NFL Regular Season Coming to a Close


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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool celebrate a play

   As the NFL gets closer and closer to the playoffs this season, we are seeing many teams outperform themselves from previous years and a few teams underperform from what was expected. Last year’s Super Bowl champions were the Kansas City Chiefs. With young stars such as Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill leading the team, they have not fallen short of what many people predicted with a solid record of 11-1. Along with their staple pass offense led by Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, The Chiefs have brought a new threat to the table with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Overall, last year’s Super Bowl champs have not fallen short of expectations.

   Only one other team shares an 11-1 record with the Chiefs and that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were undefeated at 11-0 until this week when the Washington Football team proved too much for the Steelers, winning 23-17. The Steelers, another pass-heavy team, is led by NFL veteran Ben Roethlisberger. Along with Ben, Juju Smith-Schuster, a fairly new face to the NFL, is the leader of the receiving core, with rookies Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.

   One team that has not lived up to this season’s expectations is the Baltimore Ravens. Due to their recent 4 game losing streak, last year’s Super Bowl favorite Ravens are now 6-4. 

   The NFC is led by the New Orleans Saints who have so far posted an impressive 10-2 record. The Saints lost starting quarterback Drew Brees to a rib injury in week 10. Despite this major setback to the Saints season, backup quarterback Taysum Hill has stepped up big time, not losing a game as the starting quarterback. Some crucial components to the Saints offense are star running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas. It will be interesting to see if Taysom Hill can keep up the act until Drew’s expected week 15 return.

   Overall, the AFC is looking like it will be the more competitive conference as we come closer to the playoffs. With teams that have potential as dangerous as the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoffs right now, as well as the #1 and #2 teams in the league, anything can happen.

   As for the rules, the NFL has been doing pretty well to limit COVID-19 outbreaks, making players who test positive as well as high-risk players quarantine to limit the spread of the virus. Along with this masks are being worn on the sidelines by coaches and teams get the choice whether to not allow fans or to allow them in limited capacity given they wear masks. The Super Bowl is set to be played at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ stadium this February and Roger Goodell says fans will be allowed to attend. Although fans will be allowed in, capacity is said to be limited to 13,000-15,000 fans in the stadium which normally seats over 65,000. Will this cause Super Bowl ticket prices to skyrocket, or will they just be offered to select people such as season ticket holders for the teams that are playing? There is no doubt that this will be interesting to watch unfold along with the playoffs in a few weeks.