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Re: Re:

The Hitch said:
movingtarget said:
Nice upset by the 49ers. Colts was a huge win. I am more convinced than ever that the Patriots run is coming to an end. Great period for them all the same.

Eagles got hot just in time to face the Texans meaning Pats get the first round bye despite being maybe the 5th best team in the AFC due to having the easiest schedule in the league.

My prediction from a few weeks ago unfortunately becomes more and more likely every week.

The 5th seed chargers will beat 4th seed meaning that the Pats despite being the lower ranked team the easier matchup, against the Texans in Boston, whereas the 2 best teams - LA and KC fight it out.

Murphies (Brady's Law) then kicks in of everything that can go right for the Pats going right for the Pats. Chargers probably scrape through on a coin flip, giving Fborough the AFC Championship yet again.
The way the final rounds have been playing out, just as I was about to downplay the Patriots chances, other results give them some hope. The play offs look like being the most even for quite a while. Bears defense is looking good but their offense is nothing special. Seattle has surprised me and the Colts have done better than I expected. I'm unconvinced by the Steelers and Cowboys but their week to week form is pretty variable. Even the Eagles who were being written off quite a while ago by some, are looking better.
 
Great win for SEA!

The end of the season has the potential to be really good!

I hate to keep harping on this, but as we have discussed the officiating is terrible! Missed calls, ticky-tack calls, "ghost" calls, no consistency...

Happy Holidays!
 
I was wrong the other week saying I wouldn't add Russ Wilson to the MVP hunt. His game Sunday night shows why he deserves to be mentioned.

With just one week to go, the playoff picture remains hard to completely nail down. Using ESPN's Playoff Machine, my picks look like this:

AFC
#1 KC, #2 NE
#6 Indy @ #3 Houston - Recall the Colts handled the Texans a few weeks ago without a problem, in Houston.
#5 Rams @ #4 Baltimore - This would be a tough game for sure.

Having picked those, there are lots of other scenarios. If the Titans beat Indy, they go to Houston likely the most obvious. One of the most fascinating games will be if the surging Browns can beat the Ravens in Baltimore, the Steelers will win the division, and the Ravens will be out. The Browns are 5-1 in their last six games, and likely to be highly motivated to knock the Ravens out, plus it will give them a winning record for the year.

NFC

#1 NO, #2 LAR
#6 MIN @ #3 CHI
#5 SEA @ #6 DAL

One option here is the Bears playing to win and taking out the Vikings, which pushes the Eagles into the playoffs. A Seattle-Dallas game intrigues me most here. And anyone is going to have a hard time going through New Orleans, even if the Saints haven't seemed explosive of late.
 
Would laugh if the Bengals beat the Steelers but don't see it happening. Hard to pick many of these playoff teams as they all have flaws but I wouldn't mind seeing some unfamiliar teams in the Super Bowl. This year it could happen. Browns/Ravens does look like an interesting game. The coaching change turned out well for the Browns who should be even better next year.
 
Re:

movingtarget said:
Would laugh if the Bengals beat the Steelers but don't see it happening. Hard to pick many of these playoff teams as they all have flaws but I wouldn't mind seeing some unfamiliar teams in the Super Bowl. This year it could happen. Browns/Ravens does look like an interesting game. The coaching change turned out well for the Browns who should be even better next year.

It would be a fitting end to the season though if the Bengals find a way to win that game.
 
Hitch, it could be even worse. If KC and LAC lose next week, the Patriots, by winning, would become the no. 1 seed, and not have to play on the road at all. OTOH, their first game would probably be vs. LAC, which would be tougher than Houston. So it’s not clear that being the no. 1 seed would be that much of an advantage for NE over the no. 2 seed. It would mean playing the championship at home, but they would have to get there first.

I doubt KC will lose to the Raiders. But as Alpe notes, Indy would have a definite shot at beating Houston in a WC game. If they do that, they play at the no. 1 seed, and probably LAC would play at NE, anyway, though as Alpe says, they (not the Rams, Alpe) would have to deal with a defense that shut them down recently. There's even a scenario where NE loses its final game and drops to the fourth seed, where it would play either LAC or KC in the WC game.

While four teams have clinched the playoffs in the AFC, none of the seeds has been determined. KC, LAC, NE, and I think even Houston, all have a shot at the no. 1 seed. The second seed could be not only be NE or Houston, but KC or even Baltimore. The third seed could be NE, Houston or Baltimore. The fourth seed could be any of those teams, or Pittburgh. The fifth seed will be either LAC or KC. The sixth seed will almost definitely be the winner of Indy vs. Tennessee. In the unlikely event that that game ends in a tie, the Steelers could be the second WC if they win and the Ravens win. If one of the Ravens and Steelers loses, and the other wins in that scenario, the winner gets the division, and Indy gets the WC based on a better conference record.

