• Birds, Cats and Aquatic Mammals: A Disorganized Mind looks at the AFC Playoff Picture


    [This article was going to be called birds, cats and fish, but my OCD wouldn't allow me to call Dolphins fish]

    Other than a few anomalies (noted below), the AFC comes down the the Ravens, Bengals and Dolphins fighting for the last 2 playoff spots. Because the Bengals and Ravens play each other in week 17, each can make the playoffs by winning their last 2 games.

    Dolphins
    2-0: Will get in if they win their last 2 because they will either have a better record than the Ravens or the tie-breaker over the Bengals, depending on who wins in week 17.
    1-1: Would get in if either the Bengals or Ravens lose their last 2.
    0-2: Out

    Bengals and Ravens
    Bengals can clinch the division this week with a win over the Vikings and a Ravens loss to the Patriots. Otherwise, the winner of the Ravens @ Bengals game in week 17 will win the division.
    1-1: If either team wins this week but loses week 17, they would still be the wildcard if the Dolphins lose at least 1 game. Out if the Dolphins go 2-0.
    0-2: both teams could still back into the playoffs if the Dolphins also go 0-2. The Ravens would also need to Chargers to lose at least 1 game.
    **For the 2nd week in a row, the Bengals can gain some ground on someone with a win. They would clinch the division if the Patriots beat the Ravens or move into the #2 seed if the Ravens beat the Patriots.

    Anomalies

    Chargers
    6-game parlay: get the 2nd wildcard if they win out and the Dolphins and Ravens both lose out.

    Steelers
    Need every NFL team and several NBA teams to lose out.
    I know that there's a way for the Steelers to get in but I'm too lazy to look it up. They obviously need to win out, have the Dolphins and Ravens both lose out and the Chargers lose at least 1, possibly 2. I think the Jets also need to win both of their games. I don't know.

    Dolphins win the East
    Dolphins win out and the Patriots lose out. They split the season series. Dolphins would win the division on either common games or conference record, I'm not sure which (see above - lazy).

    Birds, Cats and Fish*
    6-game parlay: Ravens, Bengals and Dolphins could all make the playoffs with the Patriots missing out only if:
    Patriots go 0-2
    Dolphins go 2-0
    Bengals beat the Vikings and lose to the Ravens (who would have beaten the Patriots in week 16)
    That would make all 4 teams 10-6. Dolphins win the East (see above). Ravens win the North (keep seeing above). Bengals win head to head tie-breaker over the Patriots.
    *aquatic mammals

    AFC South
    Colts have won the division, everyone else is out. Colts are currently the #4 seed (lost to the Bengals) but could move as high as #1 (they beat the Broncos) with help (lots of it).

    AFC West
    Broncos and Chiefs are both 11-3 but the Broncos swept the Chiefs. The Chiefs can win the division by gaining 1 game but the Broncos play the Texans and Raiders (combined 6-22).

    Any objections?

    Comments 49 Comments
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      This last week turned the whole thing into a mess and opened up more possibilities.

      http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/machine



      # 1My first go 'round with picking who I think will win each game:

      AFC:
      1. Denver 13-3*
      2. Indy 11-5
      3. New England 11-5*
      4. Baltimore 10-6 (How? Freaking Nuts)
      5. Kansas City 11-5
      6. Miami 10-6

      NFC
      1. Seattle 14-2*
      2. Carolina 12-4
      3. Philadelphia 10-6*
      4. Green Bay 9-6-1*
      5. San Francisco 12-4*
      6. New Orleans 11-5*

      I starred matches to my pre-season predictions. I'd love to go 8 for 12, but possibilities have me getting 7 as the most likely scenario as well. I am happy to say that I did have the Chiefs and the Colts just on the outside-looking-in, but minus points to me for not having the guts to go with them.


      #2The "I could see this, too:'" scenario:

      AFC:
      1. Denver 13-3*
      2. New England 12-4*
      3. Indy 11-5
      4. Cincy 10-6*
      5. Kansas City 11-5
      6. Miami 10-6

      NFC:
      1. Seattle 14-2*
      2. Carolina 12-4
      3. Green Bay 9-6-1*
      4. Dallas 9-7
      5. New Orleans 11-5*
      6. San Francisco 11-5*

      #3The "Why not, this season is sooo effed-up" scenario:

      AFC:
      1. Denver 13-3*
      2. New England 12-4*
      3. Cincy 10-6*
      4. Indy 10-6
      5. Kansas City 13-3
      6. Miami 10-6

      NFC:
      1. Seattle 13-3*
      2. New Orleans 12-4*
      3. Chicago 9-7
      4. Philadelphia 9-7*
      5. San Francisco 11-5*
      6. Arizona 11-5

      #4The "The Opposite Happens of What I think in Every Big Game" scenario:

      AFC:
      1. Denver 13-3*
      2. New England 12-4*
      3. Cincinnati 10-6*
      4. Indy 9-7
      5. KC 13-3
      6. Miami 10-6

      NFC:
      1. Seattle 13-3*
      2. New Orleans 12-4*
      3. Chicago 10-6
      4. Dallas 8-8
      5. Carolina 11-5
      6. San Francisco 11-5*
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Andy, I can confirm what you wrote with the Steelers.

