NFL Playoff Picture Following Week 16 Collapses
With one week left, the NFL playoffs are all but set. There are a few spots still left to be secured but most of the chaos is limited to seeding. Though week 16 shook up the entire playoff picture in the final minutes of a handful of games. On Sunday morning, the Steelers were the fourth seed. Following the loss to the New Orleans Saints, the NFC’s no. 1 seed, they’ve dropped to the eight seed and might be home for January. That comes after a fumble by JuJu Smith-Schuster that killed a likely game-winning drive in the process. Pittsburgh now must win their game against the Cincinnati Bengals and then either Tennessee and Indy must tie or the Browns have to beat Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh’s entire season, one in which they were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders now relies on the AFC North’s perennial punching bag.
The Houston Texans also choked against the Philadelphia Eagles. With under two minutes left, backup Nick Foles started near his own end zone. A few plays later, star Jadeveon Clowney was called for roughing the passer. Foles left the game for a play and the Eagles moved over twenty yards upfield. They would win off a field goal. That pushed the New England Patriots to the no. 2 seed and gave them home-field advantage. It’s likely the Texans will have to play a wildcard game.
Then, the New York Giants lost in the final minutes to the Colts. At 9-6, they’re the no. 6 seed and own the tiebreaker over the Tennessee Titans. The two teams played once in the season and will face off on Sunday in a do-or-die game.
Currently, in the NFC five teams have clinched. The Minnesota Vikings will have to fight for a playoff berth against the Eagles. In the AFC, only four teams have a spot and only one team has won their division title. Home field advantage still isn’t locked up. Fans of Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and Indy are all in for a stressful weekend.