We are currently 13 weeks (12 games) into the 2018 NFL season. With 4 weeks left, there are still quite a few questions that need to be answered. Who finishes strong? Who fades? Does anyone make a late push to surprise everyone? We will see the playoff picture take shape slowly each week going forward. We’ll also see players emerge in the MVP race. In my opinion, it’s still wide open with 6 valid candidates and a couple dark horses. Buckle up down the stretch, folks.
In the AFC, the current division leaders are the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs. The Pats, it would seem, should cruise to another division title. In the North, the Steelers and their very suspect defense, are being chased by the Baltimore Ravens. The Texans are riding a 9 game winning streak right now with no sign of slowing down. Out in the West, the we should see a tight race with the Los Angeles Chargers chasing the Chiefs. The Chargers are giving the Chiefs no breathing room while they attempt to re-establish their running game after the Kareem Hunt fiasco. They have an explosive offense, but the running game was out of sync last week.
As for the AFC Wild Card, the Chargers and Ravens are currently holding those spots. The Chargers are all but mathematically in as long as they don’t collapse. There are 4 teams sitting at 6-6 that need a late push to try and knock the Ravens out. The Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and Tennessee Titans will all be looking to do exactly that. The next 4 weeks should provide us with some great football as this unfolds.
The NFC has its share of races as well. Current division leaders are the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and the Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys will be in a fight with both the Eagles and the Redskins for division dominance. The Eagles have seemed out of sync all season. Super Bowl hangover? The Redskins are down to their 3rd QB. Dallas just needs to stay focused and keep winning. The Bears have a small cushion in the North while the Saints and Rams are on cruise control in their respective divisions. The Rams have already clinched the West and now look to lock up home field advantage.
The NFC Wild Card has us looking at the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have been hot and cold all season. They look like a playoff team one week, then a rebuilding team the next. The Seahawks have been more consistent of late though. With 3 teams right behind them at 6-6, they’ll need consistency over the next 4 weeks. The Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins are all looking to disrupt the playoff picture and trying to slide into one of the spots. I don’t see it happening for Washington though, not with their injuries. The Eagles’ best bet may be to overtake the Cowboys and win the division.
In the MVP race, I see 6 players that stand out. Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Jared Goff, Philip Rivers, Todd Gurley, and James Conner. Each of these players have been vital to their team’s success and have put up astounding numbers. If I had to pick one today, it would be Todd Gurley, with Mahomes, Rivers, and Brees right behind him. You can’t count out Conner and Goff though. What happens over the next 4 weeks could throw the proverbial wrench into this whole race. I also see 2 rookies who are making a splash and may get some votes. Saquon Barkley and Philip Lindsay are both putting up incredible numbers. I highly doubt they have a chance to win, but the future is bright for these guys.
Each year, it seems the football season goes by too fast. The college game is already heading into bowl season while we’re preparing for the playoffs in the NFL. As we near the end, it’s best to just make sure we can watch as much of it as possible. Once the clock runs out in the Super Bowl, we have to wait almost 7 months to enjoy football again. Yes, I know, that’s really sad.