The final five weeks of the 2016 NFL Season loom ahead for football fans across America. This wildly entertaining campaign, filled with excitement, drama and controversy, is about to get even more interesting. Contending teams are jockeying for playoff positions. The holiday season is closing in. Regular season football is almost over. Here are five things to think about as we enter the “home stretch.”
One of the most intriguing topics for football fans, analysts and commentators to discuss, following the conclusion of the NFL season, centers on the head coaches facing termination from their respective organizations. These coaches either failed to deliver the promises made to their fan base, lost the confidence of the locker room or both. Regardless of the circumstance, the following three head coaches are on the hot seat. Any more wrong doing, on their part, could result in them standing in the unemployment line in January.
The 2016 NFL season is officially five weeks in; it is time to take a look at the five biggest takeaways from the season, thus far, and examine them. Several learning points existed throughout the first five weeks, but the following five presented the most eye-opening reactions from fans around the country.
The AFC West was a two team race in 2015. The Denver Broncos found themselves on top of the division, for a fifth consecutive season, after a close battle with the surging Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs’ 10 game winning streak to close the season was not enough to seal the deal as Denver’s division championship was secured following a week 17 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Will Kansas City’s fortunes be better in 2016? Will the Broncos prove, for a sixth straight time, that they are the team to beat in the AFC West? What about the up and coming Oakland Raiders? Will the ascending Raiders shock the world?
The AFC East has been the least interesting division for over a decade because of one team: the New England Patriots. The Patriots continue to find ways to win this division, regardless of the circumstances that may interfere. With another one of those circumstances getting in the way, is 2016 the year when the reigns of the AFC East are finally snatched from the four time Superbowl champions?
The AFC South was a weak division in 2015; producing two teams with losing records and one team which should have finished with a worse record than it actually did. The Houston Texans finished with a 7-2 record after a 1-5 start to win the AFC South with nine wins. Will the Texans have the good fortunes to repeat in 2016? Will the Indianapolis Colts reclaim the division they have dominated for over a decade? Will there be a surprise champion in this season?
The AFC North produced two playoff teams in 2015: the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals captured their second division championship in three seasons while the Steelers reached the postseason as the wild card. The bitter rivals faced each other in one of the most physical playoff games in recent memory leaving no doubt in fan’s minds that there is no love lost between the two franchises. With Cincinnati and Pittsburgh equally projected to take the crown in 2016, which one will reign supreme over the other?