Divisional rivalries, playoff implications highlight week 15 – archyde

Divisional rivalries add spice to NFL matches. There are a number of them in week 15 when the teams hit the stretch run.

OK, maybe no one is paying any attention to the Houston-Jacksonville AFC South meeting. Balance that with these: Saints at Buccaneers, Cowboys at Giants, Washington at Eagles, Jets at Dolphins, and Vikings at Bears. All with some impact on the playoffs.

Not to mention other major games in a week badly hit by COVID-19.

“People know, but at the same time we try to translate it into the week every week, not to make it bigger than it has to be,” Colts quarterback Carson Wentz said of the New England game in one of those big games. “We know the extent of the game, the extent of who we are playing against in the conference and where the teams are sitting. We know all that stuff. ”

The action began Thursday night with Kansas City’s 34:28 win in overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers. Travis Kelce intercepted a short pass from Patrick Mahomes and missed several defenders for a 34-yard touchdown as the Chiefs (10-4) won their seventh straight win and took command of AFC West. Kelce caught 10 passes for a career high of 191 yards and two touchdowns, and Mahomes threw for 410 yards and three scores. The Chargers (8-6) failed to convert three fourth downs while in field goal and also lost a fumble on Kansas City 2, finishing a 97-yard drive with no points.

New England (9-4) versus Indianapolis (7-6) Saturday

Fans won’t see Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, the glory days of QB competitions. The Indiana folks certainly don’t like seeing New England players. Indianapolis have lost to the Patriots eight straight times since winning in 2009. The Patriots are tied with Kansas City for most consecutive 30-point games in a series. New England have taken the Colts nine times in a row.

A streak of seven games has put New England at the top of the AFC. To stay on it might need to slow down the league’s leading rusher Jonathan Taylor. He has stormed 100 yards in seven of his last 10 games and can offset Lenny Moore’s franchise record with a TD run in his eleventh consecutive competition.

Las Vegas (6-7) in Cleveland (7-6) Saturday

What a mess. No, not just the falling raiders. Cleveland is in the midst of a major COVID-19 outbreak that could sideline quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, which could include Nick Mullens. Brown’s coach Kevin Stefanski is also on the record; For the same reason, he missed a playoff win in Pittsburgh in January.

The Raiders have won three in a row this streak, but have lost five out of six games 5-2 since the start of the season. They have their second most common one-sided loss of the Super Bowl-era regular season, 48-9 against Kansas City, and have been held to 16 points or less on all seven losses.

Green Bay (10-3) in Baltimore (8-5)

The Ravens have been ravaged by injuries since preseason and could be in their worst shape yet. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was sidelined by a sprained ankle in a loss to Cleveland, and the second is due to the third stringer. Not the best way to face Aaron Rodgers who has another brilliant season and Green Bay balanced attack.

But history is on Baltimore’s side. It has won 13 games in a row against the NFC, the longest active streak a team has against the opposing conference. Slowing down Davante Adams will be the biggest challenge, and the Packers are taking the NFC North by winning.

Arizona (10-3) in Detroit (1-11-1)

One of the top teams in NFC against the bottom of the league. Seems like a loss, especially with Arizona 7-0 on the road and in position to take a playoff spot.

If the Cardinals win, they’ll be the tenth team with eight road wins in one season; Playing in Dallas on January 2nd, they could be the first team in the NFL to break a 9-0 record in one season. For the first time, the league has a 17-game schedule.

Tennessee (9-4) in Pittsburgh (6-6-1)

Despite their inconsistencies in all aspects, the Steelers remain viable for the playoffs. A win against the Titans, who are two games ahead at AFC South, would be massive. The Steelers are more optimistic starlinebackers TJ Watt (groin) and DB Joe Haden (foot) will be able to play. Watt, with 16 sacks of NFL leader, is key: Pittsburgh is 6-2 if he plays a full game and 0-4-1 in games if he’s seated or restricted from injury.

Tennessee can win their second straight league title with a win and a loss for Indianapolis against New England.

Cincinnati (7-6) in Denver (7-6)

A pair of mixed up teams chasing AFC playoff spots with the Bengals battling it out for the Troubled North title. But they have lost twice in a row and the Broncos have dominated the series, particularly in Denver where they won 13 out of 16.

“I think everyone is still optimistic. They all know that we have a good team, ”said coach Zac Taylor. “We have to find ways to do our business and get some profit here. But it is neither doom nor darkness. “

Plenty of playmakers to watch out for, from Cincinnati receiver rookie Ja’Marr Chase and aspiring Tee Higgins (three 100-yard games in a row) to Denver’s running backs, Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams.

