An Uneducated Take: Week 13

AFC Wild Card race is in fact, wild

by Three Point Stance Contributor Zack Couch | @ZackCouch Mail@3PSMag.com

12 weeks down, 5 weeks to go, as we make our way to the end of the season.  I went 3-4 this past weekend. Why I thought the Eagles actually had a shot against the Seahawks is beyond me. Season total sits at 30-22.  We got a lot to cover.  Top teams survive and the AFC wild card picture got nuts.

Ravens and Niners March, New Orleans and New England Survive, and Seattle slept
On Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers was destroyed by the 49ers front four and George Kittle returned to the lineup for San Francisco.  If there was a player who was badly missed on that 49ers offense, it was him.  Kittle is the X factor for the 49ers. He blocks, he catches, and he could possibly play decoy to open up the wideouts.  With him back in the lineup, this team is scary scary good again.

Drew Brees and the Saints are amazing but relying on a missed field goal to get a game winner against the Panthers at home is not a great look.  Hopefully they figure it out quick, because they travel to Atlanta on Thanksgiving and I would not be surprised if Atlanta beats them again.

Seattle went into Philly and got a tough road win in a low scoring game.  Philly looked awful, Seattle just looked okay.  This was most likely due to coming off the bye and having to play a one o’clock game on the east coast.  No need to worry for the Seahawks.

New England is slowly turning into the most overrated team in football.  Yes, the defense is legit and amazing, but the offense has no heart.  They shoud have been able to thoroughly beat this Dallas team but end up with a 4 point win in one of the most boring games of the week.  I’m sure Belichick doesn’t care as long as the wins keep piling up.

And that leaves us with the Monday Night Massacre out in Los Angeles.  With the eyes of the entire league on this one, the Ravens marched into the LA Coliseum and beat the living dogshit out of the Rams.  Lamar put up one of the best performances we have seen all year.  The Ravens opened this game up with scoring touchdowns on every possession that Lamar Jackson was on the field. He led 6 touchdown scoring drives in a row.  That is bonkers.  I don’t know if you can question this anymore, but it certainly feels like this Ravens team is the best in football.

AFC Wild Card Madness
With just five games to go in the season, we have 5 teams in striking distance of the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.  It isn’t the craziest scenario, but with most division races seemingly locked up in the AFC, the Wild Card race is the most exciting thing.  Let’s go down the list.

Pittsburgh Steelers 6-5
They got an important win this past weekend to keep themselves in the hunt.  They current hold the 6th spot but the upcoming schedule could give them pause.  They get a home game against a Browns team that outplayed them a couple weeks ago, followed by a road trip to Arizona against a team that can give anybody fits.  Then it’s Bills, Jets, and Ravens.  Pittsburgh could easily go 1-4 down this stretch.

Oakland Raiders 6-5
Jon Gruden and company lost to the Jets on Sunday which opened up a huge can of worms in this hunt (and probably gave KC a sigh of relief). Oakland’s upcoming schedule includes three road games against divisional opponents, and two home games against the Titans and Jaguars.  Now, they could vault themselves out of the Wild Card and into the division conversation with a win next week in Kansas City, but there’s no chance that will happen.

Indianapolis Colts 6-5
After losing to Houston on Thursday night, things are looking bleak for Indianapolis.  They are currently sitting 8th and have losses to the Steelers and Raiders, and their schedule doesn’t get any easier.  They get a Titans team that has won 4 out of its last 5 games next week, followed by a road trip to Tampa Bay and New Orleans, and then get the Panthers and Jaguars to close it out.  By the end of this, Indy could be sitting 8-8 on the outside looking in.

Tennessee Titans 6-5
As good as the Titans have been over the last month, things are about to get very intense.  Tennessee will have to play 5 straight games against teams in the hunt for a playoff spot.  They have a home and away with the Texans, hosting the Saints, and on the road against Indianapolis and Oakland.  If Tennessee could somehow go 3-2 in this stretch with one of those wins being over Oakland, that could probably be enough unless shit really gets crazy with the…

Cleveland Browns 5-6
The Browns probably have the most favorable schedule out of anybody going down the final stretch of the season.  They have a home and away against the Bengals, road games against a Steelers team with QB issues, a Cardinals team that may stop trying, and a home game against the Ravens, whom they already beat on the road earlier in the year.  Will that be the same Ravens team the Browns will see in Week 16? Most likely not, but still something to keep your eyes on.  If Cleveland can find a way to go 4-1 down this stretch, that would most likely put them over the rest of these teams in a tie breaker situation with the best conference record, but let’s not get too insane just yet.

Other factors
The Buffalo Bills sit at 8-3 and have a rough stretch upcoming as their next four games are against teams in the hunt.  A Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas, followed by hosting the Ravens, and then going on the road against Steelers and Patriots before finishing at home against Jets.  I’m fairly certain they go at least 2-3 and locked up a Wild Card spot with a 10-6, but if they go 1-4, a lot of variables could come into play to make things very interesting.

Technically, the Jets, Chargers, and Jaguars are not eliminated, but they all would have to win their next 5 straight to even have a shot and there’s no way in hell that’s happening.

Quick Takes
Washington:  Congrats on winning a home game that nobody wanted to see!

Kareem Hunt:  I’m still a little uncertain how someone who lied about being filmed assaulting a woman is still in the league when Ray Rice never lied, was upfront about everything and is still not playing.

Colin Kaepernick:  He’s never going to get to play in the NFL again and it’s a damn shame.  I would love to see him go to the XFL and light up teams.

Green Bay Packers: As pointed out on Scott Van Pelt’s show Sunday night, Green Bay is 0-4 in games on the West Coast in the last two years.  Whether it’s San Francisco or Seattle, they have no chance.

Tom Brady: You’re really going to complain about that 1 second when your defense is going up against the playcalling of Jason Garrett?!?!

Lamar Jackson: Sure, I mentioned him earlier, but he’s the MVP.

Mason Rudolph: Did he say that? Probably not. Do I believe he says it when surrounded by his white friends? You’re damn right I do.

Look Ahead
Week 13 is loaded with great matchups and I have my eye on seven games again.

Dallas welcomes the Bills to Jerry World on Thanksgiving in what should be a fun affair.  Dallas currently sits as a 7 point favorite and I see Buffalo covering that.

Titans and Colts go head to head in Indianapolis with Indy sitting as low as -2.5.  Indy should win this and cover.

Oakland travels to Kansas City for a matchup that could determine the AFC West winner.  KC sits at -9.5 and I think the Raiders cover.

San Francisco goes on the road against the Ravens.  One o’clock start time on the East Coast for a West Coast team. Ravens sitting at -4 and should cover.

New England is on the road against Houston and sits at -4.  I say Texans win this one outright.

The Seahawks host Minnesota on Monday Night Football and are -3 over the Vikings.  Kirk Cousins and company will figure out a way to get it done and win a close one.

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