There are some other, very unlikely possibilities. If the Steelers win and the Ravens tie, the two teams tie for the division, but the Steelers take it because of a better record within the division. In that case, the Ravens could be the WC if Indy and Tennessee also tie, based on a better conference record.

The game with the most interesting consequences may be Bears-Vikings. A Vikings win clinches them a WC, but if SE beats AZ, the Vikings are the second WC, and would play the Bears again the following week in the WC game. The SE-AZ game starts later, so the Vikings are in the uncomfortable position of needing to win, yet not wanting to show the Bears everything they have.

But the Bears could be in the same position. If the Rams lose to the 49ers, the Bears could get a bye by beating the Vikings. But the Rams-49ers game also starts later. So the Bears might want to win, but even if they do, they’ll still be the no. 3 seed if the Rams win; and if the Eagles lose, the Vikings will still be the second WC, and play the Bears the following week.

So you have two teams who potentially have a great deal to gain by winning, but also potentially something to lose by playing to win.
 
Merckx index said:
Hitch, it could be even worse. If KC and LAC lose next week, the Patriots, by winning, would become the no. 1 seed, and not have to play on the road at all. OTOH, their first game would probably be vs. LAC, which would be tougher than Houston. So it’s not clear that being the no. 1 seed would be that much of an advantage for NE over the no. 2 seed. It would mean playing the championship at home, but they would have to get there first.

I doubt KC will lose to the Raiders. But as Alpe notes, Indy would have a definite shot at beating Houston in a WC game. If they do that, they play at the no. 1 seed, and probably LAC would play at NE, anyway, though as Alpe says, they (not the Rams, Alpe) would have to deal with a defense that shut them down recently. There's even a scenario where NE loses its final game and drops to the fourth seed, where it would play either LAC or KC in the WC game.

While four teams have clinched the playoffs in the AFC, none of the seeds has been determined. KC, LAC, NE, and I think even Houston, all have a shot at the no. 1 seed. The second seed could be not only be NE or Houston, but KC or even Baltimore. The third seed could be NE, Houston or Baltimore. The fourth seed could be any of those teams, or Pittburgh. The fifth seed will be either LAC or KC. The sixth seed will almost definitely be the winner of Indy vs. Tennessee. In the unlikely event that that game ends in a tie, the Steelers could be the second WC if they win and the Ravens win. If one of the Ravens and Steelers loses, and the other wins in that scenario, the winner gets the division, and Indy gets the WC based on a better conference record.

There are some other, very unlikely possibilities. If the Steelers win and the Ravens tie, the two teams tie for the division, but the Steelers take it because of a better record within the division. In that case, the Ravens could be the WC if Indy and Tennessee also tie, based on a better conference record.

The game with the most interesting consequences may be Bears-Vikings. A Vikings win clinches them a WC, but if SE beats AZ, the Vikings are the second WC, and would play the Bears again the following week in the WC game. The SE-AZ game starts later, so the Vikings are in the uncomfortable position of needing to win, yet not wanting to show the Bears everything they have.

But the Bears could be in the same position. If the Rams lose to the 49ers, the Bears could get a bye by beating the Vikings. But the Rams-49ers game also starts later. So the Bears might want to win, but even if they do, they’ll still be the no. 3 seed if the Rams win; and if the Eagles lose, the Vikings will still be the second WC, and play the Bears the following week.

So you have two teams who potentially have a great deal to gain by winning, but also potentially something to lose by playing to win.
49ers beating the Rams in a divisional game would not surprise me too much even though they were spanked in the first meeting. Once again the 49ers have showed some backbone when the season is over. They beat Denver then Seattle and lost a hard fought low scoring game to the Bears. Eagles might be the team to miss out.
 
Agree on the 49ers. They are one of the teams that looks like they have a lot of potential in the future, as when they get it together now, they can beat almost anyone.

Just looking at some historical trends, what I have noticed in the past is it isn't necessarily hot teams that make deep playoff runs, nor the most stacked on talent. But what I did notice is that no matter how talented a team is, to play sketchy in December, then simply flip the switch and all of a sudden string together several wins in the playoffs almost never happens. I'll skip the examples from the past. But using this logic, I'd say the Rams may fit that description. The Saints aren't playing they way they did mid-season, but they have managed to grit out three wins in a row, two of them on the road. In the AFC we've talked about both the Patriots and Steelers not being the same team as years past, but the Patriots are also highly disciplined and well coached. The Chiefs, and maybe Texans, have shown some vulnerability of late, despite being stacked with talent. This has me worried, as Hitch and Merckx noted, that with an upset or two, the road to the SB could end up once again going through Foxboro. Only a fool would write off Belicheck and Brady that easily anyway, right?

The Eagles may indeed miss out, and with how they are playing now under Foles, I think that would be just fine with the Bears and a few other teams perhaps. While the math is very complicated, the Bears somewhat control who they play host to in the first WC game. If they beat the Vikings, they probably host the Eagles. If they lose to the Vikings, they host them the following week. This also puts the Vikings in the unenviable situation where they have to beat the Bears, but not open up their entire playbook and save something for the following week. Jumping out to a quick double-digit lead on Sunday would help, but that's not likely against this Bears team.

Again, the math is very complex, but believe it or not the Ravens could either get the 2nd seed, or miss the playoffs, think about that for a moment!

Also, if the Chargers beat the Broncos, and Raiders beat the Chiefs, the Chargers get the #1 seed, and the Chiefs drop to the #5 seed. But the Chiefs are likely going to play pedal to the metal to beat the Raiders. They have lost 2 in a row, both close games, and do not want to back into the playoffs. This would be as bad, if not worse, than what happened the last two years when everyone blamed Alex Smith. If it happens again...

Speaking of Alex, I'm glad he's healing, but if you go back to the when he was hurt, it's astounding how they went from 6-3 and in the driver's seat to take the NFC East, to a likely 7-9 finish, barely winning one game (presuming they lose to the Eagles on Sunday). But it's not just Alex being underappreciated. The decisions the team has made, some of the players have made, sank any chance they had. From the cheerleader exploitation scandal, to hiring Rueben Foster off waivers (meaning they pay more for him, even though they were the only team to show interest in him), leaving poor Doug Williams to try to talk his way out of the whole mess, though he's at least partly at fault. Then there was Montae NIcholson arrested for assault. Plus Dan Snyder saying the team is worthy of a new stadium, even though FedEx Field is only 21 years old, and teams typically play in stadiums for over 30 years. Attendance is also down for the team overall. Oh, and they're also in one of the worst salary cap situations in the league. If Smith can't come back, the cap hit is nearly $31m in dead money, and a staggering $52m if they release him before June (if I read the contract right. Credit Alex and his agent. $27m signing bonus, $71m guaranteed. Put another way, presuming he's not ready to play next season, he'll make $20m just to walk on the sidelines in street clothes. Or they can pay a lot more to cut him). I've stated in the past that Synder is one of the worst owners in sports. The fact that the team is 139-179-1 since he bought it, hasn't won a playoff game in 13 years (back when Joe Gibbs came back), and never won more than 10 games under Snyder's ownership says something.
 
I am starting to get lots of questions about my team choice..for 20+ years I was a Charger fan..I have had nothing but bad things to say about the team and the ownership since they announced leaving San Diego..now people are curious about if I will jump back on the bandwagon now that they are playing great..?
Probably yes..because I own so much Bolt merchandise that it's cheaper than starting over..go Chargers!!!
 
Re:

Alpe d'Huez said:
Agree on the 49ers. They are one of the teams that looks like they have a lot of potential in the future, as when they get it together now, they can beat almost anyone.

Just looking at some historical trends, what I have noticed in the past is it isn't necessarily hot teams that make deep playoff runs, nor the most stacked on talent. But what I did notice is that no matter how talented a team is, to play sketchy in December, then simply flip the switch and all of a sudden string together several wins in the playoffs almost never happens. I'll skip the examples from the past. But using this logic, I'd say the Rams may fit that description. The Saints aren't playing they way they did mid-season, but they have managed to grit out three wins in a row, two of them on the road. In the AFC we've talked about both the Patriots and Steelers not being the same team as years past, but the Patriots are also highly disciplined and well coached. The Chiefs, and maybe Texans, have shown some vulnerability of late, despite being stacked with talent. This has me worried, as Hitch and Merckx noted, that with an upset or two, the road to the SB could end up once again going through Foxboro. Only a fool would write off Belicheck and Brady that easily anyway, right?

The Eagles may indeed miss out, and with how they are playing now under Foles, I think that would be just fine with the Bears and a few other teams perhaps. While the math is very complicated, the Bears somewhat control who they play host to in the first WC game. If they beat the Vikings, they probably host the Eagles. If they lose to the Vikings, they host them the following week. This also puts the Vikings in the unenviable situation where they have to beat the Bears, but not open up their entire playbook and save something for the following week. Jumping out to a quick double-digit lead on Sunday would help, but that's not likely against this Bears team.

Again, the math is very complex, but believe it or not the Ravens could either get the 2nd seed, or miss the playoffs, think about that for a moment!

Also, if the Chargers beat the Broncos, and Raiders beat the Chiefs, the Chargers get the #1 seed, and the Chiefs drop to the #5 seed. But the Chiefs are likely going to play pedal to the metal to beat the Raiders. They have lost 2 in a row, both close games, and do not want to back into the playoffs. This would be as bad, if not worse, than what happened the last two years when everyone blamed Alex Smith. If it happens again...

Speaking of Alex, I'm glad he's healing, but if you go back to the when he was hurt, it's astounding how they went from 6-3 and in the driver's seat to take the NFC East, to a likely 7-9 finish, barely winning one game (presuming they lose to the Eagles on Sunday). But it's not just Alex being underappreciated. The decisions the team has made, some of the players have made, sank any chance they had. From the cheerleader exploitation scandal, to hiring Rueben Foster off waivers (meaning they pay more for him, even though they were the only team to show interest in him), leaving poor Doug Williams to try to talk his way out of the whole mess, though he's at least partly at fault. Then there was Montae NIcholson arrested for assault. Plus Dan Snyder saying the team is worthy of a new stadium, even though FedEx Field is only 21 years old, and teams typically play in stadiums for over 30 years. Attendance is also down for the team overall. Oh, and they're also in one of the worst salary cap situations in the league. If Smith can't come back, the cap hit is nearly $31m in dead money, and a staggering $52m if they release him before June (if I read the contract right. Credit Alex and his agent. $27m signing bonus, $71m guaranteed. Put another way, presuming he's not ready to play next season, he'll make $20m just to walk on the sidelines in street clothes. Or they can pay a lot more to cut him). I've stated in the past that Synder is one of the worst owners in sports. The fact that the team is 139-179-1 since he bought it, hasn't won a playoff game in 13 years (back when Joe Gibbs came back), and never won more than 10 games under Snyder's ownership says something.
Feel sorry for Alex Smith. Anyone who hires Reuben Foster, well, all I can say is good luck......I wonder if Teddy Bridgewater can find his way back although I doubt he will be back to his previous best. Good to see Luck turning things around at the Colts. Lots of calculations going on before and after this round of games. If Foles and the Eagles make it through it won't harm Foles money making potential. How much longer can Marvin Lewis last at the Bengals ? Maybe the same goes for the Panthers coach.
 
I should have pointed something out in my previous pick. IF the Bears win, and the Rams lose, the Bears grab the #2 seed. As Merckx pointed out, when teams play determines a few things. For example, the Bears and Rams play their games at the same time, so it's not like one team can wait and see, then make decisions.
 
I also feel bad for Alex Smith. He's a better QB than he's been given credit for. I do hope he's able to recover. However, his agent got him a great contract in the unfortunate event that he doesn't. (If was a pro athlete I'd want to sign with his agent).

I'm a Steelers fan, however, the way they have played the 2nd half of this season they do not deserve to go to the play offs.
 
Here are my early picks, and what it will mean for the playoffs. All games are on Sunday, the most busy day of the entire season. The other thing to know is that the injury report has become quite deep for many teams, with many players "questionable" or "doubtful", or just on the report. The biggest players out seem to be Todd Gurley for the Rams is listed as out, and Sammy Watkins of the Chiefs out as well. Antonio Brown has been hurting for the Steelers, but will likely play. James Connor listed as questionable, but did practice. The Bears, Patriots and Saints have some of the shortest reports.

