Houston has led the division all season, but is in the midst of a major swoon,Authentic Jerseys For Sale
, its offense unreliable, its defense banged-up. Indianapolis has Andrew Luck back, and he could be a difference maker, but losing its best defender, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson to a four-game suspension, is damaging to a mediocre unit.
But give Detroit its due: No team has been more impressive in close games, Matthew Stafford is having his best season,NFL Jerseys Discount
, and its plus-6 turnover margin is among the NFL leaders.
As for the rest, well, the scramble is on. Here's what's ahead in the frantic final four weeks of an already unpredictable season:
"We'll let other people talk about those kinds of things," coach Jason Garrett says. "The best thing this team has done is focus. We focus on one opponent at a time. We focus on one day's preparation at a time. We'll continue to do that."
And down the stretch they come.
Let's pencil in the Cowboys as the top seed, then sit back and watch an intriguing race for the other bye between the Seahawks and Lions.
The Cowboys already are in the playoffs. The Patriots and Seahawks almost certainly will qualify soon, too. Believe it or not, Raiders fans,China NFL Jerseys
, your team is about to end its 13-season drought.
Whoever wins the West almost certainly will have a first-round bye, too. After the Chiefs' win Thursday night and their sweep of Oakland — plus a win over Denver in their pocket — they hold most of the cards in the division.
The wild-card race is such a jumble that diving deep into tiebreakers on Jan. 1 might be needed to settle things. The Giants (8-4) have the inside track, but also a difficult schedule (Cowboys, Lions, Redskins, Eagles) and a major injury with Jason Pierre-Paul done for 2016.
The other two divisions are murky, with the South a tossup.
As for dropping the hammer, that's the operating standard for the North, best personified by the Ravens and Steelers. Both are 7-5, both are hitting stride, and both face off Christmas night. Can't wait.
Detroit (8-4) almost is as much a surprise as Dallas, but it hasn't yet convinced folks it will win the North. Its final three games are at the Giants and Cowboys, then hosting the Packers (6-6) on New Year's Day. Green Bay won the first meeting, and Aaron Rodgers has been playing lights-out football for weeks.
The NFL sure must like a "the more the merrier" idea.
Dallas has so separated itself from the rest of the conference that not only can it secure the East title with a win at the Giants on Sunday night, it also can nail down home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if Detroit and Seattle lose.
"This is a four-game playoff" to get to the playoffs, Texans coach Bill O'Brien says.
Atlanta (7-5) hadn't been looking in the rearview mirror since it took hold of the South at 4-1. Now it has been caught by Tampa Bay, and the Falcons have thrown away some games, making everyone wonder how much staying power they have.
The Packers, who must navigate through three divisional games to finish the schedule after hosting Seattle on Sunday, look more like a wild-card chaser.
Tennessee, a team to watch out for in 2017, must play Denver and Kansas City before finishing with the Jaguars and Texans.
The good news for the Seahawks is their offense,Cheap NFL Jerseys China
, while streaky, has playmakers such as Russell Wilson — also in the midst of an MVP-caliber year — Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin, plus, at last, a threat at running back with Thomas Rawls' return to the lineup.
It would seem that the wild cards will come out of the West, by far the best division in football. Whether it's Denver,Cheap Jerseys China
, Kansas City or Oakland, those teams will provide quite a test for the North or South winner in the first round of the postseason.
Defending Super Bowl champ Denver (8-4) has the toughest road with games against Tennessee, New England, Kansas City and Oakland.
Houston, Indy and Tennessee all are 6-6. Will 8-8 be good enough to sneak off with the South — and then get hammered by a wild-card team?
They do, however, have a huge edge in the remaining schedule. While they face the Rams, 49ers, Panthers and Saints (total record: 14-34), Tampa gets New Orleans twice, Carolina — and Dallas.
And the Seahawks have little reason to look behind them in the West.
"It just shows how good our division is," Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says. "I think it's a cool thing