Saturday 16 December 2017 / 08:30 AM

Airing it Out: Week 15 – Lions on the move

Lots of good stuff in week 15.

Johnny Football trips over his own spotlight in a truly pitiful first start. The Seahawks-Niners rivalry looks a little less juicy as Seattle wins fifth out of last six meetings. Romo and Bryant enjoy sweet revenge over the Eagles. And Aaron Rodgers shows his human side with 17/42 passing for 185 yards and 2 INTs in an untimely loss on the road against the Bills.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the Jets picked up their first road win, a 16-14 thriller over the Titans that nobody was watching outside of Nashville.

But don’t get too excited Rex Ryan fans, Tennessee had lost seven straight (now eight) and is playing their worst football since leaving Houston – plus, Touchdown Jesus is back under center.

Whitehurst didn’t throw an interception. That’s good.

But he didn’t throw a touchdown, either. That’s bad.

All things considered the serial backup is what he is – a backup, and so don’t blame ole Charlie for looking a little lost out there without his clipboard.

Team on the Rise

We’re getting to that point of the season where trends are less important than winning week-to-week, but there’s at least one team whose stock is rising and that’s Detroit.

After three straight wins against the Bears, Bucs and Vikings, the Lions have quietly crept up on the Packers and are now in first place (by virtue of tie-breakers) in the NFC North.

Sure, Chicago, Tampa and Minnesota combine for a total of just 13 wins, but don’t blame Jim Caldwell, he didn’t write the schedule!

If Detroit can take care of Chicago on Sunday they’ll be guaranteed a week 17 showdown at Lambeau with the NFC North on the line.

I’ll be breaking out my old VCR for that one.

Team on the Decline

Lots of different directions we could go here with playoff hopeful clubs like Miami and Cleveland bringing their C-game to the field when it mattered most, but the now-eliminated team that we least expected to be (7-7) after 15 weeks of football is the San Francisco 49ers.

This will mark the first year that Jim Harbaugh has missed the playoffs as a head coach.

What’s even more remarkable is that the dude might just get fired after taking the Niners to an incredible three straight NFC Championships. I guess upper management just doesn’t like his $12.99 khakis.

AFC Wild Card Picture – Win and you’re in!

The Chiefs are currently (8-6) and sitting in the 7th seed in the AFC – but they’ve got one huge advantage over the other three “mathematically” alive teams (Chargers, Bills, Texans). If Kansas City wins their last two games they’re guaranteed a return trip to the playoffs, thanks to the fact that they play next week against the 5th-seed Steelers.

Of course, beating Pittsburgh at Heinz Field will hardly be a walk in the park. Big Ben is having one of his best seasons ever and Le’Veon Bell is arguably the best back in the NFL right now.

And it’s not just their QB breaking records, either. Antonio Brown has matured into one of the premier receivers in the league.

They aren’t the Steelers of old that would break you down with their defense and chew up the clock with a power running attack, but with one of the NFL’s best at the three most important positions in the game, this team has a chance to go deep into the playoffs.

Inconsistency has been the bane of their existence this season, however, so this Chiefs-Steelers tilt could be one of the most exciting games to watch in week 16.

NFC Wild Card Picture: Set for all but a miracle

There’s lots of room for seed shuffling in the NFC (and the South is still up for grabs), but it appears as though Philadelphia has finally emerged as the best team to not make the playoffs in 2014.

It’s not over until the fat lady sings, but for all intents and purposes, these birds are cooked.

Even if they’re able to snap their two-game skid and win out, they’ll need help to squeeze in. They’ll be rooting for the Bears to beat the Lions and the Colts to beat the Cowboys in week 16 to stay alive. Of course, the Bucs beating the Packers would have the same effect, but there’s no way Green Bay gets upset two weeks in a row – especially not by a team with two wins all season.

Then again, if Sanchez can’t get back on track against the Redskins it’ll all be a moot point.

Remember when he stood in for Nick Foles like a cool new stepdad? Yeah, new dad might buy you beer, but your real father’s the one who loves you.

The Sanchez Experiment 2.0 may soon be coming to a close.

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Michael Airhart

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