Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are on their way to another Super Bowl championship after demoralizing the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football.
This is not an exaggeration or a knee-jerk reaction.
They thumped the team with the best record in the conference, 42-14, and could conceivably win the rest of their remaining games. Never mind their 24.0 PPG average margin of victory since a one-point road loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6.
New England will welcome the San Francisco 49ers—who have proved themselves to be mortal with a loss and a tie to the St. Louis Rams, whom New England throttled in London—in Week 15. Then it visits the 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars and hosts the 5-8 Miami Dolphins.
If the Texans lose to the Minnesota Vikings at home or drop one of their two remaining games against the Indianapolis Colts, and New England wins out, the Patriots will be the first seed in the AFC. On the other side of things, the Atlanta Falcons—with all of their recent woes—have all but locked up the No. 1 seed. The Green Bay Packers can win out against the Chicago Bears (road), Tennessee Titans (home) and Minnesota Vikings (road), which would afford them the No. 2 seed.
Two teams that could stumble in the crowded NFC playoff picture are the Bears and 49ers. Both are projected to lose in Week 15, and San Francisco has to go to Seattle after that. That tie with the Rams will come back to bite the 49ers.
As a result of Seattle’s expected 11-5 record with upcoming matchups against the Buffalo Bills on the road and 49ers and Rams at home, the Seahawks would take the NFC West and secure the No. 4 seed.
Your Super Bowl champion New York Giants would hold things down at No. 3.
Before getting into predicting playoff matchups, here are the expected conference standings and records heading into Week 15.
1. New England Patriots (13-3)
2. Houston Texans (13-3)
3. Denver Broncos (12-4)
4. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
5. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
1. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (12-4)
3. New York Giants (11-5)
4. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
5. San Francisco 49ers (10-5-1)
6. Washington Redskins (10-6)