It was an excellent week in the NFL solely because I didn’t need to eat paper. Last week I said if the Seahawks lost to the Jets I’d print my story out and eat it, which was super relieving and I was saved from consuming more inedible products.
This week we have a mix of games that honestly, don’t really matter, and others that could completely determine the playoff race in the NFL. It’s that duality that really sums up the week. The AFC right now is the biggest battleground in the league, with nine teams having winning records down the stretch. Any of them could conceivably make the playoffs, so let’s dig in to those matchups that matter.
New England vs. Miami is a game that we would have flipped favorites on a couple of months back. Now it’s the Dolphins trying to push into the postseason, not the Patriots. Miami has been really great recently, while the Pats have been ... bad. There aren’t enough weapons on offense, Cam Newton has been inconsistent and it’s all a mess. That said, there’s still potential for this team to go off at any time — making this a bit of a scary game for the Dolphins, and one they can’t lose. The majority of our panel is going with the Dolphins, but this could be a tricky one.
Tennessee should be able to beat Detroit. I use “should” because the Titans have come dangerously close to blowing games against inferior opponents, even losing to Cincinnati. This is a critical week for Tennessee, who need to secure this win to keep their hopes alive to win the AFC South. Their biggest threat, the Colts, should have an easy week against the hapless Texans, making this game more critical for the Titans to stay in lockstep.
Finally we have the Ravens, who should easily beat the Jaguars — but it’s important to note that Baltimore is in must-win mode. At this point every game is critical for their chances to find their way back to the postseason, even with a weaker rosters than they had a year ago. While even the strongest fans are doubting the chances for Lamar Jackson and co. to make noise again in 2020, getting to the playoffs is the biggest battle. Dropping an easy one like this would surely end it for them
Quick hit games to watch:
- Seattle vs. Washington: Can the WFT steal the NFC East?
- Las Vegas vs. Los Angeles Chargers: The Raiders are looking for a way in, and have to win this one.
- Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta: It’s going to be a long, long winter in Buccaneers town if Tom Brady can’t bring his team to the playoffs in a season where there was so much hope.