Many years ago the NFL was more split up than it is. Put another way, a great emphasis was placed on division games, when regions of the country were essential battlegrounds. There was tremendous pride in winning a division, with rivalries that stood for years. This has still stood, even though the world is more wired. Each team plays other teams in the division twice, once at home, and once on the road. This makes the value of winning the division great in the minds of many people. As if it is one season, then a second season, a tournament (playoffs) begin.as a non-american i don't understand why they use this division and seed system. This season it is possible that a 7-9 team gets to host a 13-3 team in the first round
I do agree with you that I believe the division winners should get an automatic berth into the playoffs, but I don't think they should host a game against a team with a better record. It's an unfair advantage.
I too am surprised Rivera was fired like that.
As to the Patriots, as Mike Tomlin once said about the Steelers when they were struggling mid-season one year, "we can win with the players we have now". I agree with this, as the difference between the best and worst receiver in the NFL is actually not that great. Coaching, practice, communication, execution should be able to overcome that in my mind. Hence, what the Patriots offense needs to do is get it's act together. My first though would be to simplify some things in the passing game, maybe in run blocking as well.
The Ravens lost back to back games early in the season, at KC 33-28, and at home to Cleveland where they gave up 40 points, and Jackson was somewhat contained. A win that stands out is the win over Seattle, who they beat in Seattle 30-16, in a game the Seahawks were very sloppy. The Ravens have @BUF, NYJ, @CLE, and Pitt left. Buffalo may be tough if the weather is sketchy (currently to be chilly and breezy, but between storms). Cleveland may be finished by then and the Ravens may seek revenge. Plus, no Garrett. But the game against Pittsburgh will be tough, as the Steelers are on a bit of a roll, playing excellent defense, and may need to win to make the playoffs. The Ravens may want that win for the #1 seed.
49ers vs. Saints and Pats vs. KC are good games to watch this week. After the Rams finally came to life last week, will this week hosting Seattle be a rebirth, or letdown?
It's that time of year when the NFL playoff predictor comes in handy. Simply pick who will win each game the remaining weeks, and out spits the playoff seeds: