1. The Chiefs’ 27-13 dismantling of the Rams showed the difference between the AFC West and the NFC West. Even though the 9-5 Chiefs have had their struggles in the second half of the season, their defense dominated this game.
Kansas City finishes with two games at Arrowhead Stadium, where they are undefeated. I expect the division to come down to Chiefs-Raiders in Week 17. Teams like the Patriots and Colts will be rooting for the Chiefs to keep San Diego out of the tournament.
2. It’s hard to overstate just how improbable and important the Eagles’ big comeback was. With home games against the Vikings and Cowboys left, the Eagles have a terrific chance to get to 12-4 and be the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. It’s a comeback that will be remembered forever in New York, and it sets up the Eagles to make an even more memorable playoff run.
3. Big Blue’s big gag job against the Eagles puts them at serious risk of falling out of the playoffs. The Packers will be able to pass the Giants next week when the Giants go to Lambeau Field. That should be a great game because both of these teams are playoff-caliber groups, but it’s likely only one will make it.
4. The Bucs finally blew a close game to a losing team after playing in so many tight affairs all year. I hated Raheem Morris’ conservative play-calling when the Bucs were driving for a go-ahead field goal late in the game. He didn’t go for the touchdown and trusted his banged-up defense too much. It was very Herm Edwards-like.
This doesn’t end Tampa’s playoff hopes, but they’ll have to win in New Orleans in Week 17 and get a lot of help. This is a young, thin team that has lost too many players.
5. The Rams can still make the playoffs, but Sam Bradford and their offense isn’t playoff ready. Bradford is now under 6 yards-per-attempt on the season — only Jimmy Clausen is worse. Bradford has thrown five interceptions with no touchdowns over the last three weeks.
6. Unless Seattle can win in Tampa Bay next week, the 49ers will make the playoffs if they close the season with two wins to get to 7-9. Barf.
7. The Falcons only have to win in Week 17 against the Panthers to win the NFC South. But Falcons-Saints next week still means a lot to New Orleans because the Saints would love to get the No. 5 seed. That means starting on the road against the NFC West, where they will be heavily favored.
8. The Colts’ pass rush was a huge difference maker in the team’s win against Jacksonville. Yes, the Jaguars offense eventually got rolling in the second half. But it was too little, too late. The Colts are just a different team at home and now control their fate in the AFC South.
Next week’s game in Oakland will be a tricky spot for the Colts.
9. Perfect day for the Panthers. They got their second win against the Cardinals, but the Bengals also won. That preserves the projected No. 1 pick for Carolina.
10. It was important for Jim Schwartz to get a road victory before this season was done. The 26-game road losing streak was hanging over the franchise. Getting rid of it allows the team to start fresh next year. The Matt Millen streaks are all gone now!
11. Miami’s loss to Buffalo was a fitting way for their playoff hopes to end. They can’t win at home and they can’t build on good performances. They define mediocrity.