Opinion: NFL Week 12 brought separation, clearer playoff picture

Austin Troutman / Sports Editor

 

Week 12 in the 2017 National Football League season has provided some separation in the standings to give us a clearer picture of what the playoffs could look like.

Before the action started in the AFC, three teams were close to each other fighting for number one seed, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and New England.

The Steelers and Patriots both entered Week 12 with a record of 8-2, while the Jaguars sat one game behind at 7-3.

While in the NFC, Philadelphia remained number one seed at 9-1 with Minnesota and New Orleans sitting one game back with an 8-2 record.

The Saints traveled to Los Angeles for the game of the week across football, as the Rams would tie New Orleans with a win.

With the Rams victorious along with a blowout by the Eagles and a Thanksgiving win by the Vikings, only one game separates two NFC teams.

In Week 13, Minnesota travels to take on the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, while the Eagles travel to Seattle for a primetime fight against the Seahawks.

The AFC picture is also starting to see some separation.

With Jacksonville losing in an upset to the Cardinals and the Patriots running wild in a win against Miami, it came down to Sunday Night Football in a game that many thought would be a blowout.

Green Bay visited Heinz Field in Pittsburgh to take on the red-hot Steelers who scored 40 points on the Thursday before Thanksgiving against the Titans.

Brett Hundley and the Packers were there to prove to the world that they will not just give up easily, even when playing a tough competitor.

The game came down to the wire, but after an amazing catch by Antonio Brown on the sideline with 13 seconds left, Pittsburgh had its shot to win the game.

Head coach Mike Tomlin sent out kicker Chris Boswell for a 53-yard field goal attempt, which is tough in Heinz Field, because it would match the all-time long in the 17-year history of the stadium.

Boswell kicked it through with room to spare as the game clock hit zero to give the Steelers its ninth win of the 2017 season and keep pace with the Patriots in the AFC.

Looking ahead, Week 15 still brings us a game that we can mark on our calendars when Tom Brady brings his defending Super Bowl champion Patriots into Heinz Field to clash with Antonio Brown and the title hungry Steelers.

With five weeks left in the NFL regular season, a lot can still happen.

The last month and change will bring even more surprises and the greatest football games since Super Bowl 51.

What will we see next?

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