The best part about seeing your team win in dramatic fashion against a division rival is the fact that all of the other teams in playoff contention would have seen it too. By beating the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday, the Kansas City Chiefs increased the pressure on the New England Patriots and Tennesse Titans. And not even a Bill Belichick-led team could handle the heat of the AFC playoff race.
Things are getting pretty wild out there at the moment — and in the closing weeks of the season, it seems COVID will have a part to play. With all of this going on, all that matters is wins — which is why we haven’t punished the Green Bay Packers for barely beating the Baltimore Ravens’ backups.
This week’s voters were Mark Gunnels, Talon Graff, Rocky Magaña, Jared Sapp, Bryan Stewart, Stephen Serda, Kristian Gumminger, Ethan Willinger and myself.
1. Green Bay Packers (1st)
They basically played an exact copy of the game the Chiefs played against the Ravens — only the Ravens didn’t get away with it this time.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (4th)
Back where they started the year: in second place.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2nd)
Must. Not. Laugh. Too. Much. At. Tom. Brady.
4. Dallas Cowboys (7th)
I’d like to see the Chiefs and Cowboys face each other in the Super Bowl — but only if both teams play to their full potential. That would be soooooo much fun.
5. Los Angeles Rams (6th)
Cooper Kupp is a top ____ receiver in the NFL?
6. New England Patriots (5th)
From the No. 1 seed to looking over their shoulders for the division. The Patriots are far from a shoo-in for the playoffs.
7. Arizona Cardinals (3rd)
The Hopkins injury could completely derail their season. That still isn’t an excuse for losing to the Lions.
8. Buffalo Bills (9th)
The Bills feel like a team that will be a lot better in the playoffs.
9. Indianapolis Colts (11th)
Jonathan Taylor should be the MVP. I will die on this hill.
10. San Francisco 49ers (13th)
On Thursday night, we’re all 49ers fans.
11. Los Angeles Chargers (8th)
People talk about Brandon Staley the way they should be talking about Matt LaFleur.
12. Tennessee Titans (10th)
I was ready to run through the TV if the referees had spotted that last play for a first down.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (14th)
Look at them sitting atop the AFC North!
14. Baltimore Ravens (12th)
Was Harbaugh right or wrong to go for two points? Answers in the comments.
15. Cleveland Browns (15th)
2021 will go down as the what-might-have-been year.
16. New Orleans Saints (22nd) | This week’s high riser
The 2021 Saints are the strangest team in the history of the NFL. They’re impossible to work out.
17. Minnesota Vikings (17th)
The Kirik Cousins experience is something else.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (18th)
I felt so wrong cheering on the Steelers — but desperate times call for desperate measures.
19. Miami Dolphins (16th)
The Dolphins face the Saints, Titans and Patriots in the next three weeks. How many of those will they need to win? At least two — but most likely all three.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (25th)
They made very hard work of a depleted Browns team. Not impressed.
21. Seattle Seahawks (23rd)
The Seahawks always seem to struggle against the Rams.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (21st)
This team simply won’t die.
23. Denver Broncos (20th)
A scary-looking injury for Teddy Bridgewater. For his own sake, they should consider shutting him down for the year.
24. Washington Football Team (19th) | This week’s big faller
The season is over for them. Their quarterback situation will be something to watch this offseason.
25. Atlanta Falcons (24th)
Stick a fork in them — they're done.
26. Carolina Panthers (27th)
Pete Sweeney and I were so wrong about this team early on. They’re bad.
27. Chicago Bears (26th)
I’m actually mad that this team hasn’t fallen further.
28. New York Giants (28th)
A word for creators and graphic designers: using Mike Glennon’s neck for content has been done way too many times. Do better.
29. Detroit Lions (29th)
They simply have to be everyone’s second-favorite team. Keep moving on up, Detroit.
30. Houston Texans (31st)
How lucky are the Colts and Titans with their divisional opponents?
31. New York Jets (30th)
For a minute there, it looked as if the Jets would be the team that would stop one of the NFL’s hottest teams.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32nd)
Lesson from this season: don’t kick your players, Urban.