The NFL has moved into December now and the open stadiums are starting to get really cold, even for football games. But the NFL Playoff race is heating up. With the loss to Washington on Monday afternoon Football, the last undefeated team in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers, now join the rest of the pack playing to get that coveted first round bye. They still have it, for now. But one more game like Pittsburgh has played their last three, and that AFC bye will go ‘bye-bye’ for the Steelers.
Saints Lead The NFC Playoff Race
Over in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints are still in command at 10-2 and still holding onto the bye week, even with Drew Brees on the bench for now. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill has done a very respectable job since Brees went to the sidelines with multiple cracked ribs.
The Saints will finish out against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers and, if they can somehow get by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, they could win out and hold on to that number-one seed.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fallen to 7-5 and are pretty much out of it unless something rather spectacular happens somewhere. The NFC South belongs to the Saints.
The Green Bay Packers and the LA Rams are chasing the Saints for that first-round bye and for home field advantage. But the Saints are going to be tough to unseat – no team in the NFL gets more out of home field advantage than they do.
The 9-3 Packers still have the Detroit Lions, the Panthers, the Tennessee Titans and the Chicago Bears to play before the regular season is over. However, they should still have no trouble winning the NFC North and proceeding to the playoffs, but it won’t be with a first-round bye and the playoffs won’t be held on an icy cold Soldier Field in Chicago.
However, over in the NFC West, there is a neck-and-neck battle going on between the Seattle Seahawks and the Rams, both currently at 8-4. The Rams are on top for the moment since Russell Wilson and his Seahawks managed to somehow lose a game to the New York Giants, something they are still trying to explain. However, the Rams have the Patriots, the Jets, the Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals left on their regular season schedule.
On the other hand, the Seahawks still have the New York Jets, the Washington Football Team, the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers left on the regular season schedule. So, the NFC West may well turn out to be the tightest divisional race we will see.
The AFC Battle Has A Surprise
The Chiefs will be battling it out with the Steelers for first place and the bye in the AFC. The Chiefs now sit at 11-1 after week 13, while the Steelers are at 10-1.
But, watch out for Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, who looked very much like a good football team last week in defeating the Titans 41-35. The Browns are just slightly behind the Steelers, and slightly ahead of the Baltimore Ravens. It wouldn’t have been expected to see the Browns doing as well as they are this year, but they are in a good spot to advance.
The AFC South has the Titans and the Indianapolis Colts both sitting at 8-4 with similar schedules to finish off the regular season. The Colts are two games ahead of the New England Patriots who, despite their massively lopsided 45-0 win against the LA Chargers, are almost on the verge of missing the playoffs.