Atlanta (6-7) in San Francisco (7-6)

Another game with two competitors. The Niners won four out of five. Atlanta is 5-2 on the streets and is aiming for its first season with six street wins since 2016 when it went to the Super Bowl.

This could be decided in the red area. San Francisco has the NFL top 5.7 points per trip within the 20 with touchdowns on 73% of those trips in the league. Atlanta has struggled to stop teams near the end zone, ranking 29th in points allowed per trip in the red zone (5.58) and 28th in allowed TDs (68.8%). Place.

Carolina (5-8) bei Buffalo (7-6)

Every team is stumbling, though the Bills still control their chances of being in the Super Bowl mix for which they were once favored. The bills dropped three out of four and five out of eight. They haven’t lost three in a row since a four-game slip in 2018 when quarterback Josh Allen was out with a sprained right elbow. Now he has a problem with his left foot.

Bill’s coach Sean McDermott will meet his former team for the second time; From 2011 to 2016 he was Defensive Coordinator for the Panthers. Carolina has lost eight of its last ten and QB Cam Newton has lost eleven consecutive starts for Carolina dating back to the 2018 season.

New York Jets (3-10) in Miami (6-7)

Returning to the playoff chase with five straight winners, the Dolphins have won seven of the series’ last eight games, including the last three with a total of 68:20. But the Jets, who have been losers on their last five visits, are actually 4-0 on their last four December trips to Miami. New York will finish last in the AFC East by losing; this is a place it has owned four times in the past five seasons.

Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has to keep an eye out for a fellow rookie, linebacker Jaelan Phillips. He has five sacks in his last two games and seven sacks in the winning streak.

Washington (6-7) in Philadelphia (6-7)

With 9-8, apparently a wildcard qualifying record, the Linc winner could be in good shape. Not that both teams are in great shape as quarterback as Phillys Jalen Hurts and Washington’s Taylor Heinicke struggle with injuries.

Washington is playing the second of five consecutive division games to end the regular season amid a COVID-19 outbreak. The last time that happened was for Tampa Bay in 1995.

Dallas (9-4) with the New York Giants (4-9)

Dallas are in a strong position to secure a playoff spot and soon the NFC East title. Don’t look for the under-manned Giants getting in the way of the cowboys. Dallas are 3-0 against NFC East and have a standings of three games with four games remaining. No other NFL team is unbeaten in its division.

The cowboys will likely return to the running game; They stormed for 201 yards on 39 tries in an early win of the season over New York. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have set a club record with five defensive touchdowns, and Trevon Diggs is the NFL leader at interceptions with nine.

Seattle (5-8) bei den Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

A win and a few defeats elsewhere would put the Rams on the postseason parade. For now, they have to focus on an opponent who has won their last two and have to win every shot in a playoff spot. Seattle could also be hampered with Tyler Lockett in the COVID-19 protocol.

“On the outside, we were out two weeks ago, and it doesn’t matter what we’ve been up to for the past two weeks,” says Seahawk’s safety Quandre Diggs. “We’re still 5-8. … We feel comfortable with the uncomfortable. At the moment we are in an uncomfortable situation, so we have to make it. “

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the league with 152 tackles. He believes he’s busy bringing down Cooper Kupp. The receiver topped the 100-yard mark for the eighth time this season in a win over NFC West leader Arizona, scooping 13 catches for 123 yards and a career touchdown. In the first game against Seattle in October, he had seven grabs for 92 yards, his second-best total in nine career meetings.

New Orleans (6-7) in Tampa Bay (10-3)

A crowning glory for TB (the Bucs) and TB (Tom Brady) could come on Sunday. The Bucs are 6-0 at home and own the division by beating the Saints.

Brady’s 0-3 in the regular season against the Saints – he and Tampa defeated them in the playoffs en route to the league title – and New Orleans has won their last six regular season games.

How good was Brady in 2021? At 44, he leads the NFL with 378 completes, 554 tries, 4,134 yards, and 36 touchdowns. The seven-time Super Bowl champion has never topped the league in all four categories in the same season.

Minnesota (6-7) in Chicago (4-9)

The bears, who have won five of the last six meetings, could do without all three coordinators due to COVID-19 protocols.

This could be decided in the trenches. Minnesota leads the league with 41 sacks, although no player has more than six. The Vikings could face an exhausted line as both Chicago start tackles Jason Peters (ankle) and Larry Borom (COVID-19 list) may not be available.

If it gets tight, Chicago has a good chance: Minnesota is the only team in the league without a loss of more than eight points.

Houston (2-11) in Jacksonville (2-11)

Do we really have to say something about this game?

Now that Urban Meyer has short-circuited his NFL coaching career at 13 games, maybe so.



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