Now that December is upon us, it's a good time to start tracking the playoff picture. If the playoffs started today, this is what we would have:
1. New York Jets
3. Kansas City
WC: New England, Pittsburgh
4. St. Louis
WC: New Orleans, N.Y. Giants
Jacksonville and Indianapolis have the same record, but the Jaguars won the first meeting between the teams. It would be foolhardy to count Peyton Manning and the Colts out, but we can at least realistically contemplate Indianapolis not making the post-season for the first time since 2001. It would seem their only route to the playoffs is winning their division — more on that later — as the current AFC wild card teams are at least two games ahead of them.
St. Louis is ahead of Seattle in the NFC West by virtue of an earlier win over the Seahawks. The Rams could be the first sub-.500 division winner in modern times, but their reward could be a playoff game against Atlanta or defending champ New Orleans (i.e., the second-place team in the South).
Green Bay and the Giants are both 7-4, with New York a half-game better than the Pack in conference games. The two teams battle in Green Bay on Boxing Day
Getting It Done In November
There were five teams that went through the month without a loss.
Chicago, Atlanta and the New York Jets won all four of their games in November. New Orleans and San Diego each had a bye week and went 3-0.
Other notable records:
3-1: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New England
Winless: Cincinnati, Detroit, Carolina (all 0-4), Tennessee (0-3)
3 losses: Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle, Arizona
The teams not mentioned went 2-2 or 1-2, while San Francisco is 1-1 in the month heading into Monday's game against the Cards.
Looking Ahead to Week 13
After a week in which the biggest matchups were in the NFC, the focus swings the other way in Week 13:
Pittsburgh (8-3) at Baltimore (8-3): Joe Flacco finally got a win against the Steelers earlier this season. Now he'll try for the first over Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.
Oakland (5-6) at San Diego (6-5): While division leader K.C. has revenge on its mind against Denver, these two West teams lock horns in a must-win for both. They appear to be heading in different directions, but remember: the Raiders are 3-0 within the division, including a win over the Chargers.
N.Y. Jets (9-2) at New England (9-2): The Jets won in their own stadium against New England, but Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have since worked magic by becoming more productive after ditching Randy Moss. The Pats have averaged 38 points over the past three games, with their defence bending an awful lot, but producing timely turnovers.
Atlanta (9-2) at Tampa Bay (7-4): Atlanta, whose two losses are on the road, looks to avoid a letdown after a big win over Green Bay. An upset would set the Bucs up nicely; their following three games are against Washington, Detroit and Seattle.