I was thinking of putting all the variables and whatnot together, but my brains too muddled and my predictions don't mean squat. I was going to drive some meaning out of the information below, but lost myself along the way. Biggest points are division records and matchups. Denver has the most favorable schedule, but Houston has a 2 game led on everyone, but hs to play a hungry Indianapolis twice.
Conf Rnk Team W L Div Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
1 Houston 11 1 9-0 @ New England vs Indianapolis vs Minnesota @ Indianapolis
2 Denver 10 3 7-2 @ Oakland @ Baltimore vs Cleveland vs Kansas City
3 New England 9 3 8-1 vs Houston vs San Francisco @Jacksonville vs Miami
4 Baltimore 9 3 8-2 @ Washington vs Denver vs New York @ Cincinnati
5 Indianapolis 8 4 5-3 vs Tennessee @ Houston @ Kansas City vs Houston
6 Pittsburgh 7 5 4-5 vs San Diego @ Dallas vs Cincinatti vs Cleveland
7 Cincinnati 7 5 5-5 vs Dallas @ Philadelphia @Pittsburgh vs Baltimore
While there is so much that has been decided, thereís still plenty of drama when trying to figure out the final seeding for the playoffs. Houston and Baltimore control their own destinies, but have the toughest schedule. Denver seems to have the easiest schedule by far with 2 apparent gimmies (would have said 3, but they beat Oakland) and New England has 2 extremely tough games with 2 gimmies [gimmie is a game where they should win, but any given Sunday any team can win or lose]
Houston: Probably #1 seed. Can go 4-0 as well as 0-4
Denver: Only 1 tough game left @ Baltimore. The rest should be easy enough
New England: 2 wins and 2 tough games. Could be 4-0, 3-1, or 2-2.
Baltimore: Could go anywhere from 4-0 to 0-4. Nobody seems to have faith in them. Letís see what Ray Lewis can do with that motivation.
1. Knowshon Moreno is looking good for Denver. Mostly because he has talent and the Oline for Denver is getting the job done. BUT, he has relatively fresh legs at this point in the season. Well, New England has Ridley and Bolden has fresh legs as well.
2. Houston, Denver, Baltimore all have very active RBs that can catch out as well. Could this be a time for Patrick Chung to make his mark? Could he be the guy who plays close to the line and spies the opposing teams RB and/or a TE releasing off the line?
3. Houston and Denver are similar teams for the Patriots. Good Offense, Good Defense with outside rushing ability. The thing is, you need to knock Brady out of the middle for the rush to be effective.
4. Before it costs us a turnover, I would like Hernandez to learn when to try to get more yards and when to live to fight another day. I love having him, but heíll get held up at some point and the good teams will go for the turnover.
5. If the Patriots win vs the Texans/49ers it means good things. Losing doesnít necessary mean bad things as they donít have a full offense team. Still, we know the referees call defense differently during the post season and they can get away with more ticky tacky stuff and use that to their advantage. If those defenses are stopping the Patriots now, it wonít get easier in the playoffs/SB. Well, having Gronk healthy will certainly go a long way to the Patriots being able to dictate the game.
6. Brady is taking what the defense gives him and knows his guys can run the ball. This means he has confidence in our ability to run the ball in critical situations. This is the most balanced offense the Patriots have ever had and I would like to see all the parts working. Letís see our bys get healthy for the post season (that includes the Linemen).
7. The top 4 teams in the AFC will have played each other by the season end. So, who gets the advantage in a rematch? I would say that advantage goes to Brady/BB and Peyton Manning.
8. Houston @ New England. Odd that our offense and their defense have a fair number of significant injuries. Still, I think we'll be able to exploit their linebackers and maybe the up tempo or getting the Rbs involved in the passing game will make the difference. Still, if we make journeymen QBs look good, what will happen when their giant receivers play against our secondary. Stay well Chandler Jones.
Not winning style points but winning nonetheless. They arenít inspiring confidence that they will overpower teams lately, but give them credit for being mentally tough and pulling out a victory when defeat is possible (which includes 2 overtime wins in 5 days over 2 less than worthy opponents).
Still they have the best record, control their own destiny, have the tie break over the Ravens and are somewhat of an enigma to me as they seem to play to the level of the competition to a certain extent.
While Houston isnít winning style points, Baltimore has had all the bounces go their way for a good part of the season. Either itís luck, destiny or you love conspiracy theories. Still, they continue to win and really need homefield advantage because their losses have come away and other than the Cleveland game, their wins have been by 3 points on the road.
Getting slightly better on defense even if Stats doesnít tell the full story. This is a team that needs to get healthy for the post season run. They may only get the #4 seed, but I believe this team can compete with anyone when healthy. Beating the Texans would make both teams 9-1 within the conference with the Patriots having the head to head advantage. Still winning against both SF and Houston will be a tough task. Thankfully, they can practically coast the rest of the season.
I have to give Peyton props. We always complained that he had the same staff, HoF receivers and never left his system. Well, he sat out a year and switched teams (granted he got to cherry pick that team from a handful, but thatís what you get when you are a HoF QB). Heís playing at an elite level, though Iíd like to see how that warbled throw of his working in moderately windy weather. People really love Denver and their 3 losses have come against top notch teams. They may have an easy schedule, but is that their fault?