Each week, we preview teams that are moving up and moving down in our weekly Football Relativity comparison. We’ll analyze all 32 teams on Tuesday.
Rise – New York Jets – The Jets went into Pittsburgh and won a hard-fought game 22-17. The win stabilizes the Jets’ playoff hopes, and it also gives them an emotional lift after two disappointing/devastating losses. It’s strange to say it, but the most important harbinger for the Jets is Brad Smith. When Smith scores, as he did Sunday, he gives the Jets a boost that makes it nearly impossible to beat the Jets in a low-scoring game.
Sink – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs have played close games all year, and they have lost a ton of key players to injuries over the last few weeks. Still, losing at home to a Lions team that hadn’t won on the road in 26 games was a devastating loss. The 23-20 decision all but knocks the Bucs out of the playoff hunt, and now their hope is for a winning season following last year’s 3-13 debacle. Tampa has taken huge steps forward this year, but this loss assures that the playoffs aren’t possible.
Float – New Orleans Saints – The Saints lost 30-24 at Baltimore, but we won’t dock the Saints for a road loss to a good team. Yes, the Saints will likely have to go the wild-card route in the playoffs, but they’re still a very dangerous team. Now they must focus on securing the fifth seed so they get a favorable matchup against an NFC West champ in the first round.