Week 13 provided further clarity in playoff races, as it should, and there are now only four weeks left of the regular season. I think that week 13 spelled the end of legitimate playoff hopes for the Chargers, who moved to 5-7. It’s pretty hard to believe that a team that has lost four of their past five is just now bidding their playoff hopes adieu, but that is the state of the AFC wildcard race. The Chargers are almost certainly going to lose at Denver, which would be an eighth loss, and they’ll likely lose at least one of their other three games (Giants, Raiders, Chiefs). They have lose a lot of close games, which is a shame.

The New York Jets also moved to 5-7 with another disgusting loss, their third straight, and despite a pretty easy schedule I think it’s time to eliminate them as well. It’s not just that they will probably lose at Carolina (an eighth loss) and against Miami, Oakland, or Cleveland, but it’s that they have been playing dreadfully. In their last five games, which includes four losses and a crazy win over the Saints, the Jets have been outscored 158-59. In those FIVE GAMES, quarterback Geno Smith has a total of 530 passing yards. That is an average of 106 per game. He has QBR’s (on a scale of 100) in that span of 4.1, 14.8, 0.7, 3.8, 1.6. This might be the worst five game stretch of all time.

Also, bye bye Rams, who were beaten in San Francisco and went to 5-7. They are at the point that even if they won out they wouldn’t have a shot at the playoffs, so they are obviously out.

My Eliminated Teams (race for #1 pick):
Houston Texans (2-10)
Atlanta Falcons (3-9)
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)
Tampa Bay Buccaners (3-9)
Washington Redskins (3-9)
Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1)
Oakland Raiders (4-8)
Cleveland Browns (4-8)
Buffalo Bills (4-8)
St. Louis Rams (5-7)
New York Giants (5-7)
San Diego Chargers (5-7)
New York Jets (5-7)

We’re edging closer to half of the teams eliminated, but check out how close the race for the #1 seed it. The Falcons, Jaguars, and Vikings, three of the four teams with two wins coming into last week, all won, and now there is a jumble of teams with 3 wins. The Texans are the favorite for the #1 pick, but they do play Jacksonville this week, and if they win it will truly be a mess.

Other AFC #6 Stuff:

I’m leaving the Titans in for another week, because, while they’ll lose in Denver, they could probably run the table after that and be 8-8, where they could sneak into the playoffs with tiebreakers.

The Steelers also have a great shot at sneaking into the playoffs at 5-7, because they have a head to head game against the Dolphins, one of their main competition in the race, at home, followed by three straight winnable games. A 9-7 record seems doable.

The Dolphins and Ravens, both 6-6 and coming off wins, have to be considered the favorite for the #6 seeds simply because of their slightly superior records. And, based off the way the Dolphins played on Sunday and their easier schedule (the Ravens have a really tough schedule), I would consider them favorites, but just barely.

So there are now really only three teams in this race, or possibly four, so we have learned a lot since I blogged about the nine teams with a shot two weeks ago.

My picks:

I had a pretty solid week, with two games within two points of perfect (my Giants-Redskins prediction was perfect). I was torn with what to do with the Eagles-Cardinals game. When I posted the spread, it was Eagles -3, but it ended at 3.5. I picked the Cardinals to cover, and the Eagles ended up winning by 3, so officially the Cardinals covered but I’m giving them a push.

I went an impressive (for me at least) 12-4 straight up, improving to 114-76-2
My 10-5-1 record against the spread was my best in recent memory, as I improved to 81-104-7
And then there is over/under, which basically eliminates all of my success this week with a 4-12 (97-93-2)

The Week 5 Power Rankings will be coming tomorrow (sorry, a little late)

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