And with that, we welcome you back into SportsCastr News and FL Edition.
As always, on Friday morning, I'm Adam arm wrecked.
We should be getting in.
Lawrence Owen here on the broadcasters.
Well, but until we dio, we dive in.
Obviously, without that post Thursday Night Football match up, wrap up and without having Laurence Owen, uh, at the moment, Ray and I Sorry, not Thio cast dispersions on Lawrence as we get things going on Friday.
But as we think about last night, Lawrence, along with Ray Rat, we really just got into a broad spectrum conversation around the NFL expectations as the season winds down and really had a good, just evolved conversation both on and off the field.
Sports in general.
So we went pretty far field yesterday, and hopefully everyone enjoyed it today, though we wanted to take a look back in at the NFL's.
It stands right now.
There are a couple of news and notes around certain teams like Lamar Jackson, who has a murky timetable for when he is expected to return.
The interesting thing that we've talked about here kind of consistently across a lot of the different shows that you can find here on SportsCastr News is every time that you see a player go down with the cove in 19, either positive test or just exhibiting symptoms or breaking protocol set by the NFL, and they're taken off the field for X number of days.
And you really saw this over the wave leading up to the Ravens and Steelers game, where in the time since they started to move the game back because Lamar Jackson and multiple players for the Ravens that had had, ah concerns around it.
Then in the meantime, you saw James Connor come down with a positive test.
You saw other Steelers come down with issues, and then you really wonder Tua's, well, a direct on the field concern around a player like.
But Dupri, who goes down, looks like he could be lost for the year for the Steelers.
And that would be a devastating injury for that defense, let alone for the player and the person as an individual.
But so much of the success of Pittsburgh is going to hinge on that defensive side of the ball, and Dupri was really stepping up this season for them in big ways.
so if he's gonna be out now, all of a sudden, the team that's undefeated right now could be looking at a very different road ahead as they make their push towards the playoffs.
But these trickle down issues make it hard on a week to week basis to really gauge teams and really have a sense of who is the strongest potential threat as you work into the A F. C playoffs.
As you work into the NFC playoffs now, on the surface, we can go around through it and think about the fact that, let's say, over in the A F C side of things all things being equal, we expect the Kansas City Chiefs to be there right, 10 and one.
So barring any issues around positive for symptom test in assuming that the NFL can successfully navigating, then to this point, they have managed to do it few and far between big adjustment with that Wednesday afternoon game, obviously, this past week, and then they moved the Thursday night game as well, but they've been able to shuffle it.
So you know, we can sit here and nitpick and we saw the way the MBA did it.
We saw situation for the Major League Baseball where they were able to do it without really bubbling and they had some little issues early on.
But they still navigated through it and got their season on track.
And and we're able to put put out a product that I think basically look like what we've always seen before for the most part this entire season.
That's what we've gotten from the NFL.
There's obviously the big when we talk about the Denver Broncos and what happened there with their quarterbacks.
But again, that was about agreed upon protocols that weren't being followed.
So that was really the punishment and just saying, Hey, you gotta live with the results here And you had Fangio head coach there, come out and say, Listen, I wasn't I wasn't taking it seriously as I should have.
I wasn't communicating to the players the way I should have been and I wasn't reacting.
Responding and communicating the protocols in place by the NFL in a way that had the players following a disappointing the players but also disappointed in himself there as well.
So even if it's taken upwards off, you know, three months or maybe more when you include a little bit of the preseason for some players, some coaches to to get the message of, of how this needs taken seriously and how the NFL needs to be taken seriously in order to be able to get through this season, it has sunk in the messages sunk in by the way on the Lamar Jackson side of it, he said.
When he came out that positive test, he was shocked because he feels like he has been doing everything by the book.
He's been following the rules.
He's been, you know, mitigating any of the risks around it.
And that's the other nature of this right.
It doesn't take a lot to potentially have something like this.
Impact you individually impact the team overall and then really impact your career in the sense of what you're gonna be able to accomplish in the NFL season.
So it just listen.
It is what it is.
I go back and forth about how I feel the way it's been constructed in the NFL, and I also understand that there's the play side of it, and then there's the There's also the money side of it, right, and you're trying to balance those books in both ways, and it's not an easy thing to accomplish, so I'll navigate away from that at this point as we look at the NFL overall.
So we mentioned that we mentioned the Baltimore Ravens Now, even before the issues that they had in terms off the tests, You are talking about a team that's had a very weird kind of season for themselves.
You know, right now, when you look in the division, now it's six and five.
They are two games back off the Cleveland Browns heading into this weekend and obviously the 11 no Pittsburgh Steelers.
It would take a more pulled out view and look at the A F C is a hole.
Teams that are going to be in the mix for the wild card spot and the extra spot that's been introduced as well.
You're gonna be talking about with one team, the number one seed getting the bye week Onley in each conference.
Now you say, Well, the Vegas Raiders at six and five down there in the A F C West.
Obviously, they're not a real threat to Kansas City at this point, but they're gonna be in the mix for a wild card spot.
The Colts, who are now a game behind the Titans, seven and 48 and three, respectively, one of those two teams that, no matter how the rest of season shakes out, is going to be in a wild card spot.
And then you talk about the fact that you also have the Miami Dolphins trailing the Buffalo Bills seven and 48 and three again, one of those teams is going to be in the mix.
The Cleveland Browns are looking like they're going to be in the mix there as well, so I can name teams.
When you talk about the Baltimore Ravens at six and five, they're gonna have currently seven and four Dolphins eight and three Cleveland Browns.
You're also gonna get the seven and four Colts as well as the six and five Raiders that are all going to be in the shuffle.
There for wild card is playing spots.
Maybe they get in on that extra spot there.
It's being introduced this year, but a very delicate balance for a team like the Ravens, who down the stretch here as we take a look at their overall schedule and if you know me from my work on O G.
Here on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Just just had the episode this morning up for the Giants podcast with my co host, Andy Mackiewicz.
You know that I'm a Giants guy, so you know that we have them on our schedule as well.
That's a few weeks away.
Coming into this weekend, though, you're talking about the Dallas Cowboys.
So the NFC Slate, they're still have two more teams here that they'll dip their toe and they already took on Washington and Philadelphia.
They got winds in both of those 31 17 and then 32 28.
Philly actually played them pretty tight in that contest.
Listen, they've been a mixed bag.
They've been a bad team.
You would expect that you could get a victory there.
Then you get the key matchup.
Head to head with the Cleveland Browns in division, followed by the Jaguars, the Giants and then the Bangles to finish this season.
So on paper, you would say the only real question marks that you should have for a good of a team that you think you you were coming into the season in the Ravens.
And even though you've had some difficulties around the offensive side of the ball, you should be able to knock off W's against Dallas against the Jaguars.
Yes, I'll skip over the Giants just for a moment here and against the Bangles.
Those Air three wins that gets you to nine.
Then you do have the Browns and the Giants.
You wouldn't one of those two.
And arguably, if you're the Ravens, just give me the one against Cleveland. I'll live with it.
You get to 10, and you have to feel at least pretty good about where you stand heading down the stretch and thinking about one of those wild card spots.
One of those opportunities to be in the door.
And it specifically when you look at the Browns, who have also been an up and down team, though, the Nick Chubb train is certainly starting to drive them forward as they look to make a playoff push is, well, they're going to get the Titans before they see the Ravens.
Then they get the Giants, the Jets and the Steelers to close out the season.
Now, if the Steelers are undefeated going into the final week of the season, you can see them going for it and playing all out.
But if they have a loss before then all of a sudden it could be about rest about getting healthy, heading into the playoffs and potentially being the number one seed to have that extra benefit of the bye week as they head and as well.
So you know, listen, we all know the Jets situation there, but you would argue that three out of these last five games could be, ah, potential battles for the Cleveland Browns.
And again, that Steelers piece is going toe loom large in the division and how things play out going forward throughout the remainder of the season.
So 83 they could get to 10 wins, you know, relatively easily getting a W against the Jets.
And then maybe you want to say, Take it against the Giants.
But again, the head to head matchup with the Ravens is going to be the big one for them as well.
This is what gets interesting and what Lawrence and I were going to kind of dive on a little bit here this morning was also these are the teams that are in the playoff picture that have things to go for us to say Hey to go blue and Yankee Mary 45 on the Livestream.
Thanks for checking in with us Some of the things that we were thinking about getting into here it was the idea of what the lesser teams that may be on the outside looking in or not even not even looking in there after out on the street.
They're not even by the window peering in to the house that is the NFL playoff picture.
What are some of the things that we'd like to see from them? Potentially in terms of personnel, guys you'd like to see get some opportunities as well and we will get into it.
But I think it's interesting just toe lay out some of these scenarios here as well.
When we talk about teams that they need to make a pusher that really are on the precipice of the playoffs are falling out of it, we mentioned even there will briefly go through some of these.
I think that again we know where Pittsburgh stands.
We know where some of these teams stand.
I think both Tennessee and the Colts, relatively speaking, should be in good positions.
Toe have a foothold to get themselves into the playoffs.
Um, you know, now listen division games for the Colts two times against the Houston Texans.
They're not that good this year.
So you can look at those positively the Raiders up and down.
And then they closed the season with the Jaguars.
So again, this feels like a least a 10 win team in the in that division there for the Colts.
Likewise, for those Tennessee Titans we know they're gonna be taking on the Cleveland Browns here.
But then they get the Jaguars.
They get the lion's.
We'll get the hard the hard matchup of the Green Bay Packers, and then you also settle it up with the Houston Texans.
So there's wins to be had their at least 10, maybe 11.
There's gonna be a lot of double digit win teams across the A F.
C and then likewise, when you go to the A F.
C North, the team that we all wanted Thio and didn't know if we could have confidence in in the Buffalo Bills.
