|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
With the season rapidly approaching its end, teams are scrambling for position, especially in the tightened up Wildcard races. Even Buffalo (4-7), for example, is only 1.5 games back. The Chiefs, Broncos and Seahawks are still the class of the NFL, but for other seeds, things are still up in the air. Now that Tampa has won two straight, just about anything’s possible, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, November 20:
With a 41-20 victory over Minnesota, Seattle became the first team to 10 wins this season. They have plenty of pep in their step, and show no signs of slowing down. They’ll be a tough out to be sure.
New Orleans picked up a close 23-20 win against the Niners, though a couple of dumb penalties on San Francisco did just as much as New Orleans to influence the outcome. That doesn’t change what Rob Ryan has been able to do on defense, though, nor does it change what the offense can do. New Orleans is another team that remains a contender.
Though the 49ers lost to fall to 6-4, but so did Detroit. It’s a tough blow for Detroit, but they’re still in the lead for their division, and have plenty of ability. San Francisco is not performing nearly how they were expected to be, and they’d better make better decisions late in the game, because shooting yourself in the foot in the playoffs won’t work.
The Eagles had to hold off the Redskins’ comeback, but did hang on to win. Carolina needed a bad call by the officials to hold off New England, but that doesn’t change how good their defense is. And with Cam Newton evolving as a quarterback, the Panthers are still in a very good position to make some noise.
The Broncos handed Kansas City their first loss of the season to move up to #1. 27 points may be low for Denver, but it’s high for KC’s defense. Look for Denver to make waves in January.
With a win in Tennessee, Indianapolis has put a stranglehold on the AFC South. T.Y. Hilton is emerging as a dangerous weapon for Andrew Luck. Having Trent Richardson start producing would be great, but Indianapolis is fortunate for that not to be very imperative at the moment.
Despite another rough call that generated a lot of controversy, the Patriots are still a very good team. And it once again happened on the road. It’s a lot tougher to get the Patriots down at home, and the Jets have literally been back and forth performance-wise every game. That won’t cut it in New England.
Cincinnati pummeled the Browns, but for whoever gets the #4 spot, it’s a pick-your-poison situation between getting Denver’s offense or Kansas City‘s defense. Cincinnati is a good team themselves, but they have had problems from time to time. Consistency and defense is on Kansas City’s side, and that should carry the day.
Tags: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL Playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks