In the Home Stretch!

At the beginning of the NFL season I wrote an article about the upcoming season and it can be found here. As you can see by some of my predictions that the season has to be played and not just predicted. Let’s take a look at some of the teams fighting for playoff contention. I also wanted to examine some of the breakout players and players competing in the MVP race.

In the NFC East the division will come down to the last week. The Cowboys lead the division, but the Eagles are right behind them. It is unlikely that either team will have a shot at the Wildcard this year. In the NFC North the Vikings and Packers are at the top and even the team the does not win the division will have a decent shot at a Wildcard position. The Bears are 6-6 and would have to win out to have a shot and it would still be unlikely. The NFC South has already been won by the Saints. Every other team in the division currently has a losing record. The NFC West has two powerhouses with the Seahawks and 49ers. One of those teams will win the division and the other will most likely take the wildcard. The Rams lag 3 games behind the Seahawks for a playoff position. So much for my prediction of Bears vs. Rams for the NFC title game!

There is no surprise that the Patriots lead the AFC East, but it is somewhat surprising that the Bills are currently 9-3 and playing very good football. The AFC North is being led by the Ravens with the Steelers and Browns playing mediocre football. The AFC South is another mediocre division currently being led by Houston but it would not surprise me to see the Colts or the Titans sneak in and take the division. In the AFC West, the Chiefs are currently holding a one game lead over the Raiders. I predicted the Patriots playing the Chiefs in the title game and that mat happen, however, the Ravens are playing very good football right now and will be hard to beat. Here is a nice article explaining the playoff scenarios and how each team stacks up.

The NFL MVP race and breakout players can be discussed in the same paragraph because the main one is in both categories! You might have predicted Lamar Jackson breaking out and having a nice year, but would you have said he would be dominating the competition? Lamar has accomplished some great feats already this year and he was even given a great honor on Madden football! Lamar is leading the race over players like Russell Wilson, McCaffrey, and Michael Thomas. When the season is over we will see some numbers from these players that we may not have seen before. Thomas could have the most receptions of all-time and McCaffrey could end up with 2,500 all purpose yards! Here is a great article highlighting the MVP race.

Every year predictions are made and some are correct and some are way off. This year is no different as a few teams have faded like the Bears and Rams, while a few teams have surprised like the Bills and Packers. There is still a quarter of the season to play so we could still have a shakeup in the standings. All it takes is a major injury and teams can fall apart. I also think the MVP race has time to change, but it is a two horse race between Lamar and Russell Wilson. I know that the next month will be fun to watch as the season finishes up and the playoffs get set!

—Victor Mandalawi