They're five and one at home.
They have to be feeling pretty good about where they stand right now, though, if I'm being honest, when you look at that Miami Dolphin team one game behind them in the division at seven and four there plus 79 right now on the other point differential, that is just a team and a defense that is playing tremendously well.
We've seen the sample size from two a.
We've seen getting back into the conversation around now fits magic and what that looks like for them in this playoff push.
And that's a no.
It could balancing act for this team who remember, started the season one and three with losses to the Patriots, the Bills and then also the Seahawks, with that women against the Jaguars sandwiched in between.
But then after that, and this is where it gets interesting and how you want to evaluate this team.
They beat the 40 Niners as they were getting into the midst of their bad, just incredibly injury riddled stretch of their season.
You beat the awful Jets, you beat the up and down Rams, but they're pretty good team you took on the Cardinals, and this is closer to when they were at their best.
They being a little bit shaky here over the last handful of weeks is well, you also got the Chargers took care of them.
You lost to the Broncos.
That was a bit of a clunker that you had to go to Mile High.
That always impacts teams in that travel.
And then you beat the Jets again.
Hey, listen, your opponents, your opponents, you get two times to get to W's against the Jets.
You locked it up there.
And, by the way, in terms of that point differential you are talking about, it's a plus 79.
Well, guess what they are plus 41 in those two games against the New York Jets.
But the remainder of their schedule is the Bangles coming up here.
Then the Chiefs.
You're gonna talk about the Patriots, Raiders and Bills.
It's a hard road, relatively speaking.
Chiefs were gonna come out firing there in two weeks.
The Patriots still have something to play for here in this division.
Likewise for the Raiders and the Bills as well.
So they're going to get the best punch from everybody here down the stretch of the season.
And when you're in a division where you're right behind the Bills by one game, and as much as you can say whatever you want, you have a head to head matchup against the Patriots if they get that win.
All of a sudden, the New England Patriots can at the very least, mess up Miami's opportunity into the playoffs, even if it doesn't mean giving them a chance to get there.
And, as we know, head to head had that went earlier in the season against the Dolphins.
So they can really make some headway for themselves in New England and and really at this stage of the season, uh, with what the expectations were with the opt outs that they had around Cove in 19 concerns, expectations could not have been any lower for this team.
And Bill Belichick has still done a fantastic job of getting a pretty darn good performance out of these guys.
They've won three out of the last four games.
You can mix in the Ravens and that muddy weather one gotta win against the Cardinals, and now they're stretch becomes away games, by the way, the next three.
And then we'll get to home.
And, of course, it will be Mike Whole layup in the final week of the season against the Jets.
So you could give him a win there and a head to head game in Week 16 against the Buffalo Bills in the division so you could impact the standings here significantly potentially, because the week prior away Dolphins you could get a win their asses.
Well, so these next couple of games are gonna be very big for the New England Patriots in terms of what they can try to do here.
Because charters and rams, even if you split those which might not feel the greatest, and you're sitting there at six and seven, you can at least get yourself 29 and seven and knocking down the division players as you go through.
More than likely, this is a run the table ish kind of scenario them for them to make real headway because with six losses, you have to think you get to 10 and six.
Now you can start to have that conversation around a potential playoff push.
But again at the worst case scenario, you have to be brimming with confidence that you've been able to get to this place and say, Hey, we're in these conversations.
We can have these kind of talks.
Lastly, in that division, as we do highlighted the Buffalo Bills will have a line of away for 40 Niners, home for the Pittsburgh Steelers, away for Denver, away from New England and home for the Miami Dolphins.
This is why it gets muddy.
You could lose that game against the New England Patriots.
And then, potentially, the Patriots could benefit from the Dolphins beating the Bills, Everybody getting pulled back down into this at eight and three.
Right now, you have to feel pretty confident about them.
But are you guaranteeing Victory against the 40 Niners have been playing much stronger defensively, and this is a travel from East to West Coast.
I don't think you can automatically circle that one Pittsburgh Steelers very tough matchup and then broncos this.
You just check that box off.
If you want to say you're a playoff team, you've got to get that win that gets you to nine and seven, right? You potentially could be nine and 53 weeks from now.
And there you are, right with two division games, one in New England and then down in Miami against the Dolphins, everything on the line.
So the A F C East really is matching up in terms of just that down the stretch, potential of having a lot of exciting games, a lot of things to root for and at least be interested and interesting and have exciting matchups come Sunday.
So we'll flip our attention here over briefly to the NFC side of things where, as I say, as a Giants man, the Giants were their top of the division.
However, they unfortunately, are a team that is just four and seven.
They have a minus 39 point differential here now, not unlike when we were talking about the Dolphins and that split.
There is a big, bad game there for the New York football giants.
When you talk about the 40 Niners early in the season, the one game they just really didn't show up for their and be three lost that 36 to 9.
So you are talking about, you know, 27 minus 27 right there on the books, so they're still in the negative.