      They need the Jets to win out, Miami and Baltimore to lose out, win out themselves and finish in a tie with the Chargers to beat them in conference record. Also, the Raptors need to lose within the next 12 hours after a Spurs loss.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      It's possible that, for the 2nd year in a row, the AFC will return 5 teams to the playoffs (the Texans probably won't make it).
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Andy, I can confirm what you wrote with the Steelers.

      They need the Jets to win out, Miami and Baltimore to lose out, win out themselves and finish in a tie with the Chargers to beat them in conference record. Also, the Raptors need to lose within the next 12 hours after a Spurs loss.
      Seems like every year the Steelers need a Spurs loss. That's turning into a great rivalry.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      Seems like every year the Steelers need a Spurs loss. That's turning into a great rivalry.
      I hear the Steelers have it out for Nando de Colo. He better watch out.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      This whole thing screams that the NFC will win the Super Bowl this year.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      This whole thing screams that the NFC will win the Super Bowl this year.
      Don't forget, this is no ordinary Super Bowl, it will be played outdoors in New York in February. How's this for a nightmare scenario:
      Saints get the #2 seed.
      Panthers or 49ers beat the Seahawks, giving the Saints home field for the NFC Championship game.
      Saints play a cold weather team (especially the Patriots) in snow and wind.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar


    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      Don't forget, this is no ordinary Super Bowl, it will be played outdoors in New York in February. How's this for a nightmare scenario:
      Saints get the #2 seed.
      Panthers or 49ers beat the Seahawks, giving the Saints home field for the NFC Championship game.
      Saints play a cold weather team (especially the Patriots) in snow and wind.
      Saints almost beat NE in their house. Might pull it off in a neutral venue. The wind in that stadium is a serious deal, though.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      This whole thing screams that the NFC will win the Super Bowl this year.
      In the zone blitz, I predicted that at this point, the AFC won't even have a Super Bowl representative this year. So yes, looks good for the NFC. If Philly and Chicago get in, I think top to bottom, the NFC playoffs will be compelling and rich.

      Of course, there is one team in the AFC sneaking up on everyone. And it's the same team that snuck up on all of us last year too. A Super Bowl run for the Ravens this year looks a whole lot more likely than it did at this exact same point last year.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      In the zone blitz, I predicted that at this point, the AFC won't even have a Super Bowl representative this year. So yes, looks good for the NFC. If Philly and Chicago get in, I think top to bottom, the NFC playoffs will be compelling and rich.

      Of course, there is one team in the AFC sneaking up on everyone. And it's the same team that snuck up on all of us last year too. A Super Bowl run for the Ravens this year looks a whole lot more likely than it did at this exact same point last year.
      I thought you were going to say the Dolphins.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      I thought you were going to say the Dolphins.
      They're the other thought. I've thought all year the AFC would have an out-of-the-blue representative. I just don't buy into the top end. The Dolphins were on my radar early, fell off quickly, and are slowly climbing back. But I certainly didn't think that "out-of-the-blue" would include the defending champs, but somehow, they've managed to sneak up on everybody.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      They're the other thought. I've thought all year the AFC would have an out-of-the-blue representative. I just don't buy into the top end. The Dolphins were on my radar early, fell off quickly, and are slowly climbing back. But I certainly didn't think that "out-of-the-blue" would include the defending champs, but somehow, they've managed to sneak up on everybody.
      If the Dolphins go to the Super Bowl I'll eat this website.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      If the Dolphins go to the Super Bowl I'll eat this website.
      That could fit on a tiny SD card. You need to print out every page and eat them -- now that would be a challenge.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      Seems like every year the Steelers need a Spurs loss. That's turning into a great rivalry.
      They also need a Red Sox loss. So it isn't looking good for them.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      This whole thing screams that the NFC will win the Super Bowl this year.
      Why? The NFC was far superior to the AFC last year. And guess who won the super bowl. An AFC team.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      Why? The NFC was far superior to the AFC last year. And guess who won the super bowl. An AFC team.
      Well, Mr. Argumentative, the AFC doesn't seem to have any teams which play well on both sides of the ball. The NFC does.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Well, Mr. Argumentative, the AFC doesn't seem to have any teams which play well on both sides of the ball. The NFC does.
      And you could have said the same thing last year and the Ravens did a fine job coming together on offense and defense.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      They also need a Red Sox loss. So it isn't looking good for them.
      Things are looking much less bleak after last night. The Sens lost to New Jersey, which was huge, since Ottawa was holding an advantage in the all-important +/- category. They still need a bit of help, but so far, everything seems to be falling the Steelers' way.
    1. tubbs1518's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Things are looking much less bleak after last night. The Sens lost to New Jersey, which was huge, since Ottawa was holding an advantage in the all-important +/- category. They still need a bit of help, but so far, everything seems to be falling the Steelers' way.
      But what you forgot is the Heat beat the Pacers, which gives them a better conference record as of today.