The 2015 National Football League season is quickly coming to an end. Just four weeks remain in the regular season before 12 teams will compete for a chance to win Super Bowl 50.
Here is what the current playoff picture looks like right now around the NFL:
There is a race brewing at the top and bottom of the AFC. As of right now the New England Patriots are actually third behind the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals. They lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Broncos, and the Bengals currently hold the conference record advantage with one more victory. The good news for Patriots fans is the Broncos and Bengals will play each other, while the Patriots have just one game against a team with a winning record, the New York Jets.
The wild card race is now mainly down to four teams. The Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Buffalo Bills. The Oakland Raiders would need to win out and get a lot of help to make it. Pittsburgh has the hardest remaining schedule, while the Chiefs have the easiest. The win percentage for each remaining teams schedule is as follows:
Jets – 46%
Chiefs – 31%
Steelers – 53%
Bills – 45%
Pittsburgh still has to play the top two teams in the conference in the Broncos and Bengals. The Chiefs will probably win out as they will be favored against the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and the Raiders. The Bills and Jets have about the same strength of schedule, so there is a good chance a playoff spot will be on the line when the two play on final week of the season.
If every game went according to who Las Vegas is currently favoring in the betting world, the Bills and Chiefs would make the playoffs. However, we know it should not be that easy. Bills fans should forget about the Chiefs, and turn there attention towards beating out Pittsburgh and New York.
The AFC South race is a two horse race between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans both find themselves multiple games out, and they are flat out worse. Both the Colts and Texans will get to play both the Jags and the Titans one more time. They also have a head-to-head in week 15. That other game is the big difference. The out-of-division game for the Colts is the Miami Dolphins, which seems like a very winnable game. The Texans will face Brady and the Patriots this week, a team that wants no part of dropping three straight games. Another factor will be when Andrew Luck will return to the lineup for the Colts. Matt Hasselback has played well, but is banged up with several injuries. If Luck can return for the Houston game, the Colts should be able to win the division.
The top of the NFC is almost figured out. The Carolina Panthers can clinch a first-round bye this week with a win, and loses by the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. As long as they, and the Arizona Cardinals do not fall flat on their face, it will be the Panthers and Cardinals who get the bye.
The NFC North is currently tied between the Packers and Vikings, with both teams at 8-4. The Packers currently hold the tiebreaker after beating Minnesota earlier this year. Both teams still have Arizona on their schedule. The impending week 17 meeting at Lambeau Field could be the deciding game for the division. Both teams should be able to make the playoffs though.
The NFC “Least” is led currently by the 5-7 Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants also sit at 5-7, but currently lose the tiebreakers. The Dallas Cowboys, even without Tony Romo, find themselves just a game out at 4-8. The Giants have the toughest road, as they only have one more game in the division against the Eagles on week 17. In addition, they still have to play the Panthers and Vikings, who are probably the toughest opponents of any of the NFC East teams play. It will be more than a just coin flip to determine who the NFC East champ is going to be.
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons are only a game out, it would be tough to see them make it with the Seattle Seahawks rolling once again. The Seahawks and either the Vikings or Packers will be the wild cards.
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