Week 16 kicks off today. The Ravens will play the Colts in a big game. Why would that be a big game you ask? If the Ravens win out, they are in the playoffs. There are 14 teams still fighting for a playoff spot just like the Ravens, and some need all kinds of miracles to get in. Let’s talk about it.
Three teams are locked into the playoffs already in the AFC: the Patriots, the Steelers, and the Jaguars. The Patriots and Steelers are usually givens to be in the playoffs every year, just because of the immense talent they have, but the Jaguars? This year will be the first time they are in the playoffs since 2005 (expect that stadium to be LOUD).
The Patriots and Steelers have really been fighting over that top spot in the AFC since the beginning of the season, and right now the Pats have it after the wild game against the Steelers last Sunday. Although the Pats and Steelers have the same record, the Pats are on top because they have the tiebreaker.
The Jags are a different story. They hold the three seed at the moment and have the potential to move up to the two seed and get a first round bye. If the Steelers and Jags were to have the same record, the Jags would take the two spot because they have the tiebreaker against the Steelers after beating them in week five. In order for this to happen, the Steelers would have to lose a game (either to the Texans and Browns, and I don’t think anyone sees that happening), AND the Jags would have to win both games (to a hot 49ers team and to a Titans team fighting to be in the playoffs). So almost impossible odds for the Jags to get the two seed, but still some odds. Nevertheless, all three teams are in the playoffs.
Now let’s talk about the much more complicated wild card spots. I’m not really going to talk about the Dolphins and Raiders’ chances, because their chances are close to 0. The Raiders’ chances really ended when Carr fumbled against the Cowboys. Just one part of how the Raiders would get into the playoffs would be the Raiders beating the Eagles (in Philly) and the Chargers. That’s just not going to happen. Miami has a strange situation going on there. To boil it down, I’ll just say that the Dolphins need themselves to win out, and the Ravens and Titans to lose out. There are a lot more scenarios, but they’re too complicated and there’s almost 0 chance of any of that happening.
Right now the playoff picture has the Bills, Chiefs, and Titans in the playoffs. The Ravens and Chargers are still in the hunt and still have reasonable chances of getting in.
The Ravens have the simplest of all scenarios. They need to win their last two games (against the Colts and Bengals), and they’re in. Tune into the Colts Ravens game today, because it’s going to be big! If they can’t beat the Colts and Bengals, they really don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. The Ravens will take the five seed if they win out. Even if the Ravens lose out, they still have a chance to get in.
The Chargers have a reasonable chance. Actually, it’s much more than reasonable. In my opinion, they are almost guaranteed to get in (unless they choke). The Chargers are at 7-7, and the Bills are 8-6. If the Chargers win their last two games (against the Jets and Raiders) and the Bills lose one of their two games (against the Pats and Dolphins), the Chargers are in. This scenario will put both teams at 9-7, and since the Chargers beat the Bills on week 11, the Chargers will have the tiebreaker. I think most people see the Pats beating Buffalo, and the Chargers beating two pretty bad, banged up teams. It’s actually pretty sad that the Bills lost on week 11, because that’s the day the Bills decided to start Peterman over Taylor, and then Peterman threw five picks. Remember? If the Bills started Taylor, that would’ve given them an almost guaranteed spot in the playoffs. So, Nathan Peterman is the number public enemy in Buffalo right now.
The Chiefs are sitting pretty comfortably in the four seed. If they win out, they stay there in the four seed and everyone is happy in Kansas City. The Chiefs play the Dolphins and Broncos, so no need to worry.
Here’s what I see happening. The Pats, Steelers, Jags, and Chiefs will all stay in their spots at 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively. The Ravens, Chargers, Titans, and Bills are still fighting. So, the Ravens will win out, and the Chargers will win out. The Ravens take the fifth seed no problem. The Chargers are at 9-7. I see the Titans lose out (against the Rams and Jags) and fall out of the playoffs. Then the Bills will lose to the Pats, and win against the Dolphins. That will put the Bills are 9-7. The Chargers have the tiebreaker over the Bills.
1- Patriots (13-3)
2- Steelers (13-3)
3- Jags (12-4)
4- Chiefs (10-6)
5- Ravens (10-6)
6- Chargers (9-7)