NFL playoffs: Who’s in, Who’s out?
The NFL is closing in on the home stretch of the season, and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. A few teams such as the Patriots, Panthers, and Bengals are virtual locks for the postseason. Other franchises such as the Bills, Jets, and Raiders are stuck near the .500 mark and struggling to stay afloat.
Here are our picks for who will make the postseason:
Despite a tough, emotional loss to the Bills last Thursday, the Jets have the easiest path to the postseason of all the teams on the playoff bubble. They only have two games left against teams with winning records and should be able to finish the season around the 10 win mark. The Jets have a very tough defense and a strong running game, which keeps them competitive with all of their opponents. The season finale, a second game against Buffalo, could determine who goes home and who continues playing in the winter.
Buffalo is in the driver’s seat for the last remaining playoff spot in the AFC, but injuries and a more difficult schedule could hold them back. Offensive stars LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and Tyrod Taylor have all missed time this season and are playing with nagging injuries. Without these players at 100 percent every week, Buffalo’s offensive firepower will continue to be inconsistent.
Oakland has gotten off to a 4-5 start and has been a pleasant surprise this season. The outstanding play of quarterback Derek Carr and rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper have turned the Raiders into a dangerous opponent. Oakland is one game behind both the Jets and the Bills in the race for the last wildcard spot, and with match-ups with the Broncos and the Packers remaining on the schedule, they are a long shot to make the playoffs.
Will the season finale showdown between the Bills and Jets determine the AFC’s last playoff spot? Can Oakland overcome their difficult schedule to earn a playoff spot? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4