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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Football Fanatics

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As long as it seems for football fans to wait for their beloved sport to start, fans always wait for football season, and it is over before they realize it. This season is no exception as 13 weeks of the 17-week regular season are already completed. With the playoffs approaching quickly, which teams are in and which teams are out?
AFC East
While the AFC East is led by the New England Patriots (9-3), the Miami Dolphins (7-5) have a shot at the sixth seed with the Buffalo Bills (7-5) following close behind. Despite having the same record, the Bills’ chance of making the playoffs is weak at best after splitting the conference matchup against the Dolphins. The Dolphins also hold a better conference record than the Bills, leaving Miami ahead in a tie-breaker situation.
AFC North
The race in the AFC North is even closer as the Cincinnati Bengals (8-3) are holding a close lead over the Baltimore Ravens (7-5), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) and Cleveland Browns (7-5). The Ravens, Steelers and Browns may all have the same record, but the Browns are not in the hunt for a playoff seed; meanwhile the Steelers and Ravens are barely holding onto hope for the playoffs.
AFC South
The Indianapolis Colts (8-4) are the only team in their division to have a chance at the playoffs, but they are still the projected fourth seed. Under the leadership of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts will most likely win their division and take the fourth seed. The Houston Texans (6-6) would have to finish the season with a four-game winning streak, while the Colts slump, just to make the playoffs. The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars are not contenders as they share a mere 2-10 record.
AFC West
Perhaps the closest race in the AFC conference is the AFC West. The Denver Broncos (9-3) have returned to their former glory after the Superbowl loss last season and have taken the first place spot in the division. However, the San Diego Chargers (8-4) and the Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) are close contenders with a shot at making it past the first round. Last, as tradition predicted, the Oakland Raiders (1-11) – let’s just say Raider fans won’t be seeing the playoffs anytime soon.
NFC East
In one of the closest races in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles (9-3) have a half-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys (9-4) after the Thanksgiving Day division matchup. The division rivals will have one more season matchup that could determine the Cowboys’ chance at the postseason. However, both teams will have to face difficult opponents as the Eagles will face the Seattle Seahawks (8-4) this Sunday and the Cowboys will face the Colts next week. The outcomes of the next two weeks will determine the seed standings for the NFC East, but this could be the first playoff appearance the Cowboys have seen in 5 years.
NFC North
The NFC North has not been determined just yet. Currently, the Green Bay Packers (9-3) lead the division followed by the Detroit Lions (8-4). The Packers currently hold the second seed, but the last few weeks of the season could change that. The Lions are holding on in the hunt for the sixth seed while the Minnesota Vikings (5-7) are losing sight of the playoffs. Both teams have a much simpler schedule for the end of the season, until they face each other.
NFC South
In what might be the worst performing division in the NFL, the NFC South is topped by the Atlanta Falcons (5-7). While the Falcons hold the fourth seed, they have the worst overall record for a team currently holding a playoff seed. The New Orleans Saints (5-7) hold the same record and could easily take the division in the final weeks of the season, but the Carolina Panthers (3-8) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) have no chance.
NFC West
With three possible seed holding teams, the NFC West is in a close race. The Arizona Cardinals (9-3) have the number one seed for the playoffs while the Seahawks (8-4) are currently holding onto the sixth seed. However, the San Francisco 49ers (7-5) have remained in the hunt for a possible playoff seed, but they will also have to face three playoff-bound teams after they face the Raiders this week.
Overall, the NFL is seeing a lot of teams returning to the playoffs from last year. But, there are also a few surprises, including the Cowboys actually having a winning season. No one other than Cardinals fans could have seen the Arizona Cardinals being the best team in the NFL this year while the returning Superbowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks, struggle to return to the playoffs. The Broncos weren’t going to give up their hunt for a ring. As in all good seasons, the playoffs may not be clinched until week 17.

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