Week 5 of Sunday NFL football in the books (still got tonite's game). Trying to get something positive to look forward to, so thought I'd break down the current AFC standings (teams listed in current order of standings) to see where we stand. A "brutal" schedule of having to play the South divisions in each conference is now shaping up to be more of a scheduling boon than any of us could have hoped for. Let's hope the Pats use it to their advantage. (I like the defense, and despite loosing 2nd half leads, the D has had little help from the O in the 2nd half of the two losses. The O improves through the year as Brady and the receivers improve whatever it is that isn't working like we've seen in the past.) Here's where things stand right now, half the conference essentially in the playoff picture (more complete breakdowns below) based on current record and schedule the rest of the way. DEN (5-0, leads IND on strength of victory) IND (5-0) CIN (4-1) NYJ (3-1) PIT (3-2) BAL (3-2) NWE (3-2) SD (2-2) My feeling is that of the above 8, two of the teams from the AFC North will wind up with lesser records than the Pats (as well as all teams not currently listed). I'm looking for a division championship, but if not, then I like our odds in a 3+ team wild card race based on the fact that the North is going to beat each other up affecting their overall conference record. Pass the kool-aid, here's to the playoffs and beyond! East - Jets (3-1) - Chance at 12-4. Penciling in losses on the road to Pats and Colts, plus a loss in one of the Miami games or, based on current records, tough home games against Falcons (although a cold weather game for a dome team from the south) and the Bengals. Pats (3-2) - At least as good a chance or better than the Jets to be 12-4. Toughest games will be home for the Jets (but we just pencil in that as a W, right?!), at the Colts and at the Saints. Other games all should be favored in. Dolphins (2-2) - Hard time finding 10 wins on their schedule with 2 games still against both the Jets and Pats along with games against the Saints and Steelers. Bills (1-4) - TO who? Jets and Pats in playoffs. At 12-4 (or better), I like us as Division champs either straight up or in a tie-breaker with the Jets on division record (5-1 vs 4-2 as Jets lose to Pats and one to Miami). North - Bengals (4-1) - On tap for 10-11 wins, but the Bengals? THE BENGALS?!? 3 quality wins by a total of 9 points. I don't see their luck holding up all season with games against Baltimore, @ Pitt, @ Minn, @ SD, @ NYJ. At least 3 losses there, plus at least another loss or two somewhere because they are still the Bungles. I think. Ravens (3-2) - 8-8 isn't out of the realm of possibility. @ Minn, Denver, @ Cin, Indy, Pitt, @ GB, @ Pitt could all come up as an "L" leaving them sub-500. Steelers (3-2) - Still likely the class of the division with 11+ wins possible if they keep the running game going, Ben upright and find a way to win the close road games they've lost so far this season. Minn, @ Den, Cinn, GB and a pair against the Ravens look like toughest games, but 4 of those games are at home. Browns (1-4) - Punter was their best player on the field yesterday. QB's stats made Jamarcus Russell stats look good. Who will be gone first, their coach or their heralded first round QB? I like the Steelers for the division. Cinn and Bal could challenge, or in running for Wild Card. If we have to compete for Wild Card, we already have the head-to-head tie breaker of Bal and these teams will all beat up each other for conference record tie-break. South - Colts (5-0) - Hate to admit it, but the only thing holding this team back from 13 wins right now is that they may have the division wrapped up by T-giving. Home games against the Pats, Broncos and Jets. We know they'll lose at least one of those (). @ Texans and @ Jags in division games. Jaguars (2-3) - Hard time finding 10 wins, and maybe another battle for .500. @ Jets, @ 49ers, Colts, @ Pats. They might look like world beaters, however, after next week's game at home against the Rams. Texans (2-3) - See also - Jags, only harder schedule. @ Cinn, @ SF, Pats, a pair against the Colts. Titans (0-5) - NFL = Not For Long (until we see VY?) Colts as division winners. West - Broncos (5-0) - Going with 11-5, but neither 12 wins nor 10 (or less) would surprise me. @ Bal, Pitt, NYG, @ PHI, @ IND, plus a pair with SD. Chargers (2-2) - Going with 11-5 also. @ NYG, PHI, Cinn, a pair with DEN = 3 losses. Raiders (1-4) - You just have to feel for Seymour. Turns out, however, that his coach may be a harder hitter than he is. Chiefs (0-5) - At least Pioli, Cassel and Vrabel have each other to comfort. Broncos and Chargers both worth mentioning for playoffs right now, with Den leading the division champ race right now. If we have to go the Wild Card route in a 3 (or more) horse race, let's hope Den definitely wins the West since we're already behind the 8-ball on head-head and conference record.