The Road to the Super Bowl: NFL Standings

Brigit McDannell ‘18
Sports Editor

As the academic semester comes to a close for college students, the NFL season is heating up in preparation for America’s favorite sporting event — the Super Bowl.  Airing Feb. 7 on CBS, the game will be held at the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. and marks the 50th edition of the monumental game. Sports aficionados have dubbed this coming year’s occasion the “Golden Super Bowl,” referring to  both the state in which the game is being held and the significant anniversary marker.

The American Football Conference (AFC) predicts the New England Patriots will make the top seed and the Cincinnati Bengals the second seed. Both teams are strong top contenders for the coveted title. The Patriots have won 10 games, lost one and are currently 4-0 in their division. The Bengals have won nine, lost two and are 3-0 in their division. The AFC’s wildcards include the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans, the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs. Concurrently, the Nation Football Conference (NFC) predicts different team outcomes. NFC places the Carolina Panthers as first seed and the Arizona Cardinals as second seed. NFC’s wildcard teams include the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers, the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks.  The geographical dichotomy in the two conference’s top competitors is interesting. The AFC favors the East Coast teams while the FNC favors Midwestern and Western teams.

On Nov. 29, the Patriots lost to the Broncos, 24-30, marking their only loss thus far for this season.  According to ESPN Sports writer Mike Reiss, quarterback Tom Brady was unhappy with the game’s results. Brady regarded the team’s defeat as one of the worst mishaps of his football career, saying to sports radio station WEEI, “It was a very hard loss. I don’t think I’ve ever been so pissed off after a loss. I think everyone felt the same way.” On a more positive note, Brady wishes to use this loss to encourage better performances in the future. As he said, “Hopefully we can use it as motivation going forward.”

The game had additional setbacks.  Tight end Rob Gronkowski experienced a traumatic knee injury. He was carted off the field by the athletic trainers with two minutes remaining in the final quarter. “Tough game. This one hurts,” Brady later said to WEEI. “I think the circumstances of the game, the circumstances of the situation that we were in – having a good lead in the fourth quarter, then having a couple huge third downs that we made called back by penalty, then losing a player like Gronk [Gronkowski] in the fourth quarter, and then fighting back like we did to get it to overtime,” said Brady. Hopefully the Patriots will be able to move past this minor blip in an otherwise prolific season and continue to dominate their division.  The Patriots will compete against famed rival, the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 6.

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