In The Backstretch
The horses are in the backstretch positioning themselves as they approach the final turn to the homestretch, and we see some horses beginning to fade while some of the closers are beginning to make their move.
The Atlanta Falcons were once among the leaders in the opening furlong, but they are now in danger of falling out of the money. The Seattle Seahawks are running a bad race so far, but they do have a closing kick that could get them on the board. The Cincinnati Bengals were once in the lead by a couple lengths, but they have faltered some and now can just barely see the tail of the American Pharoah known as New England.
The horses making their moves as the final turn approaches include a couple that may be ready to finish strong and hit the board, while there are others that waited too late and have too many lenghts to make up. The Kansas City Chiefs have hit their stride and may be on pace to pass the Denver Broncos down the stretch. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have waited too late, but they have a chance to sneak into the money at the end. The Dallas Cowboys started strong out of the gate and then almost threw their jockey who had to hang on to get back in the stirrups just in the last 70 yards. Now, even though they are several lengths behind the field, there is a possibility they could lap the three horses they must defeat to get into the next race.
In football terms, there are six weeks left in the season. In the NFC, Carolina is a lock to make the playoffs, while Arizona is almost a lock. Green Bay and Minnesota appear to be in control of making the playoffs, but it is still undecided which team will be the NFC North Champion and which team will be a wild card.
The NFC East and the other wild card are still up in the air. In the NFC East, the New York Giants hold a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, and a two-game lead over Dallas. Any of the four teams could win the weak division.
As for the final wild card berth, Atlanta now leads Seattle and Tampa Bay by just one game. The Falcons are fading fast after a fast start.
In the AFC, New England is the one definite team in the playoffs. The Bills and Jets are now both five games back with six to go, and they are both in danger of falling out of the wild card race.
Cincinnati has now dropped two straight games, and the Bengals need to get back on the winning track before they can be considered a safe bet to win their division. Pittsburgh has the talent to finish 4-2, which would give the Steelers a 10-6 record.
Denver is going to limp home in the final six weeks, and at 8-2, there is no guarantee they would not collapse without Peyton Manning at QB or with an injured Manning that is not a good fit for the Gary Kubiak offense. Kansas City has hit their stride, and the Chiefs detroyed Denver a couple weeks ago. K-C could finish 10-6, and Denver could fall to 9-7, but it is still a long shot proposition.
The South is now a three-team race to 9-7 or even 8-8. Indianapolis has begun to show signs of life again, but Houston is playing its best ball of the year now as well. Jacksonville is just a game back and is just an upset or two away from being able to finish 9-7.
Here is how the playoffs would look if the season ends today.
|4||N. Y. Giants|
Here is the consensus of the PiRates as to how the teams will finish.
|Wildcard Playoff Round|
|Kansas City over Pittsburgh|
|Indianapolis over Denver|
|Green Bay over Atlanta|
|Minnesota over Philadelphia|
|Divisional Playoff Round|
|New England over Indianapolis|
|Kansas City over Cincinnati|
|Carolina over Minnesota|
|Arizona over Green Bay|
|Conference Championship Round|
|New England over Kansas City|
|Arizona over Carolina|
|Super Bowl 50|
|Arizona over New England|
This Week’s Ratings
|Current NFL PiRate Ratings|
|N F C|
|A F C|
|N. Y. Jets||99.3||99.6||98.7||99.2||5-5-0||234||208|
|This Week’s Games|
|Date of Games:||November 26-30|