The Weekly Assist: Only the Jets Can Lose When They Win
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast...
... If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it. Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
We saw the Bills and Seahawks punch their tickets to the postseason in Week 15 leaving only four spots left to claim in both conferences. The Lions, 49ers, Broncos, and Patriots will not be among them as they all added their names to the list of teams mathematically eliminated from contention.
The Jets completed one of the biggest upsets of the season on their way to their first win of 2020 against the playoff-contending Los Angeles Rams, but with that victory gave up valuable ground to Jacksonville in the race for the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, also known as the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes.
The Jets front office watching their team win https://t.co/84aIlRVaZa— Reggie Chatman Jr. (@Reggie Chatman Jr.) 1608509361.0
Miami, Baltimore, Arizona, and Tampa Bay all picked up important wins as they're vying for postseason spots in a highly competitive field. The Browns Sunday night win over the Giants kept them in the top Wild Card spot in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still look like the team to beat, but there's another gunslinger in the AFC named Josh Allen that may be planning to play the Grinch in Kansas City's championship sequel.
Can confirm that @JoshAllenQB looks good in shorts. https://t.co/yCQtGldySs— Buffalo Bills (@Buffalo Bills) 1608505560.0
What to Watch For
The Baltimore Ravens (9-5) have been led by a resurgent Lamar Jackson over the past two weeks, and it may be just in the St. Nick of time for reigning MVP. The Ravens will play the Giants and Bengals over the last two weeks of the regular season which should give them a good shot at finishing 11-5.
My 2 year old son just looked at me and asked “Dad, do you know what I want for Christmas?” I told him I didn’t and… https://t.co/jLzZzkM6vS— Platinum Sombrero (@Platinum Sombrero) 1608000026.0
Currently the Colts (10-4) and Dolphins (9-5) are ahead of Baltimore sitting in the final two playoff spots, but the Dolphins have an unfavorable final two games against the Raiders and Bills. If the Dolphins lose even one game the rest of the way out, we could see the South Beach fans on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
The NFC is a little murkier as nine teams remain in contention to reach the postseason. The NFC East is completely up for grabs as even the 4-9-1 Eagles could still win the division if they win out and everyone else loses out which as we've seen throughout this season, is completely possible. The Cardinals and Bucs helped their causes with wins in Week 15, and a loss by the Rams increased their chances to earn a playoff berth.
Playoff Matchup Predictions As of Week 15 (Only first seed in each conference receives first round bye)
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have looked like the best team in the league all season, and we expect their high level of play to continue into the postseason. Patrick Mahomes has been stellar, and the bevy of weapons at his disposal is simply not fair to the rest of the league.
Here's the list of guys to tally 95+ catches, 1,300+ yards and 10+ touchdowns multiple times since 2018: Travis Kelce— Matt McMullen (@Matt McMullen) 1608563501.0
2. Buffalo Bills
7. Baltimore Ravens
Josh Allen has stepped into the elite category of NFL quarterbacks this season. The acquisition of Stefon Diggs has expedited his development and Buffalo might be the team to unseat the Chiefs in the AFC this year.
You LOVE to see it. 😍 #GoBills | #BillsMafia— Buffalo Bills (@Buffalo Bills) 1608483000.0
If Lamar Jackson is able to carry his team to the playoffs, you never know what he can do. The book on him so far is that he can't win big games. That has been the case for many high profile quarterbacks in league history, and it's always true until it isn't.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Tennessee Titans
The Steelers started the year with 11 consecutive wins. They're on a two game slide right now, but a Monday night matchup against the Bengals tonight gives them an opportunity to seal a division title and prevent the Browns from having a chance to overtake them.
Derrick Henry proved last season he is a problem in the playoffs and the Titans will certainly look to ride their star running back as far as he'll take them this playoff season.
