Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Playoffs?!? Playoffs!?! Week 13 (Yeah, right edition)

Jeebus. At least give Israel credit for not giving up.
Playoff analysis going into Week 13, with almost all hope lost. But I take some encouragement from the odds this week. The Steelers are favored by 8.5, while SD is only 6 over Buffalo, KC is only 5 over Cleveland and Dallas is only 3.5 over the Giants. So someone thinks we have something left.

So here goes. The Steelers have to win out and go 9-7, with six conference losses.

San Diego takes their division - hopefully winning enough to keep pressure on Indianapolis, so that the Colts will play seriously the rest of the way. But Baltimore has to stay close enough to the Patriots so the Pats will have what to play for too.

KC is 7-4. They will win at least three against Cleveland, Baltimore, Oakland and Jacksonville (conceding their game @SD), so they are #5 seed at 10-6, or maybe even 11-5.

Cincinnati is still out, as far as I am concerned. They have lost five plus Week 17 against the Steelers. Even if they beat Oakland and Demver, they still have Indianapolis and Baltimore, so they are still 8-8. (If PIT and CIN are both 9-7, CIN probably wins on strength of schedule.)

Jacksonville has lost five games and will lose at least three to MIA, IND, TEN, NE and KC. Three of those will be playing for playoff position and the other two are rising stars. No better that 8-8.

Miami has already lost six and they still have NE and IND, which has to be good for one loss, even if they beat JAX, BUF and NYJ. We hold the tiebreaker here, but 7-9 is more likely for the Dolphoins that 9-7.

(I will remove the loser of the MIA @JAX game this week from next week's analysis.)

That leaves Denver and the Jets. The Jets have an easy schedule, but have already lost five games, only four in the conference. They play GB, BUF, MIN, MIA and OAK. Figure they lose to the Dolphins. If they lose one more, they go 9-7, but unless it's Buffalo or Oakland, they will win the tiebreaker against the Steelers due to conference losses. If they tie on that too, I don't know who wins on the next tiebreaker. See we are rooting for two out of GB, BUF and MIN, plus Miami.

Denver has lost four, but they are playing a rookie QB and look vulnerable. They also hold the tiebreaker over the Steelers, so we need them to lose four of five and go 8-8. Not much chance, I grant you. They can lose to Seattle and San Diego the next two weeks. Then they have Arizona, so forget that. Cincinnati may take Week 16. Could it be that the Steelers season can hang on the 49ers beating the Colts in Week 17? Fascinating possibility, considering SF's last few games.

Let's have at least one more week before we hold the wake. Root for PIT, BAL, SEA, and GB. That seems doable, no? (And if you don't buy KC as #5 seed, root for the Browns too, if you can. I'll reopen the #5 race if the Browns win this Sunday.)