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The Playing Field Has Never Been This Level

Mill Woods

Posted on December 1, 2021 18:37

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Any football fans who wonder if NFL competition is really as tight as I have been saying need to take a good, long look at the teams' current win-loss records. The tally shows that about half of the teams are huddled near the .500. mark. We're going into December, and all of the playoff spots are up for grabs. Love it or hate it, that’s extreme parity at work.

In this first weekend of December, 2021, we are seeing more competitiveness than at any time in NFL history. This late in the season, the fans of 27 of 32 teams should still be sitting on the edge of their seats — there are only five teams that can reasonably be called ‘out of the running.’ And no team is undefeated — or even close; the league-leading Cardinals have two losses, and the next three winningest teams already have three losses.
 
PS: I believe that we will never again see an undefeated team in the NFL (the last time was in 1972). By comparison, college football has no draft, and so, no leveling of the playing field. The number of true college contenders in a given year is in the single digits, and it is a regular occurrence that a champion goes undefeated. Parity? There’s no such thing in college football, which is why I prefer the pros.
 

In the National Conference, half of the 16 teams have a W-L record between 40% and 60%. In the lead are the Cardinals, Packers, Bucs and Cowboys. Then come a slew of teams in the middle — all within a game or two of each other.  Last are the Lions and Seahawks, the only two NFC teams that we might reasonably call 'out of the running'.
 
In the AFC, it's even tighter, especially in the AFC North and AFC West, where all eight teams are in striking distance of the division title. The AFC East and AFC South titles are still up for grabs, but the Jaguars, Jets and Texans can reasonably be labeled 'out of the running'.
 
In Week 13, the suddenly-deadly Bengals host the tough Rams, while the Steelers try to stay in the division hunt against the Ravens. Later, the Broncos and Chiefs fight for the AFC West lead, and Monday night, the Patriots and Bills meet to settle the AFC East.
 
With such competitivenss, there is no longer any shame in a team being .500.  Last week, my picks went 7-8. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that I can get back on the winning side (early in the season, I was regularly getting over 60% of my picks correct). Here are all the games of Week 13 — and my intrepid picks:
 
    Away                 Home                  My Pick
 
1.     Cowboys          Saints             Cowboys
2.     Giants             Dolphins          Dolphins
3.     Colts                Texans            Colts
4.     Vikings             Lions               Vikings
5.     Eagles             Jets                  Jets
6.     Cardinals          Bears              Cardinals
7.     Rams               Bengals            Bengals
8.     Bucs                 Falcons            Bucs
9.     Jaguars             Rams              Rams
10.  Washington        Raiders           Raiders
11.  Ravens              Steelers          Ravens
12.  49ers               Seahawks        49ers
13.  Broncos            Chiefs             Chiefs
14.  Patriots            Bills                 Bills
 
If you enjoy football drama, December is certainly your month.

Mill Woods

Posted on December 1, 2021 18:37

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The New England Patriots are set to star in the biggest game on the NFL 's Week 13 slate when they travel to Orchard Park...

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