Derrick Henry is the first RB in 12 years with 1,650 rush yards & 15 rush TD in a season... AND HE STILL HAS TWO… https://t.co/1cMArsLk1b— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) 1608563257.0
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Cleveland Browns
The Colts have been surprisingly good on both sides of the ball this season. We think they'll overtake the Titans for the division lead by the end of the season. Unfortunately for them that would result in a matchup against Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh, and we think that the Browns are the better team in the AFC North at this point in the season.
Cleveland is a team that nobody in the AFC wants to see in the playoffs! 2020 is weird. But it's true. Nobody wants a playoff opponent that can run the ball down down your throats for 60 minutes and Cleveland has the best 1-2 punch in all of football in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It's been a long time since we've seen brown and orange against the backdrop of crisp white snow, and we're here for it.
Happy Sunday #DawgPound #browns @Browns https://t.co/TVClveY9HZ— CJ McCollum (@CJ McCollum) 1608524921.0
1. Green Bay Packers
In what will go down as one of Aaron Rodgers' best seasons, the Packers are trying to get one step further than they did last season. Losing to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game a year ago, Rodgers wants to add another Lombardi to his resume before he discount double checks himself into the Hall of Fame.
2. New Orleans Saints
7. Arizona Cardinals
Drew Brees is back and he pretty good in his return from multiple rib fractures and a punctured lung. Not good enough to best the Chiefs in Week 15, but Saints fans should have nothing to worry about. If Michael Thomas can get healthy for the playoffs it will boost their chances to make a run, but he was just recently placed on IR and will be out for the remainder of the regular season.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals outlasted Jalen Hurts and the Eagles in Week 15 to earn an important win to keep them a game ahead of the Bears for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Although their level of play has slipped from the beginning of the year, a mobile quarterback like Murray can prove to be a tough matchup for any team in a must-win game.
Kyler Murray & Jalen Hurts really gave us a SHOW today 💯 Murray: 406 YDS | 27/36 | 3 TD 29 YDS | 1 T… https://t.co/DuMhXD9zTD— Overtime (@Overtime) 1608510829.0
3. Seattle Seahawks
6. Los Angeles Rams
Remember when we were all asking for Pete Carroll to #LetRussCook? Well now we're just hoping he can work a toaster. We have serious concerns about this Seattle team from a defensive perspective, but if Wilson isn't able to provide the Superman heroics we've come accustomed to seeing from him Seattle will be looking at an early exit.
The Rams would make up the other half of this matchup and this combination is about as vanilla as it gets. We envision the line on this game being "bleh" and an over/under of "who cares". Whoever comes out of this the winner, will likely be outed in the next round. Let's hope for a different opening round 3/6 matchup.
4. Washington Football Team
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While you may think that the assessment of a potential Seattle and Los Angeles was harsh and that this potential game is worse, let me tell you that you'd be wrong. Washington has been the best NFC East team for the majority of the season and that's with a rotating cast of quarterbacks and a rookie running back named Antonio Gibson.
Gibson along with Jacksonville's James Robinson, has been a pleasant surprise among this rookie class and his potential return from injury in Week 16 gives fans of the Football Team legitimate hope of winning the division and maybe, just maybe a playoff game or two. Chase Young leads an impressive defense, one that likes to get at the opposing QB which may not bode well for Tom Brady.
Highest-graded defensive rookies: 1. Chase Young, Wash: 79.8 2. Doug Costin, Jags: 75.6 3. Mykal Walker, Falcon: 79… https://t.co/WCRqObWoau— PFF College (@PFF College) 1608486000.0
The Bucs were a preeminent favorite to win the Super Bowl after their offseason acquisitions of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette. Antonio Brown signed on with the team once he was eligible, coming off a league imposed suspension. This added to an already solid group that included Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Ronald Jones.
What we've seen from Tampa has been a team trying to find its identity all year. Through ups and downs however, Tom Brady has been low-key great. He's thrown for 3,886 yards and 32 touchdowns so far, and has been a steady figure for the team as they are attempting to lock up their playoff position.
We won't get to see Tom's old coach and team in the playoffs this year, but we will get our annual postseason dose of Tom Brady.