NFL Playoff Chase

NFL Playoffs are approaching, who’s in, who’s out?


NFL Media

Comeback Player of the Year Candidate Geno Smith before a game.

December is here, and as that may be a relaxing month to enjoy the holidays for most, it is an intense race for playoff contention for many teams in the NFL. For fans, it makes football even more exciting, with high stakes in every game. In the AFC, the Chiefs are the #1 seed led by a prime Patrick Mahomes. The Dolphins are at #2 with new HC Mike McDaniel pushing this team past some talented teams, such as the Buffalo Bills that are sitting at #5 with the same record. The Ravens enter with a similar situation at the 4th seed, holding a tiebreaker over the Bengals who sit at the 6th seed. The Tennessee Derrick Henry’s (Titans) are atop a weak AFC South carried by, you guessed it, Derrick Henry. A young Jets team is clinging to the 7th seed with a 7-4 record. The good-not-great Patriots sit outside the picture with a 6-5 record, and the injury plagued Chargers are once again just riding on the edge of the playoffs thanks to Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and Co. On the national side of things, the 10-1 Eagles hold the top spot courtesy of the Jalen Hurts Show. Likewise, the Vikings hold the two spot thanks to the only non-QB MVP candidate Justin Jefferson, who is rolling through teams, averaging 120 yards per game in November, with 3 TD’s. The NFC West leading 49ers are riding on a 7th round QB in Brock Purdy, and stifling defense that has held their last 4 opponents to 0 second half points. Tom Brady and the Bucs sit atop the weak NFC South, and while they might not have the greatest odds, you can never count out TB12. The Cowboys stand in the #5 spot, as they may have the best defense in the league anchored by Micah Parsons, a potential DPOY candidate. The confusing Giants hold the 6th spot at 7-4-1 after the tie with the Washington Commanders who sit just outside the playoffs at 7-5-1. The current 7th seed is the surprising Seattle Seahawks propelled by one of the best rookie classes of all time headlined by Rookie of the Year candidates RB Kenneth Walker III and CB Tariq Woolen , and an MVP candidate in Geno Smith, who essentially came out of nowhere. Many big games with playoff implications are approaching such as Week 15’s TNF Game, Seahawks vs 49ers, Eagles vs Cowboys in Week 16, and a huge Bengals vs Ravens game to close out the season. However, these are the teams of Week 13 that would be playing into January, and it most likely will not stay the same, as some teams are trending up or down starting with the 49ers who own a 1 game lead in the NFC West, but are down to 1 QB on their roster in Brock Purdy, who stands in for the injured Trey Lance (ankle, week 2) and Jimmy Gararapplo (foot, week 13). The Niners now will most likely have to roll with Mr. Irrelevant: the 262nd (last) pick in the 2022 draft. I expect them to struggle in the closing games of the season, and in the playoffs, as it will be tough having to beat high scoring NFC teams like the Vikings and Seahawks. The Ravens face a similar problem, as when the smoke cleared from the Ravens ugly 10-9 win over the Broncos, Lamar Jackson had come up with a knee injury. Although he is week-to-week, they do have a historically reliable backup in Tyler Huntley and the Ravens should be able to hold on to a playoff spot and hope that Lamar Jackson can be available for their likely week 18 AFC North matchup with the Bengals. The Bengals are finally healthy and are looking like the team we saw down the stretch last year, as they are looking to make another run at the Super Bowl after beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Brady and the Bucs are looking at the playoffs after coming back to beat the Saints on MNF, a game that would have heated up the quiet NFC South race, as the 6-6 Bucs lead a division that has a combined record of 19-31. Unfortunately for most, it appears a mediocre Bucs team will claw their way to the playoffs, and give TB12 another chance at his 8th ring. The Seahawks first 3 RB’s are down, and as a Seahawk’s fan, this season shadows the 2019 run when Marshawn Lynch was signed late in the season to resurge the Hawk’s ground game…one last run Shawn? The answer is most likely no, but it will be interesting to see how Seattle handles the void. My final predictions for the NFC keeps the Eagles one game ahead of the Cowboys as they finish at 14-3, the Seahawks overtake Brock Purdy and win the NFC West, the Vikings hold on to their five game NFC North lead, but not by a lot, and the Bucs slide into the playoffs at 9-8. The Cowboys come up at #5 barely behind the Eagles. The 49ers fall to #6, and the Lions make the playoffs barely and get the chance to win their first playoff game in over 30 years. On the AFC side I have the Bengals winning out and finishing at 13-4 and getting the tiebreaker over the 13-4 Chiefs who sit at #2. Buffalo holds off Tua Tagovailoa, Mike Mcdaniel, and the Dolphins to win the AFC East, while Derrick Henry propels the Titans to another postseason. The Dolphins come up just short on the Bills and get the five seed, Bill Belicheck and his stellar defense find a way to the playoffs while the Ravens cling to the 7th seed after losing to the Bengals in Week 18. No matter what happens though, we are guaranteed some exciting football this winter.