Division races tighten up after Week 16

Minshew Mania is on maintain. The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t wrap up the NFC East and the No. 1 seed with their backup quarterback, tightening the playoff image in a wide-open convention.

The Eagles (13-2) want yet one more win to clinch home-field benefit all through the playoffs, however a 40-34 highway loss to the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) on Saturday saved alive the Cowboys’ slim hopes of securing the highest spot.

The Eagles beat the Cowboys in Week 6 at dwelling with Jalen Hurts within the lineup and backup Cooper Rush beginning for the Cowboys. The Cowboys returned the favor with Dak Prescott underneath middle and Minshew in for the injured Hurts.

The groups may very well be headed for a rubber match within the playoffs with Hurts and Prescott going through off for the primary time this season.

“This can be a actually (ticked)-off workforce proper now,” defensive sort out Fletcher Cox mentioned after the Eagles twice blew 10-point leads. “We didn’t like the result of what went on. We all know the kind of membership that we’re and this workforce is admittedly (ticked) off.”

The Minnesota Vikings (12-3) and San Francisco 49ers (11-4) have clinched their divisions and are preventing for positioning. Each groups might end wherever within the prime three spots.

Whereas the No. 1 seed earns a first-round bye, the No. 2 workforce has a chance to host at the least two playoff video games.

Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates in front of Giants cornerback Nick McCloud (44) after kicking a 61-yard field on the final play Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Minneapolis.

“We’re all conscious of the significance of making an attempt to get the appropriate seed place, however there’s rather a lot in that that’s out of our management,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins mentioned after Greg Joseph kicked a 61-yard discipline objective for a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants on Saturday. “There’s definitely a big half that’s in our management. You’ve simply acquired to play every sport and actually let the chips kind the place they might on the finish of the 12 months. You attempt to go win all these video games and go from there.”

4 division titles stay up for grabs and 7 groups have a shot on the No. 1 seed within the NFC or AFC with two weeks remaining.

The Buffalo Payments (12-3) maintained their maintain on the highest spot within the AFC with a 35-13 win Saturday in Chicago, however they’ve a troublesome matchup subsequent Monday night time in Cincinnati.

The defending AFC champion Bengals (11-4) have received seven in a row and nonetheless have an opportunity to earn the No. 1 seed. Additionally they might fall out of first place with a loss, and the AFC North may come all the way down to Week 18, when the Baltimore Ravens (10-5) go to Cincinnati.

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (12-3) will probably be rooting for Joe Burrow and the Bengals to beat the Payments. The seven-time AFC West champs would safe home-field benefit all through the playoffs with wins over the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders and a loss or tie by the Payments.

“Clearly we don’t management our personal future so far as the No. 1 seed,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes mentioned, “however we need to put ourselves in the most effective place to be at GEHA Area at Arrowhead Stadium as a lot as attainable within the playoffs, and that takes us getting higher as a workforce each single week.

“You need to be taking part in your greatest soccer going into the playoffs, and I really feel like that’s the place we have now to proceed to get higher and higher is let’s put that full sport collectively — offense, protection, particular groups. I assumed we did a reasonably good job of it (Saturday), however we will be even higher going into these final two weeks.”

Two shedding groups might find yourself successful the NFC South and AFC South.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8 getting into Sunday night time’s sport in Arizona), Carolina Panthers (6-9) and New Orleans Saints (6-9) are preventing for the NFC South title. The division probably will probably be determined when Tom Brady and the Buccaneers host the Panthers on Jan. 1.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8) have surged previous the stumbling Tennessee Titans (7-8) within the AFC South. The division winner will probably be decided in Week 18 when the Jaguars host the Titans.

In an NFL season crammed with shut video games and comeback wins, it’s becoming that solely eight groups had been eradicated from playoff rivalry getting into Sunday’s video games.

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