On the Bubble
Listed below are the top teams in each conference that are on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. The number attached is their current seeding.
7. Baltimore Ravens (8-7)
For now, the defending Super Bowl champions are on the outside looking in terms of the playoffs thanks to their 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots. The Ravens find themselves in a three-way tie with the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers and for now, it is advantage Miami.
What will it take for the defending champs to get back to the playoffs? A win over the Bengals combined with losses by either the Chargers or Dolphins will get the job done.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Bengals (10-5)
8. San Diego Chargers (8-7)
Quarterback Philip Rivers wasn’t really that sharp on the team’s 26-13 win over the Oakland Raiders, completing just 19 of 29 passes for 201 yards and a score. The 10-year pro also had two of the team’s three turnovers on Sunday. But the Chargers’ defense limited Oakland to 265 total yards and one touchdown as Mike McCoy’s team won its third in a row. The Bolts can reach the playoffs next week by beating the Kansas City Chiefs combined with losses by the Dolphins and Ravens.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Chiefs (11-4)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
Four weeks into the season, the winless Steelers were off to their worst start since 1968. With one week to go in 2013, Mike Tomlin’s club still has a chance to become only the second team in NFL history to overcome a 0-4 start and reach the playoffs. Pittsburgh needs a win over the Cleveland Browns and losses by the Dolphins, Chargers and Ravens.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Browns (4-11)
7. Arizona Cardinals (10-5)
Bruce Arians has gone from magical to mystical as the Cardinals ended the Seattle Seahawks’ 14-game home winning streak courtesy of a stunning 17-10 victory. This despite the fact that veteran quarterback Carson Palmer threw four interceptions in the win. If the Cards can defeat the San Francisco 49ers next week, it would give the franchise 11 wins for the first time since 1975. And a win next Sunday coupled with a New Orleans Saints’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cards are in the playoffs. Wow!
Remaining Schedule: vs. 49ers (11-4)
8. Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
For those who doubt quarterback Tony Romo’s ability in the clutch, he came up big on Sunday when he had to against the Washington Redskins. He drove his Cowboys 87 yards in nine plays and his 10-yard touchdown pass to running back DeMarco Murray with 1:08 to play (and subsequent PAT) gave Jason Garrett’s team a 24-23 win. As we know, Dallas can clinch the NFC East this Sunday evening with a win at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. But who will be the Cowboys’ quarterback that night? Stay tuned.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Eagles (9-6)
9. Green Bay Packers (7-7-1)
After a pair of one-point wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy’s club came up seven points short of the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, 38-31. But thanks to losses by both the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions on Sunday, the Packers will be playing a winner-take-all game for the NFC North title next Sunday at Soldier Field. Let the week-long debate on who the starting quarterback will be begin.
Remaining Schedule: at Bears (8-7)