#1: Kansas City Chiefs (9-2); next games: bye, at OAK, vs. BAL, vs. LAC, at SEA, vs. OAK
#2: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1); next games: at DEN, vs. LAC, at OAK, vs. NE, at NO, CIN
#3: New England Patriots (7-3); next games: at NYJ, vs. MIN, at MIA, at PIT, vs. BUF, vs. NYJ
#4: Houston Texans (7-3); next games: vs. TEN, vs. CLE, vs. IND, at NYJ, at PHI, vs. JAX
#5: Los Angeles Chargers (7-3); next games: vs. ARI, at PIT, vs. CIN, at KC, vs. BAL, at DEN
#6: Baltimore Ravens (5-5); next games: vs. OAK, at ATL, at KC, vs. TB, at LAC, vs. CLE
In the Hunt: Dolphins (5-5), Bengals (5-5), Colts (5-5), Titans (5-5)
The final stretch has started for the Pats, and now this year, they are chasing the number one seed. It’s not going to be easy clinching home-field advantage, but it’s definitely possible. All we need is a little here and there.
New England sits at 7-3 after taking losses from the Jags, Lions, and Titans most recently. These were all games we could have won, but that’s in the past. Now we sit in the three seed behind the Steelers and red-hot Chiefs. Behind us are the Texans, Chargers (who nobody really seem to notice), and the Ravens. Our schedule ahead consists of the Jets twice, Minnesota, Miami, Buffalo, and the Steelers, who will be the biggest challenge.
The number one seed is not out of our reach at all. Our first goal is to win out. Bill and the Pats are historically pretty good after the bye, and with this schedule, this year should not be different. Coming out of the bye, we have four division games. These all should be easier wins, but we have be known to drop these games, especially when it is important. Miami usually puts up a pretty strong fight, and with Tannehill coming back, it may be a bit more difficult, but not worrisome. The Jets games should be two easy wins. We have the Bills as well. If we lose… nevermind, we won’t. They’re starting Matt Barkley now, after the struggles with Peterman, so we should be fine. These are four wins we can easily get.
We play the Vikings as well. They have surprising done worse this year, mostly because of the defense. Last year, they were Super Bowl contenders. This year, they’re fighting for second place in their division. Honestly, this doesn’t seem like an important game to worry about, so I’m not going to. There is potential for the Vikings to beat us, but one game after the bye, I don’t see the Pats losing.
The Steelers game is going to be a big one, just like last year. Last year’s game as a whole was just a controversy (and is what I wrote my first article on). This year’s game won’t be the game of the year like last year (mainly because of Chiefs-Rams), but it will be good. It will probably be a battle of the offenses and whether or not the defense make any big plays. Brady has to have a good game, especially since he will most likely have all his weapons (Gronk, Edelman, etc). The defense has to make some plays. AB and Juju have to be contained by Gilmore, McCourty, and company. I think this game is a toss up, but also, a must win.
Like I said before, our first goal will be to win out, in order to get the first seed. This will include beating the Steelers. If we can beat them, we will take the second seed. I don’t think there is any way the Steelers stay in the second seed just because they play us, the Chargers, and the Saints. If they manage to beat all three, then they deserve the second seed, but they won’t. It’s a matter of time before we pass the Steelers. The Chiefs will be the main problem. We only need them to lose once because then we will have the same record as them (assuming we win out) and will have the tiebreak because we beat them during week 6. So, we just have to pray the Chargers, Ravens, or Seahawks can pull one out against them.
Basically, all we need to do is win out and pray if we want the number one seed. Pretty easy. Other than the top three, I don’t see the other spots moving. The Texans should hold their division pretty easily. Nobody probably expected to win the division because of the Jags, but the Jags suck now, so the Texans should be safe from the Titans and Colts (who also suck). The Chargers should stay put at the 5 seed. They won’t take division from the Chiefs. The 6 seed is more of a toss up since there are five teams with the same record. The Ravens definitely deserve the spot most, because they are the best team. I could see the Titans take the spot, but they’re way too inconsistent. The Bengals could take the spot, but they are almost guaranteed to lose two more games (against the Steelers and Chargers), while the Ravens have a pretty easy schedule. So, I wouldn’t expect this playoff picture to change all too much, other than the top three.