NFL Debrief: Broncos are red hot, Bears are not, and more from Week 15

Jonathan Daniel

The Broncos are eyeing a double-digit win streak while the Bears are prepping themselves for another collapse.

Of the 16 teams in the NFC, nine of them are 8-6 or better. Three of them have clinched playoff spots -- Packers, Falcons and 49ers.

Of the 16 teams in the AFC, eight of them have a realistic shot at the playoffs with the Jets, at 6-7, sitting on the bottom of that totem pole. Four AFC teams have clinched playoff spots -- Patriots, Ravens, Texans and Broncos.

That puts 10 who could realistically hope to pick up one of the five remaining spots in both the AFC and NFC.


More: NFL scores for Week 15 | Light week for injuries | Are the Cowboys likable?


Read all about the playoff picture here.

Below, see what those potential playoff teams did in Week 15.

The Broncos will likely enter the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak

Denver, 11-3, has won nine in a row and they end the season with home games against the Browns and Chiefs, games in which they'll be heavily favored.

So they're probably entering the postseason on an 11-game winning streak. Good thing or a bad thing?

One school of thought is that a team like the Broncos needs to get beat late in the season to make them aware of how vulnerable they can be every Sunday. Like a wake-up call. You don't want that game to come in the Divisional round. With a double-digit win streak, vulnerable isn't something you're usually feeling.

The other school of thought is that an 11-game win streak means they're the hottest team in the league. No better time to enter the playoffs, right?

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears collapse will get Lovie Smith fired

It's coming. You can't do this this two years in a row and not see an angry owner.

Last year the Bears were 7-3 before going on a five-game losing streak in Week 12 and ending the season at 8-8. They missed the playoffs.

This year the Bears were 7-1 through the first half of the season. Of course they were going to the playoffs, everyone thought.

But now? Not so sure about that.

Chicago is 8-6, so it is right in the thick of the playoff picture, but things aren't as easy as they were when the Bears were 7-1.

The frustrating part of this for Chicago fans is that the problems are mostly the same -- Jay Cutler is sacked too much, the defense is too banged up.

Last week, SB Nation's Windy City Gridiron called this the "beginning of the end" of the Lovie Smith era. If the Bears miss the playoffs, I think they'll be proven prophetic.

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Another week of Seattle running up the score

The Seahawks have scored 108 points in two weeks. As a reference, the Chiefs have scored 194 points ... all season. So, yeah, the Seahawks are hot right now. But it's not just that they're winning -- they're in the middle of the playoff hunt -- it's the way they're doing it.

Pete Carroll, channeling his inner-USC, has blown out the Cardinals and Bills in the last two weeks. Last week, it was Carroll's Seahawks throwing deep in the fourth quarter while up six touchdowns. This week, it was a fake punt ... while up 30 points ... in the fourth quarter.

The easy response is this one: If you want the Seahawks to stop dropping 50-burgers, then stop them. That's the attitude they've taken over at SB Nation Seattle:

From what I can tell, Pete had two goals going into this ball game, aside from winning, which is the case every week. Show off what is probably the biggest steal in an NFL draft in the last two generations, and remind people that he will run up a score whenever the hell he wants to run up the score.

Check, and check.

Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick would probably get along.

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Would your team take Kirk Cousins?

The Redskins' quarterback threw for over 300 yards in his first start, a 17-point victory over the Browns. This was a much-needed game, and with their star quarterback down, the Redskins still nearly put up 40 points. Some criticized Mike Shanahan for selecting two quarterbacks in the first 102 picks in the Draft. Others, those who look pretty smart right now, praised the decision.

The rumor mill will soon begin churning, connecting teams to Cousins in trade talks. That's what happens when a backup quarterback plays well -- teams without quarterbacks want a piece of him.


More: London Fletcher's family did what?


I count at least four teams that would take Cousins right now -- Buffalo, Kansas city, Jacksonville and Arizona. There are probably more.

The Bills say they're drafting their quarterback. The Chiefs seem destined to do the same. That leaves Jacksonville and Arizona for Cousins.

He might prefer the backup life.

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Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 pick will likely come down to Kansas City or Jacksonville

The Chiefs and Jaguars are the only two-win teams remaining in the league. Barring two-game winning streaks by either team (LOL) and getting into tiebreakers, the Chiefs or Jaguars will likely have the No. 1 overall pick.

For Kansas City, the decision should be quarterback-or-bust at the top of the draft given what we've seen from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn this season.

For Jacksonville, Blaine Gabbert was drafted just two years ago. Do you go with another quarterback?

Who would you take No. 1 overall?

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