AFC EAST. Alright! Last week before playoffs and some games actually still mean something. Like New England holding on to the one seed. Which will happen. Like Buffalo needing all kinds of help and a win. Which will not happen. There are two other teams in this division whose games have no meaning to their season outcome other than draft position. The Dolphins need a lot of offensive help and a healthy Tannehill to have any chance at relevance next year. The Jets are interesting only because they were actually competitive in a year we all thought that 0-16 was a legitimate possibility. They have a foundation to build off of at the very least.
AFC NORTH. Pittsburgh should seriously consider just sitting everyone and getting an extra bye week now that they have clinched. Baltimore is a first round exit in the postseason which will make it very hard for them to get the offensive line help they desperately need through the draft. An actual wide receiver wouldn’t hurt either. The Bengals will finally move on from Marvin Lewis this year, five years too late. Andy Dalton will still be under center however so another missed postseason is in the works for next year already. Hugh Jackson got the vote of confidence before the 15th loss last week. Without much better offensive line play and someone who doesn’t turn the ball over every other play under center next year this is going to continue to go downhill.
AFC SOUTH. The Jags hit the locker rooms in Santa Clara and got the phone call letting them know that they had become division champs! And they looked like they busted out the bubbly a little too heavily before kickoff. This team is still not to be taken lightly. Tennessee is a pile of hot steamy diarrhea. Marcus Mariota is no good and the O-line has underperformed all year. If they make it in (please no) then we can expect an early exit and a ton of turnover this offseason. If they don’t make it (please yes) then we can expect a ton of turnover this offseason. Houston needs to be all in on trying to dump JJ’s contract and getting DeShaun Watson as much help as possible next year. The defense is fine, the O-line is not, neither is the run game. Indy needs a lot more than the Andrew Luck from two years ago to return. Hopefully we see them begin that process this offseason.
AFC WEST. The Oakland Raiders looked like they had to go cross country to play a meaningless game in 29 degree weather. I get the feeling we’ll see moves being made the minute the clock hits zero this week. Los Angeles and Philip Rivers hopefully get in with a win and a Titans loss. They aren’t really in need of a lot of work to be a contender next year. A few minor tweaks to this roster and some added depth could push them into the elite category. The Broncos are in trouble. Manning is not coming back. Elway is not coming back. And I’m honestly not sure that a QB is going to fix all the problems anyway. Kansas City has that dark horse feel now that everyone has written them off. I wouldn’t be shocked if they made the Super Bowl. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they lost their first home game.
NFC EAST. Philly needs a few tweaks and a better roll of the dice next year in the injury department and they will be right back in the superbowl discussion. There are a ton of parallels between this year’s Eagles and last years Raiders however. So I wouldn’t be shocked to some serious regression even with a healthy Carson Wentz back next season. I can’t find any way for them to win more than 1 game this postseason. Washington is going to have an entirely new look at every level next year, I believe. Ditto for the Jersey Giants. Dallas needs to get the depth back on their offensive line this offseason. A complete renovation at the wideout position would be a great move as well. They are headed in the right direction with that young defense and not really in need of much on that side of the ball other than more pass rushers.
NFC NORTH. The Vikings should be feeling pretty confident about playing a home Super Bowl game right about now. Green Bay needs too much help to even write it all down. However with Aaron Rodgers back next year they are in the Super Bowl conversation anyway. That cannot be said for the other two teams in this division. Chicago is in for a complete rebuild again. For the third time in a decade. Detroit needs help on the d-line, o-line, and running game.
NFC SOUTH. The Saints have a legitimate chance to win a Super Bowl here. I kind of want to see it honestly. Drew Brees deserves it. Carolina on the other hand has about the same chance as I do to hoist a Lombardi. When they get knocked, out O-line and wideout are the key needs, followed closely by a replacement for Jonathan Stewart. Atlanta might miss out here. They are in the same boat as the Chargers. They don’t really need much to be a contender. If they do get in they have as good of a chance to play in Minnesota twice as New Orleans does. Hello? Yes this is coach Gruden. Of course I’m available, ESPN is firing everybody! I’d love to come back to Tampa! As long as you cut that Jameis knucklehead. I’ll have a whole retinue of young QBs from my QB camp this summer that we can draft.
NFC WEST. The Rams really don’t have much to worry about this week. They are in already. If they have to play Atlanta, or Seattle for a third time next week though? Seattle isn’t guaranteed to beat the Cards this week by any stretch of the imagination but, if they get in and go to L.A. I feel really bad for the Rams. Speaking of Arizona, this will be another team in full rebuild mode this offseason. The same cannot be said for San Fran. I get the feeling next year is going to be a race between Garoppolo and Goff for MVP.