The Race to Minnesota: Week 10
We’re fast closing in on the business end of the 2017 season and the windows are beginning to close for some teams looking to extend their activities beyond Week 17. Each week through to the end of the season, we’ll take a look at how things stand, and who is on the outside looking in.
Here is how the Play Off picture looks after Week 10:
In the AFC, the Steelers just edge the Patriots for home field advantage currently courtesy of their better win percentage in divisional games. I expect that won’t last long if the Steelers continue to play down to their opposition for the remainder of the season however. The Chiefs have a two game cushion in the West and will likely secure the division title with a win over the Raiders in Week 14.
The Titans and Jaguars are locked at 6-3 in the South but the Titans get the edge courtesy of their Week 2 victory. The Jaguars have the slightly easier looking run in, but the Week 17 match up between these two could well be a winner takes all game for the divisional title.
The Bills will need to find their early season form if they are to hold on to the final spot in the post season and finally FINALLY break their drought.
In the hunt
Baltimore Ravens (4-5) – hugely inconsistent so far, but a relatively easy run in, so if they could just find some form their post season hopes are still very much alive. We all know Joe Flacco likes the second half of the season.
Oakland Raiders (4-5) – with games against Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles and Chargers still to come it will be a hot Raiders team hitting post season if they make it from here. Their season to date suggests it will be unlikely, but you never can tell with the Silver and Black!
Miami Dolphins (4-5) – with Jay Ajayi traded away and Jay Cutler looking like, well, Jay Cutler, Adam Gase will need to work a little miracle to get the Dolphins in to the post season in my opinion. Time for another big shake up in Miami possibly.
In the NFC, the Eagles still hold the clear No.1 seeding with a big game coming up off their bye week against the Cowboys. Win that and they go four games clear in the East with only the Rams on their schedule looking like a team that may beat them.
The Vikings avoid the Wild Card round thanks to their victory over the Saints and holding a better divisional record than the Rams. With all three sitting at 7-2, that picture could change several times before we reach January though. Carolina’s Monday night win over Miami keeps them in the race at 7-3 too.
The Seahawks currently occupy the 6th spot in the NFC but are only a game ahead of the chasing pack so will need to string some victories together to avoid slipping out of the picture. The Falcons game this week being a case in point, with the Eagles, Jaguars and Rams also all still to come for Pete Carroll’s men.
In the hunt
Atlanta Falcons (5-4) – the Falcons still have to play the Saints twice as well as the Vikings and Panthers, so they are very much on the outside looking in currently I think with several teams having identical records currently.
Green Bay Packers (5-4) – Brett Hundley is getting better each week but has a horrible run of thought defenses to face before the season is through. He’ll need to channel Rodgers from the sideline if the Packers are to make the post season.
Dallas Cowboys (5-4) – it could all unravel for the Cowboys from here. Zee suspended, Sean Lee missing several games and four divisional games in the last 7 mean Dak will have to put this team on his back if he wants to be playing in January.
Detroit Lions (5-4) – my outside bet for the Play Offs despite being two games back. A relatively soft schedule compared to their rivals and you always have a chance with Stafford under center.
So there we have it. Lots of teams still very much in the picture with 7 weeks left, including a few not mentioned here, but with several big match ups in Week 11 we might see the picture change sooner rather than later.
Until next week…