There is only a little over a month left in the regular season before the road to Super Bowl 50 officially begins. No team is safe and plenty is still left to be figured out. A few weeks ago many people, including myself, had locked the New England Patriots to be the #1 seed in the AFC, especially after the injury to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. However, Brock Osweiler is here to say otherwise. It’s going to be a battle between the Patriots, Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals to see which two of those three teams capture the first-round bye.
It’s almost certain at this point that the AFC South division winner between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts will be the #4 seed. As far as the wild card picture goes it’s still anybody’s for the taking. In the NFC things are far more clearer. It’s basically a lock that the road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Carolina.
The Carolina Panthers still have a goose egg in the loss column and judging by their remaining schedule it looks as though it will stay that way. The Arizona Cardinals look to have control of the #2 seed but will have to stave off the young Minnesota Vikings. Now just like the #4 seed is a lock in the AFC, this holds true as well in the NFC.
The division winner from the NFC East will take the playoff spot, despite all four teams currently being under .500. However, the NFC wild card picture is much easier to understand because the amount of teams still alive is nothing compared to those in the AFC. The Green Bay Packers sit comfortably in the #5 slot after their walk-off touchdown win last night against the Detroit Lions. It looks as though it may be a battle between the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the final playoff spot. Let’s take a look at some key matchup’s in week 13 that could potentially shake up the playoff picture:
Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings (1:00 et)
The Seahawks are doing everything they can to try and come back from the slow start they got off to earlier this season. The Seahawks are coming off a high scoring win against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. They seem to be coming into form at just the right time and that could potentially be scary for the rest of the league. Even though the legion of boom isn’t stopping anybody like they have done in the past, they are still a very confident bunch who believe that they can beat any team on any given Sunday. The Seahawks are trying to stay relevant in the wild card and it won’t be easy against Adrian Peterson and company. It’s going to be an intriguing game because the Vikings are also playing for something. They are trying to gain some separation between themselves and the Packers. Nonetheless, with all the experience and what they have to play for the Seahawks will evidently be too much for the Vikings to handle.
Seahawks 28 Vikings 17
Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills (1:00 et)
If the Bills want any hope in staying alive for a wild card spot they need to come away with a victory against the Texans. Not only is this game huge for both teams but for the rest of the teams fighting for a wild card spot in the AFC. The Texans can’t be stopped at the moment and they can thank the guy wearing the number 99 jersey. JJ Watt has his defense playing possessed. It doesn’t matter who they are playing against because this Texans team looks a whole lot different than the one from the first couple weeks of the season. However, I think their winning streak will come to an end on Sunday as they have to travel to the east coast and battle a good defensive Bills team.
Texans 13 Bills 21
New York Jets @ New York Giants (1:00 et)
It’s going to be a battle in the Meadowlands this Sunday as both the Jets and Giants are trying to make their playoff push. The Jets need as many wins as they can get to stay alive in the wild card race. I can’t help but feel as though the Jets are just an accident waiting to happen. It feels as though they are always right there to make the playoffs and then somehow find a way to come up short. However, same can be said about the Giants. They looked really promising to begin the season but lately they have been widely inconsistent. I don’t give any advantage to either team in this game because they haven’t shown what their true strengths are. This game could ultimately turn into something hard to watch.
Jets 14 Giants 17
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (4:05 et)
The Oakland Raiders have no choice but to try and win every game left on their schedule. They’re hanging on by a thread and they can thank a late flag against the Tennessee Titans to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Chiefs have played well as of late. They have won 5 straight and look to make it 6 against their longtime rival. Kansas City will be without their great pass rusher Justin Houston as he is out with a knee injury. Oakland will be without Rodney Hudson for a second consecutive week. If Derek Carr can continue his play from the one he displayed last week, I can’t see the Raiders letting this one slip away.
Chiefs 17 Raiders 24
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8:30 et)
The Colts have been doing just fine without Andrew Luck. In fact, the Colts have been playing like one of the best teams in the league without their starting quarterback as they have yet to lose a game. Matt Hasselbeck is playing like the man who took the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl back in 2005. He might be playing even better. The Steelers will try and find a way to slow down an offense which everyone thought would look like with Luck behind center. If it weren’t for Hasselbeck who knows if the Colts would still be leading the AFC South. Now just like numerous teams, the Steelers are also fighting for a spot in the AFC wild card.
Colts 31 Steelers 21