by Nick Gilbert / December 8, 2021
In its closing weeks, the National Football League is on the downward stride. The NFL has wrapped up Week 13 and only five weeks remain. From now and going forward, every game matters even more than before.
This year is the first of its kind. With the addition of one game being added to the schedule, and two ‘Wild Card’ teams, one from each conference making a 14-team playoff as opposed to 12 in years past. Only one team from the NFC and AFC conferences will receive a bye, unlike 2 in the playoffs past.
Almost every division is up for contention, with the exception of 2, which are almost out of reach mathematically. The NFC North and South leaders (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers) find themselves with leads of 4 games, and with only 5 weeks remaining, all hope is just about lost for the teams trailing. It’s possible for the leaders to clinch the division at the week’s end.
The Arizona Cardinals are back on top. After the return of star QB, Kyler Murray and WR Deandre Hopkins, the Cardinals beat the Chicago Bears making them the first and only team to double-digit wins on the season.
History will not be made and there will not be a defeated team. The Detroit Lions are finally in the win column after a last-second score put them over and secured their first win bringing them to 1-10-1. They won the game 29-27 over the Minnesota Vikings.
With a win on Monday Night Football, the New England Patriots are back in familiar territory and that is tops in the AFC. A team led by rookie QB Mac Jones, the Patriots are 7-0 in their last 7 games, after starting the year 2-4.
Only the Patriots and the Cardinals have undefeated records on the road. Only 9 teams have accomplished the feat by the end of the season, 7 of which have gone on to the Super Bowl with 5 winning – the last team do this was the Patriots in 2016.
Next week’s matchups feature Thursday Nights Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings. Sunday Night one of football’s oldest rivalries highlights the night. The Green Bay Packers travel to Chicago to take on the Bears, and Monday night NFC West rivals Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams wrap up the week.