Welcome to a particular Thanksgiving Day version of our NFL playoff image. In the event you saved just one eye on the video games, and even should you watched them carefully, we have now lots to debate. The outcomes of two matchups shook up the playoff standings in each conferences. Among the many takeaways:
The Buffalo Bills regained supremacy within the AFC East, at the least quickly. The Payments, in fact, may very well be again among the many wild-card contenders if the New England Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans this weekend.
The Payments’ win over the New Orleans Saints elevated the San Francisco 49ers into the NFC wild-card race. They’re at present No. 7 within the NFC standings, whereas the Saints’ fourth consecutive loss has them wanting up on the NFC subject.
The Cowboys’ lead within the NFC East is not but threatened, however the surging Philadelphia Eagles can now not be discounted within the division race.
No workforce has exemplified this unpredictable season higher than the Titans, who gained seven of their first 9 video games regardless of dealing with the NFL’s most troublesome schedule over that stretch. They then launched into a a lot simpler schedule, solely to endure a surprising dwelling loss in Week 11 to the Texans. The defeat allowed the Colts to proceed closing the hole within the AFC South, shrinking the Titans’ result in two video games with six to play. (Tennessee gained each head-to-head matchups with Indianapolis.) No matter whether or not the Colts can catch them, it is troublesome to view the Titans because the clear-cut AFC favourite when two of their losses have come to the Texans and Jets — who’ve a mixed report of 4-16. And now the Patriots, arguably the most well liked workforce within the league, await them on Sunday.
Subsequent up: at Patriots
Even with out quarterback Lamar Jackson in Week 11, the Ravens managed to take care of their maintain on first place within the AFC North. They have not been fairly for some time, having misplaced to the Bengals and Dolphins and eking out an additional time win over the Vikings over the previous month. However perhaps that is simply how it may be for them.
Subsequent up: vs. Browns
Will a convincing win Thursday within the Superdome be sufficient to drag the Payments out of a midseason spiral? They entered Week 12 having misplaced two of their previous three video games, together with an inexplicable defeat to the Jaguars and a 26-point loss to the Colts. The Payments higher hope they’ve figured issues out, as a result of they’re about to move right into a brutal stretch of their schedule. They’ll play the red-hot Patriots twice in 4 weeks, with a sport on the Buccaneers combined in there, as properly. However for just a few days, at the least, they’ve returned to the highest of the AFC East.
Subsequent up: vs Patriots (Week 13)
Josh Allen finds Dawson Knox for his second landing of the sport versus New Orleans.
The Chiefs are rolling off their fourth consecutive victory, a streak that has introduced them from under .500 to atop the AFC West. There does not appear to be a lot doubt that the Chiefs will likely be among the many seven groups representing the AFC within the playoffs, and extra doubtless than not, they would be the AFC West champion.
Subsequent up: vs. Broncos (Week 13)
It took the Patriots lower than two months to get better from their 1-3 begin and even briefly supplant the Payments atop the AFC East. The Payments reclaimed first place with a Thanksgiving win over the Saints, however the Patriots will retake the place in the event that they beat the Titans in Week 12. 5 consecutive wins — and 6 of their previous seven video games — haven’t solely given them a division benefit but additionally put them inside affordable vary of the highest seed within the AFC. It is all in entrance of them now. The Patriots have a fortuitous dwelling sport towards the AFC-leading Titans this week then play the Payments twice in a three-game stretch subsequent month. In the event you’re judging postseason seedings by how groups are taking part in in the mean time, it is troublesome to look previous the Patriots because the best-situated workforce within the AFC (proper now, in fact).
Subsequent up: vs. Titans
There was a time when numerous individuals have been nervous about Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow‘s well being in getting back from final season’s knee damage. By 10 video games, we will say that the priority was largely unfounded. Simply making it by way of 10 video games did not appear a certainty when the season started, however he has the Bengals’ offense buzzing, most lately with a 32-point outburst in Week 11’s victory over the Raiders. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) is giving the Bengals roughly a 50-50 likelihood of constructing the playoffs, however in a wide-open AFC, they’ve completely put themselves in place to be within the December dialog.
Subsequent up: vs. Steelers
The Chargers did every part they may to fall out of the AFC’s prime seven in Week 11, however within the greatest signal but that they’re turning a nook beneath coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers stopped doing Chargers issues lengthy sufficient to retake the lead. There’s nonetheless lots to query concerning the Chargers, most notably their particular groups, however they confirmed they’re to be taken significantly within the AFC playoff race.
Subsequent up: at Broncos
Within the AFC hunt
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)
The Steelers are winless of their previous two video games and are actually out of the AFC’s prime seven. It will not get any simpler after they journey to Cincinnati this weekend.
Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
The Colts have gained three consecutive video games and 5 of their previous six, however previous to Week 11, the standard of the groups they beat wasn’t too spectacular. That modified with a blowout victory at Buffalo. The Colts are trending in all the proper instructions, and the Buccaneers are their subsequent take a look at.
Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
We are able to do nothing however tip our cap to the Raiders, whose post-Jon Gruden slide appeared properly underway throughout a three-game shedding steak coming into Thursday’s sport on the Cowboys. They went into AT&T Stadium and gained a battle of attrition, and now have 10 days to organize for a winnable dwelling sport towards Washington in Week 13.
