Week 14 was absolutely bananas. I mean just ridiculous. Nine games were decided by a touchdown or less. NINE. The Rams lost, Steelers lost, Texans lost and the Patriots lost on one of the craziest finishes I’ve ever seen.
Number Five – Los Angeles Chargers
This season is kind of tough luck for the Chargers. Sitting at 10-3, they are, record-wise, the second best team in the AFC. The only problem is the best team is in their division.
The Chargers held off a late Bengals surge to win 26-21. Austin Ekeler held his own in the continued absence of Melvin Gordon with 66 rushing yards on 15 carries. It’s hard to say how effective Melvin Gordon will be once he gets back, possibly as soon as tonight, because a lengthy knee injury can never be a good thing for a running back.
Now, the tough luck they’ve been dealt is in their hands. In one of the biggest regular season games this year, it’s a must-win for LA against the Chiefs if they want to win the division.
Number Four – Los Angeles Rams
The normally potent offense of the Rams was completely shut down by the Bears Sunday night.
Jared Goff looked horrible throwing four picks while Todd Gurley didn’t look much better with 28 yards on 11 carries. The defense looked good against a Top 10 scoring offense but the offense just couldn’t get anything going. Mark that as something I didn’t expect to be saying this season.
Despite the loss, the Rams are actually in a favorable situation, rather than a dire one. They close the season with the Eagles, Cardinals, and Niners. They’d have to lose at least two of those for Chicago to have a chance at taking a top-two seed.
However, looking up, the Rams have the same record as the Saints, who close with two games against Carolina and one against the Steelers. While I think it’s safe to bet these two teams will finish at the top of the NFC, the team that gets home-field is still in the air.
Number Three – Chicago Bears
The best run defense in the NFL shut down the best running back in the NFL.
I mentioned how much the Rams offense struggled against the Bears defense, but the same could be said on the flip side with Chicago’s offense. Trubisky didn’t look much better than Goff in throwing three picks. Fresh off an injury, it shouldn’t be anything too concerning.
With some help from the Seahawks, the Bears are now sitting really pretty atop of the division. This is so bizarre to think, but here we go: With a win over the Packers this week, the Chicago Bears will clinch the NFC North.
Number Two – New Orleans Saints
The Saints avoided a rather embarrassing loss to the Bucs by putting together a big 17-point fourth quarter.
The Brees to Michael Thomas connection quickly made a comeback with Thomas getting 98 yards on 11 receptions. Aside from that, the Saints again had a less-than-spectacular offensive game with 298 yards of total offense against a poor Bucs defense.
The Saints have a tough way to close out their season with Carolina twice and Pittsburgh in between. (See above if you missed the playoff implications of that) Carolina is a middle-of-the-pack defensive team so the Saints will want to get back to their offensive ways.
Number One – Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs got a lot of help in Week 14 with the Patriots, Texans, and Steelers all losing. About the only team left on their heels is in their own division, and they’ve got a chance to kick them off tonight.
The Chiefs overtime win over Baltimore was very impressive. They used the last four minutes of regulation to tie the game with a touchdown, get a strip sack that put them in good field position, and Harrison Butker missed a game-winner that he probably makes 7 or 8 times out of 10.
And oh yeah, Patrick Mahomes is really good at football. No-look passes, across-the-body passes, he does it all. He’s still, at this moment, my easy pick for MVP.
I’ve already alluded to it, but their game this week (which is about an hour away from the moment I’m writing this) can really solidify themselves as the top seed in the AFC, as well as clinch the AFC West. This isn’t a must-win like it is for the Chargers, and I think that goes in KC’s advantage column.