The playoff picture is becoming even clearer after sixteen weeks of NFL action, with a few more teams punching their playoff tickets, so let’s take a look at how each team fared. Much like last week’s article, I have separated the teams into four different categories: True Contenders, Playoff Bound Material, Mediocre at Best, and Dead in the Water.
True Contenders: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers.
The Eagles (13-2) were able to fend off the Raiders to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Vikings (12-3) also clinched a first round bye with a shutout victory over the Packers. Elsewhere, the Steelers (12-3) roughed up the Texans to clinch their first round bye, but the playoffs will still run through New England (12-3) if the standings hold next week. The Saints (11-4) remain tied with the Panthers (11-4) for the NFC South title, and will need another victory in Week 17 to guarantee at least one home game in the playoffs. The Rams (11-4) put a dent in the Titans playoff hopes, with another key victory.
Postseason bye: clinched.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 25, 2017
Playoff Bound Material: Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans.
The Seattle Seahawks (9-6) kept their playoff hopes alive with a thrilling victory over the Dallas Cowboys (8-7), who were since eliminated in the playoff picture. The Jaguars (10-5) lost to the red-hot 49ers, but still were able to clinch the AFC South due to the Titans loss. The Falcons (9-6) lost a key divisional battle to the Saints, while the Chiefs (9-6) clinched the AFC West title with a victory over the Dolphins. The Ravens (9-6) look to punch their playoff tickets this week as well as the Titans; with the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Bills waiting for Tennessee to slip up in Week 17.
— Purple Reign Show (@PurpleReignShow) December 24, 2017
The Redskins (7-8) got closer to their goal of ending the season on a strong note, by giving coach Jay Gruden a victory over the Broncos. The Lions (8-7) really hurt their playoff chances with a loss this week to the Bengals, while the 49ers look invincible with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. The Cowboys’ (8-7) season ended on a sour note with a loss to the Seahawks on Christmas Eve. One has to wonder what changes will be coming in Dallas after failing to make the playoffs this season.
The traits displayed by Jimmy Garoppolo in this video is the stuff #NFL front offices spend countless hours searching for in a quarterback, football player and person. Many never find it. The #49ers did, and might have pulled off the trade of the decade:pic.twitter.com/jyh12B9uV9
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) December 21, 2017
— Sport News (@Sport_News01) December 26, 2017
Be sure to check back next week to see the movement in these categories, which teams should start to be taken seriously, and the others we wish would just get off our TV screens for good.
Photo Credit: The Viking Age
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