Unfortunately we are at Week 15 in the NFL season. It honestly feels like just yesterday that the season had begun and excitement was in the air. With 3 weeks to go, no one knows who is in the AFC playoffs or what their seeding will be. The only team that has clinched is Kansas City, sitting at a beautiful 11-2 with the Chargers, Raiders, and Seahawks left to play. I don’t see them dropping more than one of those games, which will lock them in as the overall #1 seed with home field advantage. After that, it gets a little wild.
The Patriots control their own destiny to lock up the #2 seed. This week, they need a win plus a Titans loss to clinch a spot. To win their division, they need a win and a Dolphins loss. With a tough matchup against Pittsburgh, I’d be shocked if New England clinches this weekend. I think Pittsburgh is out for blood and will win their matchup. Which makes the games against the Bills and the Jets actually relevant for everyone involved.
The Texans are in a scenario like the Patriots. Sitting at 9-4, they can clinch the AFC South with a win and a Colts, Titans loss. There are tons of scenarios in which they can clinch postseason berth, which all rely on Miami losing this weekend. The Texans have the Jets, Eagles, and Jaguars remaining, which are all winnable games. I see them getting in the playoffs no question.
The Steelers are in an interesting spot. They currently sit at 7-5-1 and have completely lost steam. They should have won easily last weekend in Oakland, but Boswell missed a game tying field goal due to him slipping. They have games against New England, @New Orleans, and they finish at home against the Bengals. I think they beat Cincinnati easily, which means they’ll have to steal one from either New Orleans or New England. Personally, I think New England is the game that they need to steal. I think Pittsburgh wins their division, but barely. The Ravens could easily go 3-0 with their remaining schedule.
The Chargers are amazing at football. If it wasn’t for the Chiefs going 11-2 so far, the Chargers (who are 10-3) would be leading their division and looking at a first round bye, but unfortunately for them, Andy Reid had his team ready. They can clinch a playoff berth tonight against the Chiefs, but would need the Chiefs to then lose again if they want to win the division, which I do not see happening. They’ll most likely face the Chiefs off a bye in the second round. I would not want to play the Chargers.
Now here is where it gets interesting. You have the Titans, Dolphins, Ravens, Broncos, and Colts all with a chance for the final spot in the AFC.
The Titans are 7-6 but lost to the Ravens and Dolphins, so the Ravens/Dolphins hold that tiebreaker. They have games against @Giants, Redskins, and the Colts. The Titans could win out, but they have to beat Indianapolis regardless if they want a shot. I think they finish 2-1, losing to the Giants.
The Ravens are also 7-6 and own the tiebreaker against everyone. They play the Bucs, @Chargers, and Browns. I think they finish 2-1 losing to the Chargers.
The Broncos are like the Browns (sorry @Soft7Wic). They have a chance but a very small one. They need to win out, which means they have to beat the Browns, @Raiders, and the Chargers, which I just do not see happening. I think they’ll go 1-2, losing their opportunity.
The Colts have to win out and beat Tennessee, which I do not see happening. They play the Cowboys, Giants, and the Titans. I could see them losing all 3 honestly, which takes them out of the discussion.
The Dolphins will not make the playoffs, it’s just that simple.
Ultimately, I think that they Ravens make the Playoffs. I would like to think the Titans would, but knowing their luck they’ll go 3-0 but so will the Ravens and the Steelers, thus ruining their chance. We have 3 weeks left, let’s buckle in and enjoy the ride.