It’s week 14 of the NFL season, which means some teams can start clinching playoff berths as soon as Sunday.
Kansas City, we’re looking at you. Same for Philadelphia and Minnesota. Now, this still is only the second week of December, so only two of the three teams mentioned can clinch a post-season spot outright, without something else happening as well. We’ll explain.
The high-flying Eagles, with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, own an NFL-best 11-1 record. They face the New York Giants, who have managed a better-than-expected 7-4-1 record under new coach Brian Daboll. The Eagles are a 7.5-point favorite playing the Giants on the road at MetLife Stadium.
All the Eagles need to do to clinch a spot is to beat the Giants or tie them. They’re in such a strong spot because they have a two-game advantage over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. However, if the Giants can clip the Eagles wings, Philadelphia still can secure a spot Sunday if San Francisco and Seattle both lose.
And that brings us to another NFL team. The Minnesota Vikings, at 10-2, also can make the playoffs Sunday. The Vikings are on the road, taking on the 5-7 Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Oddly enough, the Lions are favored by two points. That’s because Detroit got hot at the right time of the season, winning four of their last five games. The Lions offense is on a roll, scoring at least 30 points in an NFL-leading six games.
But here’s the deal. Minnesota earns a post-season invite if it wins or ties the Lions. Maybe the Vikings will have enough offense of their own so Kirk Cousins can dance on the return trip back to Minneapolis.
That brings us to the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs. The team probably would’ve been a better spot if the Chiefs could’ve held onto their lead last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead, it was the third time this calendar year that Patrick Mahomes lost a head-to-head with Joe Burrow. But statistically, we do know this. Mahomes rarely loses consecutive games. It’s happened only three times in his career and only once in the last 64 games.
The Chiefs need to win Sunday on the road against the Denver Broncos to clinch a playoff spot. Plus, the Los Angeles Chargers need to lose. (The Chargers meet Miami). Recent trends suggest Kansas City won’t have an issue dealing with the Broncos, who are 3-9. Denver traded for Russell Wilson to reinvigorate the offense. Instead, the Broncos are struggling to score more than 14 points a game. You need to score points to keep up with the Chiefs. On paper, this looks like an ugly game.