MIA@BUF - Meaningless game, but Fins struggling more of late. May be cold and breezy in Buffalo, which equalizes things, and favors a strong arm QB, with Allen having maybe the strongest in the league.
DET@GB - What a disappointing year for the Packers, but they have played well of late.
NYJ@NE - Pats need to win, and will at home.
CAR@NO - Saints don't need to win, and will rest many players, but this game is at home, against a struggling Panther team. Bridgewater will play like his career depends on it, because it does.
JAX@HOU Texans need to win, but this game could be somewhat close.
DAL@NYGDallas doesn't need to win, though the Giants are good at losing close games.
ATL@TB - Falcons playing well of late. Just too late after too many key injuries on defense.
OAK@KC - Chiefs need to win to get top seed, they need to win for their morale, period. While the Raiders are improving a little, their defense is porous. Watkins out, but Ware likely back. Hill close to 100% helps.
ARI@SEA Seahawks probably get the 5th seed no matter what, but Arizona will sew up top draft pick.
SF@LAR Rams must win, but they are a little shaky to me, especially on defense, which is surprising. Gurley out.
LAC@DEN - A Charger win and a Chief loss gives Chargers the #1 seed.
CHI@MIN - It's likely the Bears will end up with the #3 seed, and if they lose, they likely host the Vikings next week, but they could end up hosting the Eagles if they win, and the Rams win. Vikings still loaded with talent, and desperate here.
CLE@BAL - Yes, my upset of the week! This game will be close, and mistakes could be the key. I think the Brown defense has what it takes to force Jackson to beat them with his arm, while their offense can likely grind out enough yards. Both teams will be highly motivated to win, even though the Browns are out.
PHI@WAS - The Eagles are in a must win situation, and playing well. But they need help to get in (see above).
CIN@PIT When was the last time Cincy beat the Steelers, in Pittsburgh? The Bengals have a long history of choking away games against their division rival, and won't win here.
IND@TEN - Maybe the game of the week, and could be hard to predict. Luck is playing so very well, with only one blip in the last two months, a goose egg against the Jags. But that was his receivers dropping too many balls. The Titans are a more balanced team, but I think the Colts are a better team, and playing consistently better and take the win here.

This means:

AFC

#1 KC, #2 NE

Wildcard:
#6 Indy @ #3 Houston
#5 LAC @ #4 Pitt

NFC

#1 NO, #2 LAR

Wildcard:
#6 Minn @ #3 Chi
#5 Sea @ #4 Dallas
 
Re:

Alpe d'Huez said:
Here are my early picks, and what it will mean for the playoffs. All games are on Sunday, the most busy day of the entire season. The other thing to know is that the injury report has become quite deep for many teams, with many players "questionable" or "doubtful", or just on the report. The biggest players out seem to be Todd Gurley for the Rams is listed as out, and Sammy Watkins of the Chiefs out as well. Antonio Brown has been hurting for the Steelers, but will likely play. James Connor listed as questionable, but did practice. The Bears, Patriots and Saints have some of the shortest reports.

MIA@BUF - Meaningless game, but Fins struggling more of late. May be cold and breezy in Buffalo, which equalizes things, and favors a strong arm QB, with Allen having maybe the strongest in the league.
DET@GB - What a disappointing year for the Packers, but they have played well of late.
NYJ@NE - Pats need to win, and will at home.
CAR@NO - Saints don't need to win, and will rest many players, but this game is at home, against a struggling Panther team. Bridgewater will play like his career depends on it, because it does.
JAX@HOU Texans need to win, but this game could be somewhat close.
DAL@NYGDallas doesn't need to win, though the Giants are good at losing close games.
ATL@TB - Falcons playing well of late. Just too late after too many key injuries on defense.
OAK@KC - Chiefs need to win to get top seed, they need to win for their morale, period. While the Raiders are improving a little, their defense is porous. Watkins out, but Ware likely back. Hill close to 100% helps.
ARI@SEA Seahawks probably get the 5th seed no matter what, but Arizona will sew up top draft pick.
SF@LAR Rams must win, but they are a little shaky to me, especially on defense, which is surprising. Gurley out.
LAC@DEN - A Charger win and a Chief loss gives Chargers the #1 seed.
CHI@MIN - It's likely the Bears will end up with the #3 seed, and if they lose, they likely host the Vikings next week, but they could end up hosting the Eagles if they win, and the Rams win. Vikings still loaded with talent, and desperate here.
CLE@BAL - Yes, my upset of the week! This game will be close, and mistakes could be the key. I think the Brown defense has what it takes to force Jackson to beat them with his arm, while their offense can likely grind out enough yards. Both teams will be highly motivated to win, even though the Browns are out.
PHI@WAS - The Eagles are in a must win situation, and playing well. But they need help to get in (see above).
CIN@PIT When was the last time Cincy beat the Steelers, in Pittsburgh? The Bengals have a long history of choking away games against their division rival, and won't win here.
IND@TEN - Maybe the game of the week, and could be hard to predict. Luck is playing so very well, with only one blip in the last two months, a goose egg against the Jags. But that was his receivers dropping too many balls. The Titans are a more balanced team, but I think the Colts are a better team, and playing consistently better and take the win here.

This means:

AFC

#1 KC, #2 NE

Wildcard:
#6 Indy @ #3 Houston
#5 LAC @ #4 Pitt

NFC

#1 NO, #2 LAR

Wildcard:
#6 Minn @ #3 Chi
#5 Sea @ #4 Dallas

Yeah I am interested in how he does. If he has a good outing, he may get calls from teams needing a QB next season: Giants (I think Eli is done, certainly in NY), Jets (perhaps?), Redskins and who knows, maybe he could somehow find himself back in Minnesota if the Vikings don't make the playoffs and aren't happy with Cousins. Just my view on it.
 
