Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Playoffs?!? Playoffs!?! Week 2

Well, as long as Israel is Keeping Hope Alive, I'll do my part by posting his playoff updates:
OK, here are my playoff comments going into Week 12.

This is all still based on the premise that the Steelers will win out, though the first three quarters against the Browns makes that even more unlikely than before. But without that , there is nothing further to be said.

Cincinnati - The 9.5% odds (based on DVOA) that they will get the wild card is nonsense. I simply cannot believe that they will win three of four against Baltimore, Indianapolis, Denver and Pittsburgh, even giving them Cleveland and Oakland. 8-8 still looks good from here.

The Steelers' chances of taking the division from Baltimore look meagre after the Ravens beat Atlanta soundly. We need both Cincinnati and KC to beat them and that is what, a 15% probability? I am glad the Cincinnati game is first, because now we will know whom to root for when Baltimore goes to KC. If CIN wins, we are for KC, because the division is still a possibility. If CIN loses, then we root for BAL against KC to help our wild card chances.

I am still assuming that all the contenders beat Oakland, Cleveland, Houston, Buffalo, Arizona and Detroit. I have removed the 49ers from that category, but they play only Denver, so that's not a critical call.

San Diego has the playoffs nearly sewn up, with eight wins in hand plus OAK, BUF and ARI making eleven. So we will root for them to beat DEN and KC too, to give them the division and make our lives easier. We don't really care if they beat Seattle or not.

Denver has seven wins plus Arizona making eight. Beyond that, even if they lose at SD, they have a good chance to make eleven by taking two of four from KC, SEA, CIN and SF. But it's not at all a sure thing and they could still be 10-6. Denver has two conference losses, so they'd almost surely hold a tiebreaker over the Steelers in that category.

KC has won six and go to eight with Cleveland and Oakland. To get to ten, they need two out of four from DEN, BAL, SD and JAX and even then they are in poor tiebreaker position as all their losses are in the conference. Thursday night's game will be critical here.

Jacksonville has won six and can pad that with only Buffalo. They have IND, NE and KC, plus the rising Titans and Dolphins and I just cannot see their taking three of those five. Call them 9-7 at best.

I have added 4-6 Miami to the list of contenders, not because I really think they can win out and go 10-6, but because they have won the last three and have Buffalo and Detroit coming up, plus a resting IND in Week 17. Their other three are NE, JAX and the Jets. But they have five conference losses and the Steelers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker if it comes to that.

The Jets are looking poorly at 5-5, but with three presumed wins against HOU, BUF and OAK, they have only the mediocre Packers, Vikings and Dolphins (all on the road). They can still win out. Last week's loss was expected, so no real change here.

New England has seven wins plus Houston and Detroit making nine. I don't expect them to beat the Bears, so they need may two of three from JAX, MIA and TEN (the last two of which are doing much better as the season progresses) to take the division at 11-5. I still won't concede them the division and if at 10-6 they lose it to 11-5 Jets, their five conference losses won't do them any good in the WC calculations.

Way too early to do serious tiebreaker scenarios.