From the Press Box: Snowpacolypse, Chiefs Collapse and Playoff Outlook

Garda gets off hs lazy rear-end and gets back to work between Rutgers basketball games to write up some NFL thoughts including the shifting Jets-Bills game, the Chiefs bein' the Chiefs as well as thoughts on the playoff pictures of both conferences.

Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo—Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports.

Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo—Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports.

We’ve got a bonus Monday night game, although given that the Buffalo Bills are imploding and the New York Jets are … well, the New York Jets, it might not be a bonus.

That said, another football game on Monday is fun, so we’ll take it, even if watching these two teams battle it out under four feet of snow would have been better. It’s a game that is hard to predict as the Jets looked much better than normal against the Pittsburgh Steelers before their bye, while the Bills have been stumbling with two losses in a row.

Even beyond that, we know how unpredictable the NFL is right now. If we were unsure, it was certainly driven home by Thursday night’s Oakland Raiders-Kansas City game.

Did anyone think that the Raiders had it in them to beat the Chiefs? Then again, did anyone trust the Chiefs? While they have been successful for most of the last two years, it’s been really hard to take them seriously as contenders.

Games like this are why. Sure, every team has a down week and somebody, somewhere was probably going to lose to the Raiders. But good teams lose to good teams and contenders don’t lose to team like the Raiders.

Kansas City’s defense has been shaky and aside from Jamaal Charles, offensively they don’t have much to offer either. So it shouldn’t shock us that they struggle from time to time.

Yet being beaten by Oakland—and almost worse, falling behind and being unable to overcome a last minute Raiders surge—is a terrible sign.

This does make things really interesting in terms of the playoff race. Right now, the Chiefs have a hold on the sixth and final playoff spot, but a loss to the Raiders brings four teams within a game (the Browns, Dolphins, Chargers and Ravens) and two teams within two games (Texans and Bills).

With games against the Broncos and Cardinals in the next two weeks and the Steelers and Chargers at the end of the regular season, there is a very good chance that the Chiefs will drop another game at least.

Which makes the hold they have on the sixth spot rather tenuous.

The NFC is a tad less chaotic right now, but that will change by the end of the weekend. The Cowboys and Packers have the fifth and sixth playoff spots, but the 49ers and Seahawks are just a game back. Since they play each other twice over the next four weeks, one of them will drop off.

The Saints, Bears, Vikings and Rams are all two games out, but it’s possible one of them gets hot and jumps into the fray.

Most aggravating is the very real possibility that we will have a sub-.500 team in the playoffs this year, for the first time since the Seahawks did in 2010.

I am a big proponent of not breaking something that isn’t already broken when it comes to the playoffs.  Still, you can’t help but dislike the idea of a losing team in the playoffs.

Nobody wants the NFL to be the NHL or NBA, but maybe those two leagues have the right idea. Then again, a losing team can still make the playoffs if the rest of the teams suck enough.

Maybe there isn’t a solution, or at least one that won’t break a process, which works well as it is.

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Comments (3)

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Tundraboy's picture

November 21, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Like things just as it is. Competition among divisional rivals makes games relevant for nearly all teams . Look at Giants snd Cowboys game this week. Even though they are probably out of it Giants fans will still watch and players will still have pride to play for.

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joe packer's picture

November 21, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Everybody has an opinion on the playoff picture.

I have three:

A) no teams under 500 get in the playoffs unless there are no 500+ teams available. If a division can't field a winning team, the next wild card team falls in. Then the playoff matches simply follow seeding.

B) there are no longer multiple games within a division (save occasional - and random - redundancies to make the math work.) Thus, the divisions become organizational, rather than regional. And there is a better opportunity for teams to play against equal competition.

C) and regardless, the Bears still suck.

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NewNikeShoes's picture

November 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm

A) & B)
Some of the best things in football are divisional rivalries. Winning the division is what matters the most, as then there is no point to beating a divisional rival. Just think of Week 17, the biggest reason why that was a good game was because it a division rivalry fought out to the last second.

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