Re:

Alpe d'Huez said:
CHI@MIN - It's likely the Bears will end up with the #3 seed, and if they lose, they likely host the Vikings next week, but they could end up hosting the Eagles if they win, and the Rams win. Vikings still loaded with talent, and desperate here.
PHI@WAS - The Eagles are in a must win situation, and playing well. But they need help to get in (see above).

NFC
#1 NO, #2 LAR
Wildcard:
#6 Minn @ #3 Chi
#5 Sea @ #4 Dallas
Wild Card:
team W L T
SEA 9 6 0
MIN 8 6 1
In The Hunt:
team W L T
PHI 8 7 0

An Eagles win and Vikes loss drops the Vikes out of the playoffs and puts the Eagles in as the #6 seed. And then WOW. All that money (what? $84M guaranteed) to Kirk Cousins, and NOT make the playoffs?
...To be continued.
 
Re: Re:

on3m@n@rmy said:
An Eagles win and Vikes loss drops the Vikes out of the playoffs and puts the Eagles in as the #6 seed. And then WOW. All that money (what? $84M guaranteed) to Kirk Cousins, and NOT make the playoffs?
...To be continued.
Yeah, wow. You can talk about the rest of the team letting down, but that's a huge price to pay. He's actually 8th in passer rating (over 200 attempts) and 15th in QBR (if you believe in such things), which is slightly above average. A rating you'd expect from someone like Andy Dalton, or Dak Prescott perhaps. It's like he's the next Joe Flacco, without having actually won anything.
 
I think the Ravens and the Bears will win. Gurley out for the Rams but Breida out for the 49ers who also have other injury concerns and the Rams have so much more to play for. Only some hunger from the young 49ers players including Buckner on defense will keep them in the game probably and George Kittle who is having a great season on a beaten up team. I still get the feeling that the Cowboys and Pittsburgh won't be around long in the playoffs. The Patriots are usually made of sterner stuff even though the cracks are showing. Sounds like Brady will be back again next season.
 
Whoa, I thought I had scoped out all the playoff possibilities, but I missed a huge one. If Houston loses to JAX, they almost certainly lose their division, which I thought they had locked up. Assuming Indy-Tenn doesn’t end in a tie, the winner of that game would win the tie-breaker with a losing Houston, with a better division record. Then Houston would be the second WC.

Then matters get complicated. If Baltimore wins, and NE wins, Baltimore becomes the third seed, while Indy or Tenn is the fourth seed. I think the fifth seed, probably LAC, maybe KC, would much prefer playing one of those two teams, rather than Baltimore (though KC may have bad memories of last year if they wind up playing Tennessee again). If Baltimore loses, Indy or Tenn becomes the third seed, with the fourth seed Pittsburgh, if the Steelers win, or the Ravens, if the Steelers lose. Then Houston would play Indy or Tenn, same as if they had won their last game and the division, except on the road, not at home.

What if NE and Houston both lose? If Baltimore wins, as I mentioned before, they would be the second seed, but what about Indy or Tenn? If Tennessee wins their final game, they would be the third seed, ahead of NE, because they beat NE. If Indy wins that final game, they would be the fourth seed, behind NE, because they lost to the Pats.

What if NE, Houston and Baltimore all lose? Amazingly, if Tennessee wins, they would be the second seed! NE would be the third seed, and Pittsburgh (or Baltimore if Pitt loses) would be the fourth seed. If Indy wins, they would be the third seed, behind NE.

Alpe expressed surprise that the Ravens could finish anywhere from second to out. It turns out the Titans are in the same position. And Houston could finish anywhere from first (I think) to sixth. So the AFC seeds look like this (I've listed them in what I think is order of likelihood):

1 - KC, LAC, NE, or Hou
2 - NE, Hou, KC, Bal, or Tenn
3 - Hou, NE, Bal, Indy or Tenn
4 - Bal, Pit, Hou, NE, Indy or Tenn
5 - LAC or KC
6 - Indy, Tenn, Pit, Bal, or Hou

That is just wild. I remember one year when the top 5 teams in the AFC all had 11-5 records, and seeding was determined entirely by tie-breakers.

movingtarget said:
I think the Ravens and the Bears will win. Gurley out for the Rams but Breida out for the 49ers who also have other injury concerns and the Rams have so much more to play for. Only some hunger from the young 49ers players including Buckner on defense will keep them in the game probably and George Kittle who is having a great season on a beaten up team. I still get the feeling that the Cowboys and Pittsburgh won't be around long in the playoffs. The Patriots are usually made of sterner stuff even though the cracks are showing. Sounds like Brady will be back again next season.
Kittle needs 100 reception yards to break Gronk’s single season NFL record for a TE. When you consider that Gronk had Brady throwing to him, whereas Kittle has had…who?, that’s pretty impressive. KC’s Travis Kelce, trailing Gronk by just 54 yards, may get there first. But that just makes Kittle look even better, as Kelce of course has Mahomes throwing to him.

