When the NFL decided to add the seventh playoff team in each conference last year, the idea was to have as many teams as possible still alive in mid-December for a chance to make the playoffs.
The plan worked.
Take a look at the battle for the final spots in both the AFC and NFC playoff chases and you will see the version of parity that Pete Rozelle always craved when he helped make this league into the power that it is now. The thinking was that with more fans still vested, the better it was for the game and for the TV ratings and the league’s coffers. With three weeks left in the regular season, there are four teams eliminated from the playoffs. That’s it.
What’s even better, and truly indicative of the parity, is that there are 22 teams with records of 7-7 or better. Only one division has been clinched with three weeks left.
It’s the way most of us like it.
It also makes doing these weekly Power Rankings a real challenge. Five of the teams in the top-10 lost last week, which has shook up the top a bit this week. The Green Bay Packers stay at the top of the rankings this week, but they had to hold off a late Baltimore rally to win Sunday — against a backup quarterback no less.
The Kansas City Chiefs are up to the second spot this week after all the losses by teams ahead of them and they have taken over the No. 1 seed in the AFC. After all the talk about how the Chiefs were in trouble earlier in the season, they’ve righted things in a big way. At 10-4, they have looked like a real Super Bowl contender the past month of the season.
With three weeks left, however, things can change in a hurry. Just ask the Arizona Cardinals. Ten days ago they were in the top spot in the NFC. Now after two…