But there are a lot closer to to being to breaking even than otherwise.
And when you walk through this season, especially, you talk about again that minus 39 number they were minus 10 against the Steelers, 26 to 16, and what was a scrappy game for them.
But they came up short on.
Then you throw in that 40 Niners game, so right there alone is 37 of their.
My other 39 net negative point differential can be allocated to two games.
They lost to the Bear, 17 13.
They lost by just eight points.
And then you've also got the Cowboys in the mix.
They're losing by three.
The wins against Washington.
We're just by 1.
22 19 when riverboat Ron went for it, and then a three point victory as well.
Just a few weeks ago, 23 to 2027 10 big victory.
The biggest victory margin they've had all year against the Eagles, followed by a narrow margin, 1917 last week.
Their home stretch here, now possibly without Daniel Jones this week and beyond, is going to see them taking on Seattle.
YO, Seattle The Seattle Seahawks will come one.
Come to Canada, host the New York football Giants, followed by the Cardinals, the Browns, the Ravens, the Cowboys.
It's a tough sleep.
Don't know how that's gonna shake out.
And let's be fair.
I'm excited about it.
I know that the general population isn't honing in on the NFC has been affectionately referred to this season least as we head down the stretch.
But across these other divisions, this is why it's maybe a little bit less enticing because you're talking about the NFC northward.
Green Day is 83 just feels comfortably in control of what they're doing.
They're the only team with a positive plus minus differential in the division.
Minnesota's come on a little bit stronger of late or least looked a little bit more competent.
They're five and six.
Chicago Bears were five and six, the Detroit Lions or four and seven.
So nobody else is 500.
You throw in the NFC East, you know, now you only have 1 500 about 500 team across two divisions.
Now the NFC South has been interesting, especially in the absence of Drew Brees, talking about tasting Hill in a very unique style referred to as, uh, the full Tim Tebow game about last week, where you know, the combination of his running prowess was really where they hung their hat under 100 yards passing.
But they've been managing to get victories nonetheless.
Ah, plus differential of 101 Good Lord.
And you can throw in that Denver game, which is obviously glaring, where the defensive players for the New Orleans Saints were being gentlemen and not brutalizing a practice squad ride receiver, former college quarterback.
And we're really gentle in terms of getting him down on the ground and not potentially injuring a young player thrust into a difficult situation.
But they're nine and to Tampa Bay is seven and five, and they've been in Enigma.
They've been up and down.
They've been baffling at times you're trying to gauge about.
Is the system not really constructed properly? For Tom Brady? Is Tom Brady showing some of that fall off? The end of his career is the almost over abundance of weapons that he has just too much to effectively pick out your spots and execute properly.
What is Bruce Arians role in responsibility? In that there was some real shaky feelings for me around this team, not in terms of them making the playoffs because, as we just quickly rallied around things out here out in the West, it is eight and +3746 and +55 and six in descending order for the Seahawks, the ranch, the Cardinals in the 40 Niners.
Now all these teams are, I think, going to still stir the pot within their division down the home stretch here. Final game.
Two games this season for those Los Angeles Ranch will be at Seattle and home verse the Cardinals and they will meet the Cardinals this very weekend.
So all of a sudden, while the Cardinals have been shaky, if you kind of take your attention and say Yeah, but two games, if they can sweep the season Siri's against the Rams, all of a sudden, that throws total chaos into the picture for Seattle following this Giants game coming up, they get some lay ups, a lot of NFC East teams.
They'll get the Jets after the after the Giants, but then they get the Washington football team, followed by division opponents Rams and 40 Niners.
But again still could be a problem.
They could be a, you know, a wrench in the machine here as you try to work yourself smoothly into the playoffs for Seattle.
So how did these games shake out? I wouldn't be surprised if the hierarchy you have here could flip into any different order.
But most of these teams, when you look at their schedules and we'll catch Arizona here just to see who else supplements that matchup and end of the season match up with the Rams, they'll have.
The Eagles will have the Giants, and they'll have the 40 Niners.
So, you know, for a team in Arizona who's lost three out of their last four games and has that one win against the Bills, which was impressive and yet came on that last second Hail Mary toss from Kyler Murray down to nuke there in the end zone.
If not for that, they're on a four game losing streak and they played good teams.
You have the Dolphins, you have Seattle, you have the Patriots.
They're all in the mix.
They're playing quality teams that air in, or at least sniffing around the playoffs.
So now if you don't win this game against the Rams and you're six and six, then you try to write your ship when you get the Giants and you get the Eagles.
But then you're gonna get to more division games against the Niners and the Rams.
I mean, this is a team for all that they showed early in the season.
Came out to a no to and to than a nice three game win streak.
They were five and two a minute ago, and now all of a sudden there, six and five.
And there's a reality where this team could finish the season below 500.
It's only going to take, I'll say, it's only take one upset, really in this mix here, right? And maybe 500 is more apt here.
They could go very easily go two and three over these last five games.
They could get the winds against the NFC East in the Giants, the Eagles and still lose all those matchups in division.
Or maybe it is just a surprising win out of the Giants or the Eagles, and then it really throws chaos into it.
If you have a two on one record in the division over over those next three matchup, that's great.
But one off game and you have to travel to New York and then you will be at home for Philadelphia.
I know Philadelphia's absolutely terrible, but there's rumors that we could get some more.
Jalen Hurst does that throw a wrinkle into how this defense has to approach them? It's very interesting toe have a team like the Arizona Cardinals and a second year quarterback, Kyler Murray, who looks like he's just, you know, the arrow points up for him, but he does have not unlike this team up and down inconsistent performances.
So we'll be keeping an eye on them as well, because that's just a very, very exciting division to me and an exciting scenario to see play out Beyond that, though, when you look around this NFC conference as a whole, there's not a lot of intrigue, really.
For May, right? Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons.
You're not doing anything in the South there, so that's really a two horse race there for what's gonna happen in the division, and I could make the case that it's not even a two horse race.
This is just New Orleans.
Saints are gonna win the division.
Tampa Bay, at seven and five, has to do enough down the stretch here to give themselves confidence that they're locking into one of those higher wildcard seeds.
No real risk of them not making the playoffs in some capacity, and their last handful of games are going to look like the Vikings, Falcons, Lions and Falcons once again.
So you know two games against the Falcons you want.
Trump is up to W's, especially without Julio Jones.
The offenses look less potent.
Matt Ryan look less potent.
If you could just check those boxes off your at nine.
The lines feel like a wind to, you know.
They easily could run the table here and find themselves sitting at 11 and five and even 10 and six.
That's gonna punch your ticket to the playoffs with relative ease.
But who else is going to make it in there out of the NFC, right? You know, you look at it and say whoever wins the NFC East Division, they're not sending a wild card team, but that opens it up so much wider, especially with the extra team getting in.
That means that Minnesota, Chicago and, ironically, maybe even the Detroit Lions, depending on what you dio.
Let's not be crazy here, but the Vikings and the Bears can still be in that picture, potentially in behind it.
Because you're talking about two wild card team is not gonna come out of the East.
And if the Arizona Cardinals fall off, then it's about the Rams.
They can punch that first ticket for themselves as a wild card.
Tampa Bacon Punch that ticket as a wild card.
Now that's that last spot.
Minnesota, Chicago, then you're talking about.
If the Cardinals can dance around it, they may have some potential to get in there, and I just listen.
I can even make the the low level case for a team like Washington if they can continue to surge here.
They lost two games against the Giants, but even if they're a game behind, if the Giants somehow miraculously got to ate and ate and it's a riel toss up here when you talk about them because off losing Daniel Jones, but they don't have to win the division could have seven and 19 18.
You have to be 18 8, probably.
Could that happen in the NFC? It's most likely not, you know.
Could Washington surge, though, and overtake it? Then you're not gonna tow worry about a wildcard coming out of that division, and you start to just think about Minnesota for us.
Difficulty, the seasons they had early on and Chicago for us.
Weird as it is, they have to be in the mix.
So let's take a look there where, by the way, specifically inside off the Minnesota Vikings here we're talking about a team from a stat standpoint.
They're giving you one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory from the wide receiver position.
And that's Justin Jefferson didn't come on early here, but when he has, it's been a real explosion over the course of now, these last handful of games, and we could actually move into these game logs as well.
But as we'll highlight a young player, that has been really impressive.
Now we know when we talk about these recent games for him, right Last match up there against the Carolina Panthers shows up with 13 targets, seven catches for 70 and two big touchdowns, but go back to the start of the season.
First couple weeks, two catches, two catches, Three catches there.
Excuse me and then I start Little pop up there.
Four for 103 then a real quiet matchup against Seattle.
Surprising because Seattle does have a good pass defense and explosion.
Nine for 1, 66 2 touchdowns against the Falcons.
And then, you know, a couple of relatively mediocre ones.
Three catches a game, eight for 1 35 though just three weeks ago, against a good Chicago Bears defense.
So this kid has been on fire now with 72 for 9, 18 and six touchdowns.
Maybe one of the better rookie campaigns and a wide receiver position that we've seen in quite some time.
And that's what makes them an exciting and interesting team.
They have not been good, especially early, though.
Let's go back to this team right for as up and down as they've been, and you can think about the opponents over the last five weeks and you could really look at that 31 28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and say, Boy, do I wish we had that one back, but they beat the Packers, 28 22.
They beat the Lions.
It's a division opponent.
You gotta get the winds where you get him.
34 2019 13 over the Bears, 28 27.
Narrow victory over the Panthers.
And just like that, they have games coming up here against Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Chicago again in Division the Saints and then finishing with division opponent the Detroit Lions.
If they can punch three of those W's in and get to eight and eight, they could be in that wild card conversation.
They could be in that extra spot conversation.
Same thing can be said for you there when you talk about the Chicago Bears.
