Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This Could Be the Final Playoff Update

Okey doke, David lays it out for us all nice and pretty:
OK, considering the fact that we are "almost out" of the playoff picture, which one of the following would make for the best Christmas present?

A. Ben does not lead the league in INTs (to date, Ben=20, Kitna=19, Grossman=17)
B. We beat CIN
C. We beat BAL
D. We lose out and get the #8 pick in the draft
E. Anyone but BAL, CIN, DAL, or NE wins the SB

For me, it's E.
If I can only pick one, I'm going with E too. F Baltimore. F Cincy. F New England. But there's more!
  • Glenn: We beat CIN to knock them out of the playoffs...
  • Eric: is all but D an option?
  • Israel: I have no problem rooting for the Bears, if it comes to that.
  • Jesse: Anyone but NE, AFC North team, Jags, Cowboys. I tend to root for the Colts and Saints....I'm guessing SD wins it all, which wouldn't bother me, but wouldn't make me happy either.
  • Countertorque: I would pick C, but not at the expense of the Ravens going on to win the Superbowl. So, I guess that leaves me with E. If the Steelers don't make it, I'd like to see a Chargers/Colts AFCC.
And in what could prove to be the final playoff-scenario discussion we have for, oh, 11 months or so, Israel gives us latest the rundown:
Now that most have you have made your playoff remarks, here are mine. No big debate here, of course. Life support would be a generous description of the Steelers playoff hopes for this season.

Let's start with the Denver-Cincinnati pair. In order for the Steelers to finish ahead of both, Cincinnati must lose to the Colts and Denver and Denver must lost to Arizona and the 49ers. It is hard to say what might happen with Jay Cutler, but he could get his act together and Cincinnati could indeed lose all three games. But it looks nigh unto impossible that Denver will be good enough to beat the Bengals in between games where they are bad enough to lose to Arizona and the 49ers. Maybe if they bring Plummer back for the Bengals game, but he gets hurt for the SF game. Or if Carson Palmer goes down again. Or if Denver wins one NFC game and ties the Bengals. Summary - one of these will almost certainly finish ahead of the Steelers, so we cannot afford anyone else's doing so.

Next pair - Buffalo and Tennessee, who were not in previous analyses, but they are both 6-7 and doing well lately. They play each other in Week 16, so one gets loss number eight then. Buffalo finishes against Baltimore and Tennessee against NE, so whichever wins in Week 16, has a tough game in Week 17. In Week 15, Buffalo plays Miami in another "someone loses #8" game. We need Tennessee to defeat Jacksonville, hardly a pie-in-the-sky dream.

Speaking of which, we need Jacsonville to lose three games. They play TEN, NE and KC, so it's certainly a possibility. Remember these guys lost to Houston twice. But it is a tough scenario from the Steelers' vantagepoint.

We need SD to beat KC this week, thereby eliminating KC from any competition with the Steelers, who (for a change) hold the tiebreaker). Otherwise, after they play Oakland, they would be 9-6 and we would need them to tie Jacksonville in Week 17 to keep them both out.

Which leaves the 7-6 Jets. If they lose to the Vikings, but beat Miami and Oakland, they are 9-7 with a Conference tiebreaker advantage. If They lose only to Miami, we have to to to strength of victory tiebreaker, which I am not going to try to do. So we need them to lose two of three, which means the Vikings and the Dolphins - both possible.

Things look very bad, but there is no single mission here that is not doable. I mean, we need help, but not from Oakland, Houston, Tampa Bay, the Rams, Lions, Packers or Browns. And the only help we might need from Arizona and SF are regarding the Broncos, who are looking vulnerable. (Nor should we need any favors from the Ravens, other than losing in Week 16.) But doable individual missions is not the same as getting all of them to fall right. To illustrate, 70% may be good odds, but five 70% occureneces total less than 17% odds. We need more than five good breaks, for which there are less than 70% each. I mean, we need five good breaks every week!

So we are rooting this week for the Chargers, Colts, Cardinals, Titans, and Vikings. Oh yes, and the Steelers. All that can happen. At least this week.
Remember folks, keep hope alive. Or something like that.