The NFL playoff picture cleared up in some ways in Week 15, with teams like the 49ers and Vikings officially falling out of contention. But with just two games left on the schedule for each team after tonight, several clubs remain in the hunt for the conference’s No. 1 seed and homefield advantage. Intra-divisional showdowns will be key over the next two weeks, with the Cardinals preparing to host the Seahawks in Week 16, and the Lions and Packers gearing up for a Week 17 game at Lambeau Field.
While we wait to see how the NFC standings shake out, and which contender is left out of the postseason, let’s check in on a few items from around the conference….
- Appearing on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM today, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim indicated that his team will add a quarterback to its practice squad “for emergency purposes” (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). The club intends to stick with Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas on its active roster, while Drew Stanton recovers from his knee injury.
- While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stopped short of publicly announcing that Jason Garrett would return for next season, an extension for the head coach seems like something of a formality at this point, writes Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s very obvious that he is doing very well and his hard work is paying off,” Jones said of Garrett.
- The Buccaneers are in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall pick for the 2015 draft, which would give them the opportunity to select a quarterback like Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. However, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk suggests that Tampa Bay should focus on building a roster with a great defense and a strong running game rather than continuing to search for a franchise quarterback. Smith argues that allocating money and resources to areas that other teams aren’t necessarily prioritizing, rather than playing catch-up at QB, could give the club a competitive edge.
- With six sacks and 13 solo tackles in his last three games, Giants defender Jason Pierre-Paul is finishing strong as he approaches potential free agency, writes Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com. Pierre-Paul and Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant top Fitzgerald’s list of players in contract years who improved their stocks this week.