This post was initially published in The Cliff Notes by CSN contributor Cliff Gibson.
I keep telling people how bizarre this NFL season is. So unpredictable. There’s nothing to take for granted and no time to get comfortable. It may look like the team you root for is hitting its stride, and then they get blown out by the least likely opponent. Your favorite player may be having an MVP-caliber season and then miss three games in Covid protocol. Bummer. It’s totally insane … and that means it’s INSANELY FUN.
The race for the playoffs has been wildly entertaining this season and impossible to predict. After last week there were still almost 30 teams alive for a playoff spot. THIRTY teams. That’s crazy. Luckily, Week 16 came to hand out some walking papers to a few more teams, while a few others clinched playoff spots, although the exact seeding will likely come down to the final day of the regular season.
Carolina, Chicago, and my Seattle Seahawks were among the latest teams eliminated from the picture. Somehow the Washington Football Team still has a mathematical chance, despite a 6-9 record (nice) and coming off an embarrassing 56-14 spanking by their daddy, the Dallas Cowboys.
Speaking of Dallas, they clinched the NFL East (easily the weakest division in football), one of three teams to win their respective divisions Sunday. Kansas City and Tampa Bay were the other two. I still like the Chiefs to make the Super Bowl out of the AFC and will stick with them until something suggests otherwise.
The Los Angeles Rams not only clinched a spot but lept over NFC West rival Arizona in the process. The Cardinals are an absolute mess. To me, they look like the weakest of the five NFC teams that have clinched.
Only two spots remain in the NFC, with six teams alive to fight for them. San Francisco looks like a solid pick, but who is the seventh? Do I have any faith in the Eagles, Saints, or Vikings at this point? NO. I do not.
The AFC is a lot more muddled. Cincinnati made a huge statement and took the AFC North lead, Buffalo got its revenge on the Patriots (and regained the AFC East lead), and Tennessee came up big to stay in the second spot.
Wanna know who I like in the AFC right now, outside of Kansas City? – INDIANAPOLIS. Yeah, I love this Colts team, and they are built for a playoff run. Strong, powerful running game, fast and intelligent defense, and a QB that plays within the system’s constraints. I am enjoying watching Carson Wentz in Frank Reich’s system. Indy is a dark horse pick to make the Super Bowl out of the AFC, playoff matchups willing.
What’s crazy about the AFC is that only one playoff spot has been clinched with two weeks left in the regular season. Yep, ONE. Two weeks left, 12 teams still alive, six spots up for grabs. It’s gonna be awesome.
The league wanted to add a little drama to the postseason race when it added a 17th game to the schedule, but I don’t think they ever imagined it would be this crazy. This is the kind of chaos that can only be dreamed of.