I don't think that they're capable of doing that, and I'm giving Minnesota a win against them.
It's mostly because they're on a five game losing streak and trending in the wrong direction.
There are just games here that don't really match up well for them, even that Packers game of the final week of the season, depending on if the Packers I need to play for.
Maybe that's a lay up a little bit, but you get the Jaguars.
That's a nice one Detroit game coming up here for them this weekend.
Troy. It's not good.
But if Stafford is healthy, if Golladay could get back on the field, maybe that hip is a dangerous injury.
Thio, you know toy with you.
Get Swift back on the field has been dynamic for them.
It's a least gonna be a toss up game.
And once they lose one more, I think it starts to unravel for them a little bit.
Three weeks from now, when they see the Vikings.
Certainly, if there's something to play for, it will be an exciting one toe watch.
But as it stands right now, I put a lot of confidence into the Minnesota Vikings being able to put themselves in a position to grab one of those three spots now behind division winners.
So you know they're right there.
I know they're sitting there at five and six, but the question becomes, is Arizona going to get more WC? Are they pushing for nine or 10 wins? If not, it's up in the air in open for a team like Minnesota get to the playoffs, and I will say this as what ends up being around about Look around the league here and how some of these playoff races we're going to line up for us.
The one thing I will say is, uh, I've talked about this in the NFC East, where you say, You know, Daniel Jones Health is gonna be concerned, but even Washington Alex Smith playing pretty good football there.
I know the record isn't pretty, but that front seven especially off the edge for Washington Dangerous, Dangerous Unit, they're gonna have to at least be concerned about playing them in the first round of the playoffs if they were to win the division.
And it's likewise for the Giants, this has been one of the better.
Defense is over, really.
Three quarters of the season, right? They found their rhythm pretty early.
Bradbury is playing some of the best cornerback.
You can have a quarterback play you could have in the league.
They're getting back.
A guy like Xavier McKinney in the secondary just got a little sample size last week.
They got weapons there.
You've got that those big bodies in the 34 of Dexter Lawrence Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson.
These guys are ready to get, you know, cause problems shut down the run first worry about maybe taking down, uh, the taking down the passing game following that.
So it's been interesting to see we don't know what's gonna happen necessarily, but just like potentially, there could be a dangerous team there that you don't want to face in the early part of the playoffs.
I would say that for the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings are a team that you don't want to see squeak in there, and all of a sudden you gotta play a relatively high powered offense with the running game with the receiving game with rookie wide receiver Jefferson there, it's just not a matchup.
You wanna have to get into you like Thio.
You'd like to see the Chicago Bayer's rise up somehow and grab that extra playoff spot as we welcome in Lawrence O.
On joining the broadcast there and shake your head.
Which, by the way, we just finished.
Say, you know, uh, will supplement this year quickly, Lawrence for you as you join us.
I was running through the NFC and really just taking a look and noticing that, Hey, if you're the Vikings, your five and six remember extra playoff position here is on the line with how Arizona has looked poor.
There's actually a path here for the Vikings.
Toe Somewhat easily.
Get into the playoff picture here if they could just win a couple of games.
Natal do the trick for you.
You could give Tampa one wild card spot.
You could give the other one to the Rams or to the Seattle Seahawks or the Cardinals.
However, that shakes out.
But I just see a spot there where you're gonna be ableto really knocking on that door.
And if it's Chicago, I think everyone's excited.
If you're in the playoffs now, maybe you want to play that defense.
But the offense is so bad that I just don't see a team like the Green Bay Packers going.
Boy, I hate to see I hate to see Nick Foles or Mitch Strabinsky whichever way you want to slice it.
But the Vikings are dangerous offense, and the last thing you want to do in the playoffs is getting to a shootout scenario with some of these teams.
Oh, yeah, Definitely.
Some of these guys.
Hey, I want to apologize.
I was supposed to been here when he went live as well, but I had a meeting last minute meeting with my school over Kogan situation.
So I had to go in and do that.
My phone was so I had no way of letting out of know that I wasn't even at home.
Um, but yeah, those No, no, that situation, that's yeah, I would.
It is kind of the that that whole situation of do you want to face the defense or do you want to face the offense? And right now you're right.
Minnesota's offense has been clicking for about a month and a half straight.
I mean, they've been they've been lighting it up out there.
Dalvin cook, Justin Jefferson, all of them.
Most teams wouldn't want to face him, because, um, yeah, they say defense wins, but you still gotta be able to move the ball on offense in order to score.
And and And Folds and Torbinsky both have just looked so awful lately.
Yeah, I I completely agree, but at the same time, I don't know if Arizona gives that spot of well, so let's run through it real quick here because I was breaking it down.
And remember, Arizona's a team that is on a losing streak right now and trying to find their way to game losing streak.
They have three games in division coming up with the Rams.
They'll see the ramps for the final game of the year, and then in Week 16, they get the 40 Niners, a team that for all that, we've seen them play poorly due to injuries.
