HomeFootball DirtAFC Division Races Could Be Decided in Final Week

AFC Division Races Could Be Decided in Final Week

Published on

spot_img

On Football analyzes the biggest topics in the NFL from week to week. For more On Football analysis, head here.

___

The AFC is up for grabs with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

Three of the conference’s four division leaders lost in Week 14, tightening the playoff picture and keeping the race for the No. 1 seed wide open.

Only the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (10-3) earned a win and barely. They escaped with an overtime victory over the Rams on a walk-off punt return.

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have the inside track to secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But they have a difficult schedule down the stretch, starting with a trip to Jacksonville to face the AFC South-leading Jaguars (8-5) this Sunday night.

The Ravens then visit NFC-leading San Francisco (10-3) on Christmas night and host AFC East-leading Miami (9-4) and Pittsburgh (7-6) to close out the season.

If they falter, the Cleveland Browns (8-5) are closing in. With veteran Joe Flacco stepping up and providing stability at quarterback, the Browns still have a chance to win the division.

If they win out and the Ravens go 2-2 with one loss to the Steelers or both losses to the 49ers and Jaguars, the Browns will win their first division title since 1989.

Miami’s collapse on Monday night against the Titans opened the door for Buffalo to have a chance at winning its fourth straight AFC East title.

The division will come down to Week 18 when the Bills (7-6) visit the Dolphins if Buffalo closes the gap to one game over the next three weeks. The Bills host Dallas (10-3), visit the Chargers (5-8) and host the Patriots (3-10). The Dolphins host the Jets (5-8) and Cowboys before visiting Baltimore. The Bills won the first meeting so they’d have a chance to sweep the season series and take first place.

The Jaguars have dropped two in a row to allow Houston (7-6) and Indianapolis (7-6) to stay close, but they still have a strong chance to repeat in the South. Those odds will shrink if they don’t upset Baltimore this week.

Jacksonville’s final three games are a bit easier. The Jaguars visit Tampa Bay (6-7), host Carolina (1-12) and finish at Tennessee (5-8).

The biggest surprise in the AFC is Kansas City’s grip on the West is loosening. The Chiefs (8-5) have lost two in a row while the Broncos (7-6) have won six of seven to make things interesting.

If Denver wins out and the Chiefs lose to either the Raiders or Chargers, the Broncos would end Kansas City’s seven-year run of division dominance.

As for the wild-card race, six AFC teams are tied at 7-6 battling for the last two of three spots.

PHILLY BLUES

The road back to the Super Bowl for the Eagles has suddenly hit a detour. Consecutive lopsided losses to the 49ers and Cowboys have exposed Philadelphia’s flaws. A once-dynamic offense is struggling and the defense can’t stop anybody.

But help is on the way. The schedule gets easier.

The Eagles (10-3) face four losing teams to close out the season and would overtake Dallas to win the NFC East if they win out.

First up is a trip to Seattle (6-7) next Monday night. Then, it’s Tommy DeVito and the Giants (5-8) twice in three weeks sandwiched around a road game against the Cardinals (3-10).

Jalen Hurts is 26-5 since the start of the 2022 season, but fickle fans are back to questioning his ability to be a franchise QB. Critics have already turned on coach Nick Sirianni, who led the team to 10-1 starts two straight seasons.

Before losing 42-19 to San Francisco and 33-13 to Dallas, the Eagles rallied to beat the Chiefs on the road and the Bills in overtime in a six-day span.

Then they lost to the two best teams in the NFL right now. The Eagles must improve on both sides of the ball to compete for the Super Bowl, but they can’t be counted out after two terrible games.

BACKUP HEROES

DeVito has become an overnight sensation in New York after leading the Giants (5-8) to three straight wins and giving them an opportunity to stay in the playoff race at one game behind several 6-7 teams.

His agent, Sean Stellato, went viral Monday night for wearing a black pinstripe suit with a black hat on the sideline before DeVito led the Giants to a comeback win over Green Bay.

Flacco, a Super Bowl MVP a decade ago, came off his couch to help the Browns stay competitive and become Cleveland’s fourth starting QB this season.

Jake Browning has stepped in for Joe Burrow and lifted the Bengals back in to the playoff race with impressive performances in wins over Jacksonville and Indianapolis.

Even Zach Wilson returned from another benching to have perhaps the best game of his career in the Jets’ convincing win over Houston.

In a year where seven starting QBs have sustained significant season-ending injuries, several teams are counting on backups to keep them in playoff contention.

 


Latest articles

Steelers Undrafted Free Agents Eyeing Role in Place of CB Sutton

The Steelers defense faced a setback with the league imposing an eight-game suspension on...

Updates on the Packers’ Offensive Line

The Packers will have four out of five starting offensive...

New Updates Regarding San Francisco 49ers Linebacker Dre Greenlaw

49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw is facing long odds of returning from injury in time...

Fans honor defensive football tactician

Legendary football coach Monte Kiffin, known for his innovative cover 2 defense, passed away...

More like this

Steelers Undrafted Free Agents Eyeing Role in Place of CB Sutton

The Steelers defense faced a setback with the league imposing an eight-game suspension on...

New Updates Regarding San Francisco 49ers Linebacker Dre Greenlaw

49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw is facing long odds of returning from injury in time...

Fans honor defensive football tactician

Legendary football coach Monte Kiffin, known for his innovative cover 2 defense, passed away...