Monday, December 26, 2016

Chiefs, Steelers, Dolphins Lock Up AFC Playoffs

The AFC Playoff picture is nearly complete as the final three teams that needed to clinch spots in the tournament did so on Christmas night. The only thing left to determine in the AFC is playoff seeding.

The NFC is still to be decided with two spots to determine between three teams.

In the playoffs: 
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers earned their way into the playoffs with a huge fourth quarter comeback against the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas night. The Steelers trailed 20-10 before Ben Roethlisberger led two huge touchdown drives to put the Steelers up 24-20 with a little over two minutes to go in the game. After Joe Flacco and company responded it was up to Big Ben again, this time down th
ree with 1:18 to go in the game. The Ravens couldn't stop the Steelers who drove 75 yards in 10 plays for the winning score as Antonio Bryant just got the ball over the end zone line for the winning touchdown. The win gives the Steelers the AFC North crown and the number 3 seed. The Steelers will host Miami in the Wild Card game.

Kansas City Chiefs: There was a scenario last night that if the Steelers won against the Ravens, it would clinch a spot for the Chiefs as well. Well it happened. Before KC ever took the field, they were in the playoffs thanks to the Steelers. Kansas City then went about dismantling the Broncos and knocking them out of the playoffs with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce having huge nights for KC in a 33-10 smackdown.

The Chiefs can still move up to the number two seed IF they win on Sunday at San Diego and the Derek Carr-less Raiders lose in Denver. If that should not come to pass, then Kansas City will be locked in as the five seed, and will visit Houston for the second straight year in the wild card game.

Miami Dolphins: Thanks to the Steelers and Chiefs, the Dolphins took the final spot in the AFC playoffs. The Dolphins earned the spot after a classic 34-31 win in overtime against the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins will face the Steelers in two weeks in the AFC Wild Card round.

Still Fighting: 
Detroit Lions: Tonight is a franchise defining moment for Detroit. Yes, it is that big. They are in Dallas tonight, and are heavy underdogs to the Cowboys, but if the Lions were to pull out the upset they would assure themselves a spot in the tournament. If they should lose to Dallas tonight, then the Lions must win against Green Bay next week in order to take the division and a playoff spot outright.

Food for thought: the Lions could go from being either a two seed or out of the playoffs in the next two ball games. If they win out and get a loss by Atlanta next week then Detroit can be the two seed. If the Lions beat Green Bay next week they are assured at least the three seed. If Detroit should win tonight, but lose to Green Bay next week they are still in as a sixth seed. If they get swept in the next two games, Detroit likely misses the playoffs unless the Giants beat the Redskins.

Green Bay Packers: Win and they are in next week in Detroit. Even if the Lions win in Dallas tonight, if Green Bay takes care of business next Sunday night in Detroit they will beat out Washington for the final slot in the playoffs. Green Bay could be a three seed if they win on Sunday and Seattle loses on Sunday.

Washington Redskins: The Redskins need to beat the Giants on Sunday afternoon and get some help. They would love for Detroit to lose their final two games of the season - as it would be the easiest way for them to get into the playoffs. If that doesn't happen, the Skins would need to beat the Giants on Sunday and hope Detroit beats Green Bay in order to get in. If Detroit wins tonight and Green Bay wins next week, it doesn't matter what the Redskins do to the Giants, they would be out of the playoffs.

Thanks for Coming: 
Denver Broncos: The defending Champs go out with a whimper this season. Don't expect John Elway to rest on his laurels and continue developing Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian next year. The Broncos are going for Tony Romo, period.

Baltimore Ravens: The inconsistent Ravens got what they deserved last night in Pittsburgh, a loss and out of the playoffs. They need help on the O-line, need a big receiver, and need to get faster on defense if they want to be taken seriously in 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Some say the Bucs still have a glimmer of hope. I beg to differ. Thanks for playoff Bucs.

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