The 49ers have had three different QBs this season, none of them with much NFL experience. Jimmy Garappolo had started only seven NFL games prior to this season, and was injured in just his third game. C.J. Beathard had started only five NFL games when he took over, and was injured after five games. Nick Mullens had never played a regular season game in the NFL when he replaced Beathard. It’s remarkable that Kittle has done so well under those conditions. You can argue that the Patriots and the Chiefs have multiple offensive weapons, whereas the 49ers rely more on Kittle, but that also means he’s likely to draw more coverage. He has the third longest pass reception in the NFL this year (85 yards), including WR, and the fourth greatest one game reception yards total (210). He hasn’t fumbled even once, and leads all TE with > 40 receptions with 15.5 yards/catch. He needs just four receptions to break Vernon Davis’s team record for a TE in that stat.

Fun fact: Kittle played college ball at Iowa, where he was a teammate of C.J. Beathard. That familiarity probably helped him when Beathard took over. But he has improved steadily throughout the season. In three games with Garappolo, he averaged 4 catches for 60 yards per game. In five games with Beathard, it was 5 catches for 79 yards. In seven games with Mullens, it’s 6 catches for 92 yards.

Brady signed a deal last year which would give him $1 million each for finishing in the top 5 in various passing stats. He finished in the top 5 in all of them last year, but he’s well out of the top 5 in each of them this year, and nothing he or those ahead of him do or don’t do in the final game is likely to change that. For example, one of the stats is total passing yards. Brady is > 300 yards behind the no. 5 position, and that QB is expected to play this week.
 
Wow, the AFC has some wild scenarios that is going to give you a headache if you think about them too long. (Thought that was supposed to reserved to doing taxes).

Those are some interesting stats.
For Brady, unlikely he'll get into the top 5 of those stats. I'm guessing Brees is leading or near the top of several even though he's the only QB that definitely isn't playing this weekend. Well can't blame the Saints for not risking injury to him in what is a meaningless game to them.
 
For the stat geeks, here's the numbers on passer rating:

http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=1&season=2018&seasonType=REG&d-447263-n=1&d-447263-o=2&d-447263-p=1&statisticPositionCategory=QUARTERBACK&d-447263-s=PASSING_PASSER_RATING&qualified=true

And here's the QBR from ESPN:

http://www.espn.com/nfl/qbr/_/sort/qbpaa

As you can imagine Brees and Mahomes top almost every stat. The one that stood out to me though was that in passer rating Roethlesberger is only about 12th among active players, but in QBR he's 3rd. With Trubisky about 13th, and 4th.

ESPN's total QBR has one stat called Points Added. This is probably the closest thing to WAR in MLB sabermetrics. Basically, how many points over the season this player adds (or subtracts) to the average player in that position. Mahomes is a staggering 74.3, that's nearly a TD a game he gives his team, and the 6th best in history in both that and QBR for a single season, with the names above him the Mt. Rushmore of modern HOF to be QB's (Brady, Manning, Brees twice, Rodgers). Poor Josh Rosen is a dismal -28.4.

All the talk about how Tom Brady may be slipping a little, but expected to play next year, but Drew Brees is almost 40, both Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlesberger will be 37 next year. Eli Manning is the only older QB who has been slipping, and will be 38 in a few days. But I've argued that he was never really as good as those guys. He has been durable though, handles the NY atmosphere well, and pressure well within the game, which does count for a lot.
 
Well Ben Roethlesberger has actually talked about retiring a couple of times. So in that regards age doesn't matter when a player actually talks about it.
I would add Aaron Rodgers to Eli Manning as a QB in that age range that has slipped a little.

I'm not a fan of Brady, but I'll say the same thing for him I do for my boy, Valverde. As long as he's preforming at the top level of his chosen sport and wants to continue, go for it. Age it's self should not be the reason you retire. Retire because you are ready to leave your chosen sport. (Granted if your level falls enough you really likely should retire.)
 
Re:

Merckx index said:
Whoa, I thought I had scoped out all the playoff possibilities, but I missed a huge one. If Houston loses to JAX, they almost certainly lose their division, which I thought they had locked up. Assuming Indy-Tenn doesn’t end in a tie, the winner of that game would win the tie-breaker with a losing Houston, with a better division record. Then Houston would be the second WC.

