The Chargers, who won five in a row early then stumbled through a three-game losing streak, have won three straight, including an upset victory Sunday at Baltimore. At 8-4, they are a game behind the first-place
"As stacked as everybody is, as close as our division is … you could say it's playoff mode," Chargers linebacker
In Cleveland, reality bites. Last month, the Browns were in first place in the
Not only that, but the Browns could make a quarterback change from struggling starter
"I'm not leaning one way or another," Pettine said Monday. "But there's a lot to consider. ... We do look at the body of work. But given the play recently at that position, it's time to discuss it."
Meanwhile, in Arizona, the duct-taped-together Cardinals are starting to come apart. They have lost two in a row and are desperate for a victory, strange to say for a team that at 9-3 remains in first in the
"The next one is huge to maintain where we're at," said Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians, whose team plays host to Kansas City on Sunday. "The sky has not fallen yet. We're still No. 1, and we're playing at home. We need to stay there this week and just take them one at a time."
Everyone is dealing with injuries at this point in the season, but Arizona has been hit particularly hard, having lost starting quarterback
In the second quarter of Sunday's defeat at Atlanta, the Cardinals saw three starters sidelined: safety
The next four games will be a significant test for Arians, the leading coach-of-the-year candidate.
"Just go back to work," he said, when asked how he keeps the season from slipping away. "There are two pictures — a two-game losing streak and you're 9-3. Why did you get to 9-3, and how did you get the two-game losing streak?"
Asked whether he's calm with his players or ratchets up the energy and passion now that it's crunch time, Arians said: "I'm just honest. When you stink, you stink. You point out how you stunk and get it corrected. No, I don't throw chairs and holler and do all that stuff that's non-productive. That's not teaching. You have to teach in order to get things corrected."
With four games to go, some teams will ace their test. Others will get schooled.