The AFC Playoff Picture: Week 11-12
The first came two weeks ago, and now it’s time for another look at how the AFC playoff scenarios might play out. Part of the analysis here is based on the rankings I provided in that post, so keep that in mind.
Starting with the Ravens: their loss to the Giants doesn’t change much. It’s tempting to make the “they can’t beat a good team” argument, but I’m not sure I’d buy it. There really aren’t any “bad” teams in the NFL. Even the Bengals and the Lions are capable of beating anyone, it’s just harder for them. There are no gimmes, as the Eagles can attest. The Ravens are 6-4 and that’s a fine place to be.
As before, the only team we know for sure will be there is the Titans. 10-0 is impressive, indeed, and so the only drama remaining is which team(s) will beat them in the regular season. Don’t be surprised if it’s the Jets this weekend, or perhaps Pittsburgh or Indianapolis down the road a bit. Maybe all three.
The Steelers still head this group, sitting as they do at 7-3 and boasting the league’s best defense across the board (best against the pass, the run, and yards). The Broncos still belong here, as well, with their stranglehold on the AFC West. Their defense remains suspect, but their offense leads the conference.
The Jets have stepped up to this rarified air by virtue of their victory over the Patriots. You might have missed it, but they’ve got the seventh best defense and fifth best offense in the conference. And some fella named Favre, who maybe has been here once or twice before.
I’m moving the Ravens down to “bubble” status, mostly because the Colts have finally found their rhythm. Both teams figure to be fighting for the wild card, although the Ravens still have an outside shot at winning the division.
The Patriots remain here, joined all of a sudden by the Dolphins. The Bills still cling to hope, but both the Chargers and Jaguars have lost ground and don’t currently deserve consideration.
My prediction two weeks ago: Titans, Steelers, Broncos, Ravens, Jets, Colts
My prediction now: exactly the same.