Then matters get complicated. If Baltimore wins, and NE wins, Baltimore becomes the third seed, while Indy or Tenn is the fourth seed. I think the fifth seed, probably LAC, maybe KC, would much prefer playing one of those two teams, rather than Baltimore (though KC may have bad memories of last year if they wind up playing Tennessee again). If Baltimore loses, Indy or Tenn becomes the third seed, with the fourth seed Pittsburgh, if the Steelers win, or the Ravens, if the Steelers lose. Then Houston would play Indy or Tenn, same as if they had won their last game and the division, except on the road, not at home.

What if NE and Houston both lose? If Baltimore wins, as I mentioned before, they would be the second seed, but what about Indy or Tenn? If Tennessee wins their final game, they would be the third seed, ahead of NE, because they beat NE. If Indy wins that final game, they would be the fourth seed, behind NE, because they lost to the Pats.

What if NE, Houston and Baltimore all lose? Amazingly, if Tennessee wins, they would be the second seed! NE would be the third seed, and Pittsburgh (or Baltimore if Pitt loses) would be the fourth seed. If Indy wins, they would be the third seed, behind NE.

Alpe expressed surprise that the Ravens could finish anywhere from second to out. It turns out the Titans are in the same position. And Houston could finish anywhere from first (I think) to sixth. So the AFC seeds look like this (I've listed them in what I think is order of likelihood):

1 - KC, LAC, NE, or Hou
2 - NE, Hou, KC, Bal, or Tenn
3 - Hou, NE, Bal, Indy or Tenn
4 - Bal, Pit, Hou, NE, Indy or Tenn
5 - LAC or KC
6 - Indy, Tenn, Pit, Bal, or Hou

That is just wild. I remember one year when the top 5 teams in the AFC all had 11-5 records, and seeding was determined entirely by tie-breakers.

movingtarget said:
I think the Ravens and the Bears will win. Gurley out for the Rams but Breida out for the 49ers who also have other injury concerns and the Rams have so much more to play for. Only some hunger from the young 49ers players including Buckner on defense will keep them in the game probably and George Kittle who is having a great season on a beaten up team. I still get the feeling that the Cowboys and Pittsburgh won't be around long in the playoffs. The Patriots are usually made of sterner stuff even though the cracks are showing. Sounds like Brady will be back again next season.
Kittle needs 100 reception yards to break Gronk’s single season NFL record for a TE. When you consider that Gronk had Brady throwing to him, whereas Kittle has had…who?, that’s pretty impressive. KC’s Travis Kelce, trailing Gronk by just 54 yards, may get there first. But that just makes Kittle look even better, as Kelce of course has Mahomes throwing to him.

The 49ers have had three different QBs this season, none of them with much NFL experience. Jimmy Garappolo had started only seven NFL games prior to this season, and was injured in just his third game. C.J. Beathard had started only five NFL games when he took over, and was injured after five games. Nick Mullens had never played a regular season game in the NFL when he replaced Beathard. It’s remarkable that Kittle has done so well under those conditions. You can argue that the Patriots and the Chiefs have multiple offensive weapons, whereas the 49ers rely more on Kittle, but that also means he’s likely to draw more coverage. He has the third longest pass reception in the NFL this year (85 yards), including WR, and the fourth greatest one game reception yards total (210). He hasn’t fumbled even once, and leads all TE with > 40 receptions with 15.5 yards/catch. He needs just four receptions to break Vernon Davis’s team record for a TE in that stat.

Fun fact: Kittle played college ball at Iowa, where he was a teammate of C.J. Beathard. That familiarity probably helped him when Beathard took over. But he has improved steadily throughout the season. In three games with Garappolo, he averaged 4 catches for 60 yards per game. In five games with Beathard, it was 5 catches for 79 yards. In seven games with Mullens, it’s 6 catches for 92 yards.

Brady signed a deal last year which would give him $1 million each for finishing in the top 5 in various passing stats. He finished in the top 5 in all of them last year, but he’s well out of the top 5 in each of them this year, and nothing he or those ahead of him do or don’t do in the final game is likely to change that. For example, one of the stats is total passing yards. Brady is > 300 yards behind the no. 5 position, and that QB is expected to play this week.
Kittle got the record........nice. Mullens first half killed off the 49ers chances and the Rams were too good on the day but the 49ers kept playing in the second half. Steelers missing out not a huge surprise, sums up their season. A few coaches gone already, the Miami coach might be next. The Cardinals made the Hawks work for it. Browns had their chances.Some interesting match ups in the playoffs.
 

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