Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Playoff Picture: Week 11 - AFC

This past week was not a very good one for teams pushing for playoff positioning.

New Orleans loses to Pittsburgh (although they did put up a good battle)
NY Giants lose to Chicago (Eli Manning absolutely hands the Bears a win... Chicago did not play well again on the road. In fact, the Bears are starting to look positively beatable. You can run on them if you get a helmet on Urlacher, and you can easily get into Rex Grossman's head.)
New England loses (at home AGAIN) to the Jets (and Bill Simmons eventually will acknowledge that Deion Branch was an enormous loss)
Cincinnati loses to the Chargers (virtually knocks them out of the playoffs)
Atlanta loses inexcusably to the Browns (they had a schedule advantage... this doesn't help)
Jacksonville loses AGAIN to the Texans (I'm speechless... just a terrible loss in every way)
Kansas City loses to Miami (went away from Larry Johnson... Damon Huard looked like he was believing his own hype)
Minnesota loses to the Packers (the Vikings officially played their best game of the season against us... which is why that loss still hurts the most)

By my count, that's eight teams who took hard losses, who didn't come up when they had to in big games (you could probably throw St Louis in there as well). The second half of the season is when it counts, when every game can be a playoff game. You have to bring it. Let's see what the aftermath was... although first we'll take a look at our Scientific Method, who didn't necessarily predict this bloodbath.

Week 10 Results:
Scientific Method: 10-6 (big kudos for picking the Browns win... we at CO love to pick further points in the "Michael Vick will never be the MVP in the NFL" bubble whenever possible"
Petey Prisco: 7-9
Bill Simmons: 10-6

Season Standings:
Petey Prisco: 90-54
Scientific Method: 89-55
Bill Simmons: 76-68

Science... you are that close. Do us proud. Don't make Prisco look good.

How about that playoff picture?

AFC

1. Indianapolis (9-0)
2. Denver (7-2... over Baltimore because of the better conference record, over San Diego with the better divisional record)
3. Baltimore (7-2)
4. New England (6-3... over San Diego because WC teams have to be #5-6)
5. San Diego (7-2)
6. NY Jets (5-4)

Round One: NY Jets at Baltimore, San Diego at New England (what a first round game!)

First off, what a turn around for the Jets to be in the playoffs right now, and here's how it happened. They are tied with Kansas City and Jacksonville with 5-4 records. However, Kansas City has an awful conference record of 1-4 (which means they definitely shouldn't be depending on tiebreakers to get in), and Jacksonville is at 3-3. So the Jets, with their 4-4 record slip in. Congrats to coach Mangini and friends. They're not a great team, but the AFC East is awful, and they are winning games. The Rams and Vikings are comparable teams who are not winning enough games against mediocre opposition.

Still in it right now (in my humble opinion) are the Jaguars, Chiefs, and Bengals (4-5). Everyone else has 6 losses, and while the Steelers have the talent, they have to virtually run the table to get in, and that's going to be quite the challenge. I'll stick them back on here later in necessary.

Okay, strength of schedule analysis...

Indianapolis - at Dallas, vs Philadelphia, at Tennessee, at Jacksonville, vs Cincinnati, at Houston, vs Miami
Denver - vs San Diego, at Kansas City, vs Seattle, at San Diego, at Arizona, vs Cincinnati, vs San Francisco
Baltimore - vs Atlanta, vs Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati, at Kansas City, vs Cleveland, at Pittsburgh, vs Buffalo
New England - at Green Bay, vs Chicago, vs Detroit, at Miami, vs Houston, at Jacksonville, at Tennessee
San Diego - at Denver, vs Oakland, at Buffalo, vs Denver, vs Kansas City, at Seattle, vs Arizona
NY Jets - vs Chicago, vs Houston, at Green Bay, vs Buffalo, at Minnesota, at Miami, vs Oakland

Jacksonville - vs NY Giants, at Buffalo, at Miami, vs Indianapolis, at Tennessee, vs New England, at Kansas City
Kansas City - vs Oakland, vs Denver, at Cleveland, vs Baltimore, at San Diego, at Oakland, vs Jacksonville
Cincinnati - at New Orleans, at Cleveland, vs Baltimore, vs Oakland, at Indianapolis, at Denver, vs Pittsburgh

So what does this mean? Well, for starters the Colts really have the #1 seed all locked up. Any moron can tell you that. Denver took care of business (barely) against the Raiders, but are starting a completely killer stretch that will define their season. Baltimore and New England should hang on, even if the Jets continue to improve... I just can't see the Jets taking the AFC East crown. Still, the Jets have a fairly easy road compared to the other teams, especially the Bengals, who end their season with three killer games. They almost have to run the table now to reach those with an 8-5 record.

Who knows what the Jaguars are going to do week to week? They simply can't afford to continue giving these games away? It's nuts!

My predictions continue to hold steady though... we'll see what happens when Denver hits this run of bad games. If they move through easily, I'm a moron. If they don't, I'll be the only pundit to pick the collapse. Go Gavin!

I have to jump into a seminar and so have to wait to do the NFC until later, so everyone can look forward to that.

posted by Gavin @ 2:09 PM  0 comments

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