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NFL notes and observations from Week 11

The NFL playoff picture is about to get really, really interesting.

After teams mostly jockeyed for position over the first two months of the season, the NFL playoff picture is starting to get heated. Especially in the AFC.

Once the smoke cleared on Sunday night, the AFC found itself looking chaotic in the wild card portion of things. For starters, the Los Angeles Chargers somehow lost to the Denver Broncos at StubHub Center on a last-second field goal from Brandon McManus. The loss dropped the Chargers to 7-3 and all but assured them of getting the fifth seed, putting them in line to face a division winner come the first weekend of January.

While that defeat actually provides a decent bit of clarity, the sixth seed is a complete nightmare of tiebreakers and wacky scenarios. Of course, if you’re a football nerd, you love that. For lovers of numbers, there is some wonderful symmetry in the NFL playoff picture.


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Incredibly, there are five teams sitting at 5-5, tied for the final seed in the AFC picture. The Broncos are also only a game off the pace, although jumping almost a half-dozen teams feels borderline impossible.

At 5-5, the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts are all locked together. This upcoming week, the Ravens have the luxury of welcoming in the two-win Oakland Raiders to M&T Bank Stadium, a matchup that should keep them in the driver’s seat (if the season ended today, Baltimore would win the maze of tiebreakers).

Elsewhere, the Dolphins and Colts will tangle at Lucas Oil Stadium, with the winner having a huge advantage as we head towards December. The Titans play on Monday night on the road against the Houston Texans, while the Bengals host the woeful Cleveland Browns.

Bears make their move

The Chicago Bears hadn’t beaten a team all year with a winning record in 2018, but that changed on Sunday night. Chicago rolled over the Minnesota Vikings with considerable ease, the 25-20 final score not revealing how dominant the Bears really were.


Read: Redskins Lose QB Alex Smith for the Season in Loss to Texans


Mitchell Trubisky was nothing special with 165 passing yards and two interceptions, but the defense was phenomenal. Khalil Mack had another brilliant performance, going for a sack with a forced fumble and a recovered fumble. Second-year safety Eddie Jackson added a 27-yard pick-six as well, capping off what was a wonderful showing in the Windy City.

With a 1.5-game lead on the Vikings in the NFC North, the Bears are unquestionably in the driver’s seat for the division crown and the accompanying home playoff game that comes with it.

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