Holy fucking shit. What happened in the NFL this weekend? This was supposed to be a week where the top of the AFC shows why they are running the show. Instead, we had three division leaders lose and another taken down to the wire.
The AFC Wild Card hopefuls came out to play this weekend, but with the Chiefs, Patriots, Texans, Steelers, and Chargers all pretty much locked in, there is only one spot left. There are 4 teams with a 7-6 record right now and another at 6-7 ready to duke it out to make the playoffs.
Right now, the Ravens are hanging onto the second wild-card spot via tie-breakers. The Ravens own a head-to-head win against the Titans, a better conference record than the Colts, and a better record between common opponents than the Dolphins. That won’t be enough for the Ravens to bank on though. They will likely have to win 2 of their last 3 to end the season to have a chance, and likely have to win out. The Ravens are going to be favored in games against the Buccaneers and Browns, but a Week 16 Sunday Night Football matchup at the Chargers looms large on the horizon. Then again, they are only half a game back in the division and Pittsburgh still has to play New England. If they win out, they are hosting a playoff game. If they lose even once, they might not even get into the playoffs. There is such a wide range of possibilities for a team that doesn’t even know who their quarterback is.
Final Record: 9-7
What the fuck was that Miami? The Dolphins broke out all their schoolyard BS to beat the Patriots on a last-second hook-and-ladder.
The Dolphins just did something unforgettable to beat the evil empire today.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) December 9, 2018
The win keeps the Fins in the thick of things headed down the stretch. They win the tie-breakers over the Colts and Titans due to conference records. Miami heads to Minnesota, hosts Jacksonville, and finishes the year in Buffalo. Those teams are a combined 14-23-1, but have some of the best defenses in the NFL. Ryan Tannehill once again went down on Sunday but returned to finish the game. If he doesn’t play in every game, the Dolphins are royally screwed. Minnesota will be tough to beat and Jacksonville seems like a trap game, which leaves the Dolphins going 1-2 and missing the playoffs.
Final Record: 8-8
The Colts stunned the overrated Texans, 24-21. The Colts are a much-improved team from the start of the year and they are playing their best football right now. Indy is going to have to win out to make the playoffs though, due to tie-breakers working against them. They host the red-hot Cowboys next week, the Giants in Week 16, and close out the year in Tennessee. That looks a lot like a 2-1 finish to me. It’s unfortunate because the Colts could have made some noise in the playoffs.
Final Record: 9-7
Fuck the Titans. I don’t care if Derrick Henry goes full beast-mode every week, they can’t make the playoffs. Luckily, the tie-breakers work against them so they will need to win out to get anywhere. They head to New York to face the Giants, then host the Redskins and Colts to end the year. I hope they go 2-1 so they get a worse draft pick out of it, but they will probably go 1-2. I honestly don’t have a reason to hate the Titans this much, but god damn it, don’t let them into the playoffs.
Final Record: 8-8
You can’t lose to the 3-10 49ers and expect a playoff spot. That just can’t happen. They already give up the head-to-head tie-breaker to Baltimore, so they are essentially 1.5 games back with three to go. They host the plucky Browns next week, head to Oakland, and close out by hosting the Chargers. To be honest, 0-3 seems more likely than the 3-0 they need after this week’s debacle. I’ll assume they beat the Raiders, though.
Final Record: 7-9
Baltimore is just going to squeak in over Indianapolis, but that seems right. The Ravens just seem like the best team out of this bunch. They proved today they can hang with the best in the conference. That defense has slowed the Saints, Falcons, and Chiefs so far this year. They don’t have the ugly loses these other teams do. Plus, maybe we get another appearance from January Joe.