The following information is based on a table I created to calculate the expected win totals of the AFC playoff contenders. While no game is a guarantee for anything, for the purpose of this project, I count games vs poor teams as an expected victory and games vs good teams as competitive matches with a 50% chance of victory and a 50% chance of defeat. For example: The Patriots currently have a record of 6-4 with six games remaining. Two of those six games are against poor teams that they should beat. The remaining four games are against good teams that could go either way. That gives the Patriots an expected record of 10-6 (6-4 + 2-0 + 2-2). Here are the expected records for the rest of the AFC teams in contention. TEAM.....Current Record.....Schedule.....Expected Wins (EW's)....Competive Games (CG's).....Expected Record 1) Titans: 10-0; NYJ,@Det,Cle,@Hou,Pit,@Ind; 3 EW's; 3 CG's; Exp.Record = 14.5-1.5 2) Steelers: 7-3; Cin,@NE,Dal,Bal,@Ten,Cle; 2 EW's; 4 CG's; Exp.Record = 11-5 3) Jets: 7-3; @Ten,Den,@SF,Buf,@Sea,Mia; 2 EW's; 4 CG's; Exp.Record = 11-5 4) Broncos: 6-4; Oak,@NYJ,KC,@Car,Buf,@SD; 2 EW's; 4 CG's; Exp.Record = 10-6 5) Colts: 6-4; @SD,@Cle,Cin,Det,@Jax,Ten; 3 EW's; 3 CG's; Exp.Record = 10.5 - 5.5 6) Dolphins: 6-4; NE,@StL,@Buf,SF,KC,@NYJ; 3 EW's; 3 CG's; Exp.Record = 10.5 - 5.5 ================================================= 7) Patriots: 6-4; @Mia,Pit,@Sea,@Oak,Ari,@Buf; 2 EW's; 4 CG's; Exp.Record = 10-6 8) Bills: 5-4; Cle,@KC,SF,Mia,@NYJ,@Den,NE; 3 EW's; 4 CG's; Exp.Record = 10-6 9) Ravens: 6-4; Phi,@Cin,Was,Pit,@Dal,Jax; 1 EW; 5 CG's; Exp.Record = 9.5 - 6.5 10) Chargers: 4-6; Ind,Atl,Oak,@KC,@TB,Den; 2 EW's; 4 CG's; Exp.Record = 8-8 11) Jaguars: 4-6; Min,@Hou,@Chi,GB,Ind,@Bal; 1 EW; 5 CG's; Exp.Record = 7.5 - 8.5 NOTE: By beating the Dolphins next week, we will boost our expected win total to 10.5 (7-4 record + 2 "easy wins" + 3 competive games with a 50% chance of winning each) and put ourselves in the #6 position. A loss on the other hand would drop our expected record to 9.5 - 6.5 and seriously damage our playoffs hopes. Even if we recovered to win 10 games we would likely lose out on all tie-breakers and end up watching the playoffs from home. In essence it could be 2002 all over again. For all intents and purposes, the Dolphin game represents the first true MUST-WIN game of the year for us. Even with a win we'll likely have to go 11-5 to guarantee ourselves a playoffs spot. What this analysis does is show us that there could be a logjam of 10-6 teams with a few of them missing the playoffs.