against Minnesota, but it leaves the South wide open still.
The Rams looked like they might struggle for a while against Arizona, but eventually came out on top to cling on to their lead in the West with Seattle breathing down their neck.
In the hunt
Atlanta Falcons (7-5) – they were stifled by the Vikings in Week 13, and are now outside looking in again. Divisional games all the way from here mean they can control their own destiny, but it’s a big ask when you have to play the Saints twice in three weeks.
Of the rest, the Lions, Packers and Cowboys all sit at 6-6, so are technically still viable options but I think there is too much reliance on some good teams getting bad, and quickly for them to be seeing any action beyond Week 17.
The Play Off picture is slowly starting to take shape, and I think we see one or two more drop away this week from having a realistic shot at a Wild Card berth. This is the NFL though, so you never know!
Until next week…