• 周二. 1月 25th, 2022

Night net Playoff Picture: Cardinals, Vikings make their big moves in NFC

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Night net Another week, more major shifts in Night net playoff positioning. There wasn’t too much of a shakeup in the AFC, except for the Patriots padding their lead. In the NFC, the Packers’ struggles opened the door for two teams to keep sliding on up:MORE: Week 11 Night net picks against the spread | Picks straight up | Who can spoil it for the Patriots? AFCWho would be in1. Patriots (9-0). The AFC East leaders have some breathing room for the top seed and home-field advantage thanks to the close shave against the Giants, as well as the Bengals and Broncos both stumbling. It’s hard to see a loss in their remaining slate. Schedule: vs. BUF, at DEN, vs. PHI, at HOU, vs. TEN, at NYJ, at MIA 2. Bengals (8-1). They should still feel good about the chance to win the AFC North, but with three tough games ahead, Pittsburgh stays within striking distance. As for keeping the second bye position, the Denver game is shaping up as a must-win. They'll have their hands full against the Cardinals on the road off the short week. Schedule: at ARI, vs. STL, at CLE, vs. PIT, at SF, at DEN, vs. BAL3. Broncos (7-2). They are fine in the AFC West, but even a sweep of New England and Cincinnati now doesn’t guarantee rising up to even No. 2 with the way they’re playing after two straight losses and now with Brock Osweiler starting. The good news, despite losing to Indianapolis, is that they have a good cushion to keep No. 3. Schedule: at CHI, vs. NE, at SD, vs. OAK, at PIT, vs. CIN, vs. SD4. Colts (4-5). They still lead the AFC South after a bye, but now it’s a tie after the Texans’ upset victory over the Bengals. The tiebreaker stems from having defeated Houston in Houston — with Matt Hassebeck as their starting quarterback, no less. Having swept the division play so far, they can be optimistic about what’s left except for a couple of road games. Schedule: at ATL, vs. TB, at PIT, at JAX, vs. HOU, at MIA, vs. TEN5. Steelers (6-4). They get to go into a late bye knowing they won’t lose ground for one of the wild cards with one win up on Buffalo and New York. Not only are they gaining steam as a dangerous likely playoff team, the door and schedule is open to chase down the Bengals, possibly down only two games after this week’s results. Schedule: BYE, at SEA, vs. IND, at CIN, vs. DEN, at BAL, at CLE6. Bills (5-4). Buffalo took this stance by virtue of the huge head-to-head win over New York last Thursday night. Nothing looks too easy about their remaining opponents, especially with four of the next five on the road. They also face much of their direct wild-card competition. It’s either they get in or go into a freefall. Schedule: at NE, at KC, vs. HOU, at PHI, at WASH, vs. DAL, vs. NYJ Who’s right behindJets (5-4), Chiefs (4-5), Raiders (4-5), Dolphins (4-5), Texans (4-5). If Buffalo falters in chasing the wild card from the AFC East, based on schedule, New York and Miami would have the best shots to displace them. Either Kansas City or Oakland needs to sweep each other to boost their chances. Houston’s best bet remains getting ahead of Indianapolis in the AFC South.Who’s still aliveJaguars (4-6), Ravens (2-7), Chargers (2-7), Titans (2-8) Browns (2-8). Only Jacksonville has a chance here because it’s only one game out of the South lead. The rest can think more about the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft.NFCWho would be in1. Panthers (9-0). The NFC South will be theirs with a healthy three-game lead, and they maintain their nice two-game cushion for the top seed and home-field advantage. Given three highly favorable home games, it would take a massive collapse to not finish right here. Schedule: vs. WAS, at DAL, at NO, vs. ATL, at NYG, at ATL, vs. TB2. Cardinals (7-2). The NFC West will be theirs with a healthy three-game lead. Their path to keeping this bye position is right in front of them, with the Vikings and Packers both coming into their building in December. They have lost only one NFC game, and have only one AFC opponent left, this week. Schedule: vs. CIN, at SF, at STL, vs. MIN, at PHI, vs. GB, vs. SEA3. Vikings (7-2). The new NFC North leaders passed their first biggest test of a brutal finishing stretch, unfazed by making a difficult long trip to Oakland and coming away with their most impressive victory yet. If they can’t figure out the Packers in the two upcoming head-to-head meetings, it would be helpful to knock off the Falcons in Week 12 to ensure they fall back on a wild card. Schedule: vs. GB, at ATL, vs. SEA, at ARI, vs. CHI, vs. NYG, at GB4. Giants (5-5). They lost a heartbreaker to the Patriots but didn’t quite lose their NFC East lead as Philadelphia stumbled and Washington, which won, lost to the Giants earlier in the season. They have a well-timed bye, a la the Steelers in the AFC, to regroup for a rematch with Washington. The division sets up to come down to the rematch with Philadelphia in Week 17. Schedule: BYE, at WAS, vs. NYJ, at MIA, vs. CAR, at MIN, vs. PHI5. Packers (6-3). They went from a chance to nab the top seed in Carolina to sliding out of the NFC North lead in a span of just three weeks. They need to win at least one of the two against Minnesot

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a to have a shot at the division. The good news is, the wild card looks like a strong fallback. Schedule: at MIN, vs. CHI, at DET, vs. DAL, at OAK, at ARI, vs. MIN6. Falcons (6-3). They come out of the bye sitting pretty with a two-game lead for one wild card, given they have wins over the Redskins and Eagles for tiebreakers. They need to play better to maintain their position, however, especially quarterback Matt Ryan. Their long shot to win the South requires sweeping the undefeated Panthers. Schedule: vs. IND, vs. MIN, at TB, at CAR, at JAX, vs. CAR, vs. NOWho’s right behindRedskins (4-5), Buccaneers (4-5), Rams (4-5), Seahawks (4-5), Eagles (4-5), Bears (4-5). Washington and Philadelphia have playoff paths in front of them in the NFC East race. Otherwise, for wild-card purposes, the Seahawks would be the team that can get really hot and get in, but their schedule is medium hard.Who’s still aliveSaints (4-6), 49ers (3-6), Lions (2-7), Cowboys (2-7). New Orleans just doesn’t have enough defense, and San Francisco just doesn’t have enough offense. Detroit and Dallas won’t be returning to the playoffs.

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