They're starting to become tougher and tougher down the stretch here.
I wouldn't want to have to play those two divisional games with maybe the playoffs on the line.
Now they get sandwiched in between their My New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.
But if you punch those tools that you wanna punch those games wins against the Giants and the Eagles, and you could make a very strong case for that.
But then you're sitting there still, you're only eight wins.
Like you know, there's a world where you finished eight and eight.
You're gonna have to win one of those division games to totally take control that wild card spot and make it really difficult for Minnesota.
I just I said it before.
Kyler Murray is obviously progressing in a second year, but he is up and down week to week.
Those performances are like the team up and down, and I don't think that they have another gear defensively or some new wrinkle.
Remember, they be five and six if not for the hell Mary to nuke in the end zone there.
So they're one their one game away, one pass away from being below 500 Right now, I just think that way came into this year.
At least I did came in this year thinking I like Arizona.
I think they're gonna progress, but I don't know if they're quite there yet.
I got really hyped on him for a minute, and now I think I'm coming back down to Earth on them and saying, No, I really think it is your three for them.
Adding some more pieces to the defense and making this a complete team when I really start to get worried about them over, say, Seattle or over even, say, the Rams.
For as many question marks, I may have about them as well.
But which team would you rather if let's say you was the fact you know which team would you rather face in the playoffs? Arizona or Minnesota? Oh, you bother Arizona.
They both have pretty impressive offenses.
Errors? Minnesota, You got a quarterback.
That doesn't really move a whole lot.
But they got a really great running back that could do just about anything that you need them, too.
Plus a good passing game.
And with Arizona, you got potentially ah, guy with a passing game that could legitimately score a touchdown.
You know, at any point in the game at any time.
So it's kind of Ah, my goodness, you know, how do you wanna fight in the playoffs when it becomes interesting, too? Because we're talking about, you know, as far as the number one seed getting the bye week and no one else.
So in the NFC, you're still talking about the Saints and the Packers right there.
So all the way down the stretcher, both these teams are gonna need to keep checking winds until one of them has a misstep and you get a two games spread there and maybe you say Okay, it's comfortable enough.
And right now it's the Packers trying to chase the Saints.
Ironically, even without Drew Brees, they've been managed to get victories.
Get a little lucky with that matchup against Denver.
Certainly, uh, this past week.
But, yeah, so you know you're going to get the best team still trying to push for that number one seed in the NFC.
And listen, if you're any of these teams and your one or two seats, should you be concerned about anyone you play? Of course not.
None of them are going to say that, right? You're gonna go on with confidence, but I just think depending on who it is, and by the way out of those two teams Packers of the Saints, I have more confidence in what the Saints have been doing, especially because defensively, they're finding it where you go find, even in all these scenarios, give me a really high powered offense.
I trusted my defense can give me a spark for a handful of serious throughout the game.
Green baited me.
It's like it's a balancing act when it's a middle of the road offense, defense kind of matchup.
That defense excels a little bit when it's against a really good offense, though, I think you start to see they're not bad defense, put their average, their middle of the road at best, and they're gonna get exposed.
I don't think the same type of type of worry.
So it will be interesting to think about how those matchups lineup depending on what happens specially NFC West.
That's really where that's really where it all comes down to, for me is like, What is the NFC West going to look like in two weeks? Because right now it's Seattle L.
A. And then Arizona.
Two weeks from now, it could be, you know, completely flipped.
And maybe Arizona goes on a winning streak.
They find themselves on top of the division so well, especially it's funny that you're like I'll take a mitigated Taysom Hill over Aaron Rodgers and he's not saying that because I'll take that person over that person.
It's the rest of the team itself.
Plus, you know, is that good as compared to what you have helming the office, and that is a weird thing to say because you don't hear that very often.
Yeah, And then the real reason to it, By the way, because remember, like, think about late playoff runs to write.
Like, why hasn't Aaron Rodgers been in more Super Bowls? It's not about Aaron Rodgers.
You know, it's not about what he is.
It's about everything else and what you need to be able to rely on.
Why has Drew Brees been able to go to a couple of Super Bowls? Why, you know, maybe had more consistent and more consistent opportunities because there's been good years.
There were years where the defense was God awful, and it was all offensively predicated.
They couldn't quite get it done.
And then there's been years where the defense has been really strong and I always go back to this.
Your offense could be a phenomenal, but you need to be able, at some point to say, I'm gonna hang my hand on the defense for a T Siri's and a key playoff game and know that they could go do it for me and until recently this past game for the Packers, but also not a defense that turns the goal over, particularly either.
You know, they've been relatively neutral on that turnover battle throughout the year is well, so that's the concern that you have as you get deeper into the playoffs.
And remember, You wanna talk about a matchup where let's assume Drew Brees gets back on the field at some point here, although it was both already happened, and it seems to be getting murkier and murkier as we move through with that rib injury.
