In the next to last week of regular season professional football, the only undefeated team left, the Carolina Panthers, lost to the ATLANTA FALCONS. I was a bit surprised by the outcome and for a short while the Falcons still had playoff hopes alive, but even a win against a top tier team could not save Atlanta's struggling season.
The six teams in the NFC are set though their position is not solidified. At the top, the aforementioned Carolina Panthers trailed closely by the Arizona Cardinals, who only have two losses. The Cardinals could gain home field advantage if somehow the Panthers lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cards beat the wildcard bound Seahawks. The odds are against Arizona.
The other wildcard besides Seattle is the Minnesota Vikings who beat the New York Giants Sunday night to destroy the Falcons playoff dreams. The Vikings have a decent record at 10-5 but the Green Bay Packers won more head-to-head matches to take the NFC so far. These two playoff bound teams will face off in Week 17 to determine who wins, I predict Packers.
Finally, the oddball division of the NFC East is led by the Washington Redskins. I'm doubtful they will have much an impact in this playoff. This team should change their disgusting name immediately.
On the other side of the league, the AFC does not have its final wildcard set with the New York Jets still able to be knocked out by the Buffalo Bills and replaced by the Pittsburgh Steelers if the yellow and black team triumphs over the Cleveland Browns.
The Kansas City Chiefs still have a chance to dethrone the Denver Broncos for the AFC West leader if KC beats the Oakland Raiders and Denver loses to the San Diego Chargers.
The Cincinnati Bengals somehow lost in overtime last night to the Broncos but still have a resounding lead in their division. I can only hope they are saving it for the playoffs but without a starting quarterback it will be difficult for the orange and black stripes to go far.
The New England Patriots are coming off another dominating year after the controversy of deflating balls but even they have not locked down home field advantage yet.
The other oddball division contains the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South. The Texans are the likely victors and just have to hold out against the Jacksonville Jaguars while the Colts have to beat the Tennessee Titans and have the Texans lose.
There is still a lot left to determine as we head into the final week of professional football!