Although there were no teams that clinched playoff berths after the games of week 14, we did see a few teams emerge as playoff bound squads and saw others fade away. Since the playoff picture continues to become clearer after each week, it’s impossible not to want to look ahead and see where these teams may end up come playoff time. That’s why, even though it’s only Tuesday, I’m going to go ahead and take a quick look at next week’s match-ups to get a glimpse of which teams we might see battle it out for the Super Bowl title.
New York Giants 8-5 at Atlanta Falcons 11-2
One of the biggest games of the week will be going down in Atlanta as two divisional leaders go head on in week 15. Of course, the Falcons have already clinched the South, but they still have home field to play for, whereas the Giants are trying to fend off contenders, Dallas and Washington, both of which are just a game back in the East. The Giants looked suburb in their dismantling of the Saints this week, while the Falcons looked susceptible in their loss to Carolina. Since the Giants are such an unpredictable team and the Falcons haven’t lost two in a row all season, I like Atlanta at first glance. The loss for New York would certainly shake things up in the East.
Green Bay Packers 9-4 at Chicago Bears 8-5
I’ve called the Bears a team built on smoke and mirrors all season and that reality is finally starting to reveal itself as they’ve encountered tough opponents. Even at home, things won’t be easy for them against a hot Packers team that seems to be hitting their stride at the right time. Look for Green Bay to distance themselves from the Bears and clinch the North in the coming week, putting the Bears on the ropes in the process. I think Chicago could very well miss out on a playoff spot this season.
Denver Broncos 10-3 at Baltimore Ravens 9-4
With the way the Broncos are playing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come from behind and clinch the top spot in the entire AFC. This team has it all; a tenacious defense, a solid offense and the experienced, MVP quarterback leading the way. Although, I do think the Ravens will win the AFC North, it looks like they’ll be limping into the playoffs because I don’t see them winning this week, which would mean three straight losses for Baltimore.
Indianapolis Colts 9-4 at Houston Texans 11-2
The Colts have been the surprise, feel-good team of the season, led by rookie quarterback and top pick Andrew Luck. They appear to be a lock for an AFC wild card spot, but expect Houston to bounce back from last week’s embarrassing defeat against New England and stick it to the Colts in their week 15 meeting. Despite playing a bad game this week, they are still the most balanced and overall solid team in the AFC on both sides of the ball (possibly besides the Broncos).
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-6 at Dallas Cowboys 7-6
Both of these teams are currently on the outside looking in and desperately need a win this week to stay in the hunt. Big Ben returned to the Steelers starting lineup this week only to lose in a crucial game, while the Cowboys snatched a win away from the Bengals in the fourth quarter. I’m not so certain Dallas will make the playoffs, but I do see the Boys winning this week at home against the banged up Steelers, which will likely miss out on a chance at the postseason this year.