Anthony Brown is whistled for a move interference penalty, which units the Raiders up for Daniel Carlson’s profitable subject purpose in additional time.
Cleveland Browns (6-5)
It is unbelievable that the Browns have gained six video games given the apparent impression quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s left shoulder damage is having on his efficiency. Oh, and do not forget the messy presence and departure of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. In the event you’re selecting one workforce to fall out of the wild-card race because of exhaustion, it is the Browns. They’ve a street journey to Baltimore on deck.
Denver Broncos (5-5)
The Broncos will return from a bye with a .500 report, however consecutive video games towards the Chargers and Chiefs will doubtless knock them farther from the AFC wild-card race.
Let’s tip our cap to the Cardinals, who’ve traveled fairly a journey since their last-minute loss in Week 8 to the Packers. Taking part in with out quarterback Kyler Murray and vast receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they’ve gone 2-1 with wins at division rivals San Francisco and Seattle. The Cardinals have turn out to be the fourth workforce in NFL historical past to begin a season 6-0 in street video games and can get their MVP-caliber quarterback again before later. FPI is asking them a digital lock to make the playoffs and giving them a greater than 90% likelihood to win the NFC West.
Subsequent up: at Bears (Week 13)
In most situations, the Packers with Aaron Rodgers are a authentic Tremendous Bowl contender. However what ought to we are saying a few Packers workforce that’s shedding key gamers to damage on a weekly foundation? They’re nonetheless in actually fine condition within the NFC North, main the Vikings by 2½ video games, with a Week 17 matchup towards Minnesota at Lambeau Discipline looming. However on the very least, the Packers’ depth goes to be examined throughout December soccer.
Subsequent up: vs. Rams
The defending Tremendous Bowl champions broke a mildly alarming two-game shedding streak on Monday evening with a convincing win over the Giants, a workforce that entered the sport ranked No. 23 within the NFL with a median of 18.9 offensive factors per sport. The lane is there for a excessive seed within the NFC bracket, as their remaining schedule contains solely two groups with profitable information (the Colts and Payments).
Subsequent up: vs. Colts
Uh-oh. The Cowboys have been anticipated to take off as soon as they received quarterback Dak Prescott again from damage. As an alternative, they’ve misplaced three of their previous 4 video games. Their lead within the NFC East will not be but threatened; the Eagles would nonetheless be two video games behind within the loss column even when they beat the Giants on Sunday. However it stays an open query whether or not the Cowboys will head into the playoffs as a real contender or will likely be within the postseason just because they’re the least-flawed workforce in a weak division.
Subsequent up: at Saints (Week 13)
A referee takes a fall as Tony Pollard takes the kick return 100 yards to the home.
It has been a fast tumble for the “all-in” Rams, who’ve fallen from the highest spot within the NFC to the wild-card image with two consecutive losses. Regardless, the Rams’ Week 11 bye got here at a superb time. They’d two weeks to get newcomers Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. extra acclimated to their program, along with determining why quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown 4 interceptions in the course of the two-game skid. They higher hope they get it discovered, as a result of their upcoming schedule contains not solely the Packers however the Cardinals, Vikings, Ravens and 49ers. That will likely be a troublesome run.
Subsequent up: at Packers
Whenever you appear to play shut video games each week, the mathematics says you need to at the least win a few of them. The Vikings’ Week 11 victory over the Packers boosted their division and convention information. Each are key classes for tiebreakers, and their 4-2 NFC report is the rationale they’re forward of the Saints and 49ers (whom they play subsequent week) within the NFC playoff standings. Total, the Vikings have performed in seven consecutive video games which were determined by seven or fewer factors, a stretch that both has hardened them for a playoff run or will finally value them entrance into the postseason altogether.
Subsequent up: at 49ers
The 49ers have gained three of their previous 4, they usually have been in a position to leapfrog the Saints within the wild-card race following Thursday’s motion. Nobody can say with certainty whether or not the 49ers are actually a playoff workforce, however generally these issues get determined within the postseason. Their remaining power of schedule ranks No. 25 within the league. One caveat to remember is that the Eagles, one other NFC wild-card competitor, have the NFL’s best remaining schedule.
Subsequent up: vs. Vikings
Within the NFC hunt
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
The Eagles even have gained three of their previous 4, all of which by greater than 10 factors. And once you see two video games apiece towards Washington and the Giants remaining, in addition to a matchup towards the Jets, you see a fairly favorable schedule for staying within the wild-card race. Philly has a street sport towards the Giants this week.
Carolina Panthers (5-6)
Can the Panthers actually be a playoff contender with a quarterback they signed out of free company and inserted into the beginning lineup inside two weeks? Cam Newton is perhaps Superman, however he is not a magician. Carolina will journey to play the Dolphins on Sunday.
New Orleans Saints (5-6)
That is now 4 consecutive losses for the Saints since beginning quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending knee damage. Their offense had zero punch Thursday evening towards the Payments, they usually’re now wanting up on the NFC playoff subject. They’re going to play the Cowboys in Week 13, however the one vibrant spot is that 4 of their remaining six opponents have shedding information.