If it ends up being that matchup and say the NFC Championship game Packers Saints, I'm gonna go Boy, are you gonna be able to do enough defensively Green today when the Saints at least get a Siri's off off the Packers offense when they shut them down a couple of times? Are you going to be able to step up to that occasion and mitigate Taysom Hill, who either there's Taysom Hill? That's what he's saying, right? So there's gonna run him.
He's gonna be another running back that they have an And I guess the only downside for them is that you have seen the mitigation off a camera, and some of the receiving weapons, like the Saints offense, is shifting into some type of weird, amorphous, running blogged machine tumbling towards the end zone so that that's weird to think about is they get into the playoffs as well.
E quarterback E o A similar style Ravens type office that they were running last year, and they they have.
They kind of went that direction, and it works really well because Jason, such a fantastic athletes at the quarterback position.
But at the same time this year, when you have uH huh, a no offense that is predicated on that and has issues stepping back into a legit passing offense.
At times, it really hurts that team.
So there is a possibility that the way the Saints are playing right now with tasting at the quarterback position good legitimately get exposed.
They go up against a team with a really good defensive coordinator.
Well, and and the difference there to being the Baltimore Ravens last year were preparing and building for that style of play.
The Saints didn't construct them.
You're you're mitigating those weapons, and so even though it could be successful, you're still looking at and say right, but at some point we need to be able to use what we have, and we can't do it with him under center, So it'll be fun to watch now.
I do, unfortunately have to get out of here relatively quickly with some other meetings ahead.
But before we dio, because Lawrence did make the effort to get himself here and we obviously understand schedules happened on the flip side on the NFC, where I had highlighted, Um, that's a much more exciting conference right now, when you're talking about coming down the stretch because behind Kansas City, you get to say, Well, Tennessee and your and your Colts are very much in a back and forth.
Flip it, pick it kind of battle there in the South and even in the A F C North In spite of Pittsburgh being 11.
And no, you get the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens and really change in a hurry.
And then I spent a lot of time on this so we don't have to belabor it.
But I know Ray route.
Wherever he is, the New England Patriots are still in a position toe.
Mix it up in the A f c East, and I did not think that I would say about a team one whose five and six, and it is very slim, right? And the real point that I made around it was the best thing that you can say if you're the patriot is one.
This wasn't the expectations that you'd be able to pull this off potentially, but just the fact that they can muck it up The fact that they can make it messy for the Dolphins or, you know, the bills are up there ahead of them right now when I look at their schedule just before they're gonna get the charges in the Rams coming up both away games.
So, you know, listen, those air, those air tossup games and doing the hard team to see what you think you're gonna get out of them.
But then they're gonna follow it with a game at the Dolphins, home for the Bills and then home for the Jets.
So they're gonna win that game the last game of the year.
We know that much if all of a sudden they pick off, even if they lose the next two weeks and they're five and eight, but sweep the division at the end of the season, you could just start throwing wrenches all over town and be a team. That's their eight.
That would be an accomplishment unto itself, whether you're in the playoff picture or not.
And there is a world where a win over the next few games and you go So you're telling me that I could get 29 and seven and I can also steal winds from the division and most most specifically, it's Miami.
Miami has to keep a really tight.
I hear for a good as they've been throughout this year, they are on the edge every time they lose a game.
They have to be looking at that wild card situation and watching New New England and saying, Boy, we are right on the edge of having a really good year and still not getting into the playoffs.
Oh, yeah, yeah, it's weird, Uh, that you're looking at the East and going well, there's there's three potential playoff teams in that in that division there in the FC, and the leading one is not New England.
It's the one that is fighting to try to get in there.
Um but yeah, New England has an opportunity.
Thio really mucked things up as you you say, especially even if they don't make it in.
Like you said, I mean that they could not the bills into a situation where they're in a a fight for their lives.
Because what if Miami goes on the terror? I mean, they're in a pretty good situation right now where Miami goes on a tear right now and Buffalo starts losing a few of these closer games.
You don't know? Um, I haven't looked at the schedule for Buffalo, so I don't know who some of their tougher games are on first.
Pretty sure they played Pittsburgh pretty soon, so that that's a situation where you gotta have to keep a close eye on because it Buffalo has to play New England in Pittsburgh.
And so in even another one more goods.
Good team in there.
Buffalo legitimately could end up losing the east from Miami if Miami goes on a terror.
Yeah, well, that was a little bit.
That's what we talked about two to your point, because, um yeah, I know.
I'm gonna chop out here a little bit.
Hopefully, I'm coming clear for the moment, and we'll wrap it up as I start to lose my feet here.
But to your point.
Lawrence, when you look at that schedule, the Bills have the 40 Niners, Steelers, Broncos.
Maybe you want to call that a layup and then patriots and all.
Yeah, I could see him go moved three other I really could.
I know he's topping out, but yeah, you could see them lose three different three games.
I'm not saying they will.
There's a good possibility.
Hope everybody enjoys this.
Hope I'm not getting lost.
No, I got good feet.