Amazing that, with only two weeks to go, 22 teams are still very much alive in the playoff picture. Here’s a look at who’d be where if the season were only 14 games long, along with our spin on each team’s status…
1. New England Patriots (11-3) — The third team in three days to “control their own destiny” should finish first.
2. Baltimore Ravens (10-4) — Should beat Cleveland, but Cincy could make clinching the division difficult.
3. Houston Texans (10-4) — There’s a very good chance that they end up in this spot regardless now.
4. Denver Broncos (8-6) — Might still have to beat Kyle Orton at home to clinch the division.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) — Looking likely we’ll see Steelers-Broncos on wild-card weekend.
6. New York Jets (8-6) — Which Jets will show up against the Giants and Dolphins?
7. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) — Running into a hot Arizona team on Christmas Eve. Could be trouble.
8. Tennessee Titans (7-7) — Should be alive for a season finale that might not matter to the Texans.
9. Oakland Raiders (7-7) — They’ll have trouble winning again with KC and the Chargers on deck.
10. San Diego Chargers (7-7) — Wanna bet they finish 9-7 and at least leave it up to tiebreakers?
11. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8) — Hanging by a thread, but still alive despite being dead last in the AFC West.
1. Green Bay Packers (13-1) — They’ll punish the Bears at home to lock up the top spot.
2. San Francisco 49ers (11-3) — Seahawks could present a major test in Seattle Saturday.
3. New Orleans Saints (11-3) — Next two games — Atlanta, Carolina — could go either way.
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-6) — The NFC East is a mess. Cowboys host Philly this weekend.
5. Atlanta Falcons (9-5) — Probably just a question of which seed they get now.
6. Detroit Lions (9-5) — With San Diego and Green Bay ahead, there’s a decent chance they still blow this.
7. Seattle Seahawks (7-7) — Winner of Arizona-Seattle in Week 17 might have a serious chance.
8. Chicago Bears (7-7) — It’s over. Green Bay next.
9. New York Giants (7-7) — The NFC East is a mess. We’ll see if Cowboys-Giants matters in Week 17.
10. Arizona Cardinals (7-7) — Again, winner of Arizona-Seattle in Week 17 might have a serious chance.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) — Did I mention the NFC East is a mess? Win out and Philly might squeak in.