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Who’s clinched a playoff berth? Helped/hurt their chances?

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If you want to find teams to start giving up on in this category, here are three to consider: the New England Patriots (7-7, No. 8 in AFC), New York Jets (7-7, No. 9 in AFC) and Seattle Seahawks (7-7, No. 8 in NFC). They’ve all had some encouraging stretches this season but seem too flawed at this stage to inspire hope. The Patriots — who have lost three of their last four games — had that disastrous lateral play that ended up as a walk-off, 48-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones in Sunday’s 30-24 loss. The Jets were reminded once again why Zach Wilson isn’t capable of leading this team when it needs a crucial win. And the Seahawks can’t run the ball or stop the run consistently anymore.

On the other hand, the Miami Dolphins (8-6, No. 7 in AFC) are better than their three-game losing streak might suggest. The 49ers and Bills are two of the best teams in the league, while the Chargers are hitting their stride. There’s no shame in falling to opponents like those, especially when considering that Miami fought Buffalo to the end in that Saturday night loss. The Dolphins may be clinging to that last wild-card spot, but they’re good enough to hold on.

The same probably can’t be said for the Washington Commanders (7-6-1, No. 7 in NFC). They have the 49ers and Dallas coming up after taking a tie and a loss to the Giants in consecutive games. Facing those teams is not going to be an easy task. Finally, we can talk about teams that are still mathematically alive — a group that includes the Las Vegas Raiders (6-8, No. 11 in AFC), Cleveland Browns (6-8, No. 12 in AFC), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8, No. 13 in AFC), Green Bay Packers (5-8, No. 10 in NFC), Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1, No. 14 in AFC), Los Angeles Rams (4-9, No. 14 in NFC) and every other team in the NFC South — but we’d be wasting time and space. None of those teams have shown enough to make one think they will go on miraculous runs over the next three weeks.

Image & Story Credit: nfl.com

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