The regular season is coming to an end very soon. We are only two weeks away from knowing what games are going to be played in the playoffs. However, there is still a lot to be determined. Some franchises are trying to hang on the last postseason spots, but others are thinking more about the draft. Here are the three top storylines of week 16.
The #1 seed of the AFC
The Steelers dominated the league for the first 12 weeks. They were the last undefeated team with a perfect 11-0 record. But after their first loss they began to fall wildly. Washington was the team that started all with a win at Pittsburgh on a Monday afternoon. Then it came an unsurprising loss in Buffalo.
Unfortunately for them the toughest defeat was still to come. On a MNF that was expected to be the game where the confidence was going to be restored, they received a hit that is only comparable to the Jets beating the Rams. In this case it was the Joe Burrow-less Bengals who punched them yet again.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 22, 2020
Kansas City is of course the other candidate to keep this place. Their 13-1 says they are the clear favorites to keep the spot that guarantees a bye-week. A win of the Chiefs visiting the Falcons would seal that. It seems unlikely the 4-10 Atlanta gets the upset, but anything can happen in the NFL.
Pittsburgh is hosting Indianapolis in one of the closest games of the weekend. Due to the late fall of the Steelers, Bovada has the Colts as favorites at -2.5. Although the Bills are currently the #2 team at 11-3, they could only claim the first in a triple tie. In that case they would need a very complicated combination of results. So the strength of victory tiebreaker can favor them.
Who is going to win the NFC East?
This is arguably the division with the most tradition in the NFL. Having nothing but former Super Bowl champions in it is a luxury not others can brag about. However, the present shows the exact opposite of what the past of these franchises tells. The NFC East is now the worst division in football by a wide margin.
Although there are still two remaining games in the schedule, it has already been determined that whoever finishes at the top will not have a winning record. The best-case scenario would be Washington ending 8-8 if they win both outings. Another important thing to note is that everybody is still in the race, for strange as it may sound this late in the season.
The Football Team sits first with a 6-8 record. One game behind are the Cowboys and the Giants. In the last place but alive is where the Eagles are at 4-9-1. This also means that Washington is the only one that controls its own faith. If they beat the Panthers at home and finish with a win in Philadelphia, they will be in the playoffs.
Dallas could have been eliminated last week but results combined for them to keep some hope. However, it doesn’t depend just on what they do. Not only they must win out, but also WFT has to lose both games for the Cowboys to be the NFC East representative in the postseason. This is because they lost the series against the current divisional leader.
The Giants need to win one game more than Washington in the last two weeks because the direct tiebreaker would benefit them. So if the Football Team gets a win, they must beat both the Ravens and the Cowboys, respectively. New York could make it to the playoffs with one win only if WFT loses both games, but they can’t be defeated by Dallas in week 17.
Philadelphia is of course in the toughest situation. Being 1.5 games away from the lead means they have to finish with two wins to even have a chance. The thing is they rely on Washington not winning against Carolina, combined with Dallas and New York finishing 1-1. There is no doubt that this should be exciting until the last minute.
The Trevor Lawrence competition
For 14 weeks the Jets lead the race to get the generational talent that the Clemson quarterback is. The 0-13 record was something that fans could accept considering the potential reward. Everything was going right in that matter. Adam Gase probed week-in and week-out that they aren’t a competent team.
In week 13 New York suffered for a moment when they almost beat the Raiders. They could breathe again when for some reason the defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called an all-out blitz with 13 seconds left and Las Vegas on midfield. That turned into a Henry Ruggs III 46- yard touchdown reception that put them back in the first place of the draft order.
But the story was completely different last Sunday. The Jets probed for yet another time their followers can’t catch a break. Visiting the 9-4 Rams was supposed to be a total blowout. Los Angeles was the favorite by 17 points. All of that just to see Sam Darnold avoid a 0-16 season in the most incredible upset of the year.
The 23-20 win was only celebrated in Jacksonville, though. Before the competition started in September, the Jaguars were the candidates to pick Lawrence next April. But they were out of that position for the win they got in the opening weekend against the Colts. The feeling is better in Duval now even they got destroyed by Baltimore.
The Jets WON
The Jaguars are now at #1 for Trevor Lawrence.
— Tankathon.com (@tankathon) December 21, 2020