By Derek Lofland.
The playoff picture in the NFC is starting to take hold, but the AFC is an absolute mess with two teams sitting at 8-6 and six teams at 7-7.
The AFC is going to go down to the wire with multiple tiebreakers probably needed to settle the playoff spots.
My season record is 145-79.
As always, here is the playoff picture as I see it:
Clinched: Indianapolis Colts (AFC South Champions, No. 1 Seed), San Diego Chargers (AFC West), New Orleans Saints (NFC South Champions, First Round Bye), Minnesota Vikings (NFC North), Arizona Cardinals (NFC West), Philadelphia Eagles (Wild Card).
1) San Diego Chargers (11-3) at Tennessee Titans (7-7)
The Chargers are 17-0 in December since QB Philip Rivers became the starter in 2006. I see no reason to pick against them now. The Titans pose an interesting matchup with RB Chris Johnson, but they just do not stop the pass very well, and there is no reason to think a poor pass defense can keep the Titans in this game. It has been a magical turnaround, going 7-1 after a 0-6 start, but the Titans' playoff hopes end this Friday night.
Winner: San Diego
2) Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
If the Steelers lose, they are all but eliminated from playoff contention. If the Ravens win, they should be in pretty good shape at 9-6 with a final game at the Oakland Raiders if they still need to clinch in Week 17.
I trust the Steelers more. They showed me something when they won a close game at home against a playoff-bound Packers squad, while the Ravens have two straight wins courtesy of the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. These teams play it close, and the Steelers are hurting, but I like the World Champions to make one last stand at home.