- Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Last Week: 1
The Packers are the top seed in the NFC after drubbing the Vikings on Sunday night. It will be hard for anyone to deal with the Packers in the cold of Green Bay. The Packers are healthy and will only get healthier as the get the added rest afforded to the top seed. Allen Lazard’s return is a nice boost and makes Green Bay even more difficult to stop.
- Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
Last Week: 3
The Rams had a gutty performance on the road against a very desperate Ravens team. It was the Rams fifth straight win following three straight losses and some very big concerns. The Rams seem to be coming together everywhere but in the passing game. Stafford needs to rectify his issues over the next week or so for the Rams to win the NFC.
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
Last Week: 2
The Chiefs will have nightmares about Jamarr Chase especially if it costs them the top seed, which it very well might. After running off eight straight wins and holding several opponents under ten points in the process, the defense had no answer for the Bengals passing game. The loss hurts but may refocus the Chiefs on their deficiencies just in time for the playoffs.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
Last Week: 4
I’m not sure what that was all about on Sunday against the Jets. The poor showing coupled with the circus events surrounding Antonio Brown have the Bucs on a downward trend despite it not showing up in the win-loss record. Brady should provide all the leadership necessary to overcome the distractions regarding Brown’s departure, but even the best QB ever can’t catch his own passes. Godwin and Brown’s absences leave huge holes to fill at the worst time of the season.
- Buffalo Bills (10-6)
Last Week: 7
The Bills posted their third straight win following the disappointing showing in the first matchup against New England and a loss on the road to the Bucs. They are now a home win against the Jets from sealing the division title. As it stands, they may need another win against the dreaded Patriots in the first week of the playoffs.
- Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Last Week: 8
The Cardinals win in Dallas had the feel of a season saver even though Arizona had already clinched a playoff berth. The win reestablished the Cardinals as a team that can compete with playoff-caliber opponents. Their recent play had Arizona’s viability as a contender very much in doubt. Christian Kirk and AJ Green along with a revived Zach Erst gave the Cowboy’s fits and allowed the Cards to achieve a balanced attack that could be successful in the post season.
- New England Patriots (10-6)
Last Week: 9
The Jaguars are hardly a challenge at this point in the season. It was terrible timing for Jacksonville having to travel to New England after two straight losses for the Pats. The Patriots seem headed for another matchup with division-rival Buffalo in the playoffs. The Pats won’t need 50 points again to win, but they will need to both run and pass with some efficiency to win in the post season. It will be interesting to see if they can get enough through the air to win against a strong opponent.
- Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
Last Week: 5
Dropping Sunday’s game against the desperate Cardinals would not be such a cause for concern, but the Cowboy’s four-game winning streak preceding the loss on Sunday came against low-level competition and followed two straight losses. Sunday’s performance feels a lot like the loss to Denver earlier in the season and leaves people wondering how good this team really is.
- Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Last Week: 10
The Bengals had their biggest win of the season Sunday against the visiting Chiefs. The win was the Bengal’s third straight and clinched the division for Cincinnati. It gave the Bengals ten wins for the season for the first time since 2015 and comes just two years after a two-win season in 2019. The combination of Burrow to Chase figures to be a mainstay among the best QB-WR tandems in the league for years to come. The Bengals may be a few pieces away from a Super Bowl run, but they will be fun to watch for as long as their season lasts.
- Tennessee Titans (11-5)
Last Week: Unranked
The team everyone forgot has silently slipped into the AFC’s top seed. It doesn’t seem that Tennessee is playing as well as when they ripped off six straight wins earlier in the year. That streak included wins against the Bills, Chiefs, and Rams. There is talk of all-world running back Derrick Henry returning for the Titans for the playoffs. If Henry can come back at near full strength, it may vault Tennessee back to their early-season form, and that would mean a real chance at a Super Bowl berth.