Four things that will be decided this week; updated MVP rankings

Another wild weekend in the NFL gave us another chance to examine the reality of what’s coming in the very near future. The Jaguars and Panthers — two teams that seemed to be going nowhere a couple months ago — are suddenly very much in control of their chances to win their respective divisions. The Green Bay Packers’ situation is not as favorable as those two squads’, but their door to the postseason is much wider than anyone ever imagined back when they were 3-6. On the other hand, a handful of hopeful contenders absorbed losses they could ill afford, including the Patriots, Jets, Lions, Seahawks and Titans.

We now enter Week 17 with a chance to make predictions that don’t feel so bold anymore. There’s enough evidence of where teams are headed, whether that’s a positive or negative direction, and there’s very little time left for most to alter their likely fates. The teams that belong in the postseason will find a way to ultimately reach that destination. The ones that don’t want to know exactly where their seasons went south and what factors played the most impactful roles in their eventual demise.

Think about it. We’re heading into a weekend where the greatest quarterback in history is flirting with the possibility of missing the playoffs while healthy for the first time in two decades. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is fighting to keep his 7-8 squad alive, as well, along with his streak of never enduring a losing season with that franchise.

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