Your Quarterly AFC Review

¾ of the way through this thrill ride known as the NFL regular season and this Super Sonic Shit Show is coming into shape. I feel it’s safe to say that the average Steelers fan is pleased with the overall state of things. At 9-3 we have put ourselves within striking distance of a first round bye. For the educated fan this is nothing new, your team goes through ups and downs, injuries and media bullshit, but the end goal remains the same: put yourselves into the best possible position for the tournament health-wise, matchup-wise. There are six teams who already have 8 loses, they’re fucked. The rest still have some semblance of a shot at the postseason and we’ll look at them as potential opponents.

Once again, team capsule style by record followed by playoff predictions, like I’m some sort of fucking soothsayer, I know:

Lead Dogs:

Tennessee (11-1) – With a two game lead in the conference and the Ken Dorsey-led Browns coming to town my guess is the Titans have home field through-out wrapped up. Am I the only one that thinks they seem ripe for a one-and-done playoff experience, though? I mean, Kerry Goddamn Collins? Chris Johnson is good, but Lendale White seems shaky at best and Justin Gage is their best receiver? You can bet your ass we’ll hear enough about the “Possible AFC Championship Preview” as we approach our Dec. 21st match-up with these guys. We have the statistical edge in literally every category against them it if does come down to it. God, I hate fucking Joe Nedney.

Likely In:

Indianapolis (8-4) – Fucking Colts. You just had that feeling when they came back against us that they would make the playoffs. Having ripped off four straight, these guys would have been dangerous as shit with home field, so we should be thanking Christ that they play in the Titan’s division. With Cincy, Detroit and the Jags on their slate, they may be the only wild card team in recent memory to have a better record a bye team, which would put them squarely in our crosshairs were they to get a W in the opening round…getting my perineum pierced would be preferable to 3 Manning losses in one year.

Baltimore (8-4) – You knew. You probably circled Dec. 14th on your mental calendar. One way or the other the Ravens are going to go a long way in determining what happens in our season. Joe Flacco is good, but not great. Their running game is pieced together. And their defense is above average. If they catch us sleeping either in two weeks or in the playoffs we could go down, but I like our chances. Bunch of knuckle-dragging thugs.

NY Jets (8-4) –The weakest of the three here, they still might not be the ones coming out of the East. Sure, Gang Green is glad they nabbed Favre in the offseason, but his aged, Wrangler Jean-wearing ass and their porous defense will be their undoing, count on it. The Jets were embarrassed at home by Denver and shown to be the 30th ranking defense against the pass that they are.

First Round Fodder:

Miami (7-5) – A cursory look at the statistics shows that these guys have given up more points than they’ve scored, but if they can get past Buffalo this Sunday they might be able to stake a claim to a wild card or even snag the division. Any team with a decent defense and a powerful running attack would be somewhat troublesome in the playoffs and Pennington’s numbers don’t indicate he’d necessarily crumble. All that being said, these guys won’t make it past wild-card weekend.

New England (7-5) – Well, I think we definitively showed that the Pats aren’t likely to add a fourth ring this season. They trail the Jets by a game, otherwise I’d say they are a lock for a wild card. They finish with Seattle, Oakland, Arizona and Buffalo so as long as they don’t shit the bed they’ll be in it to the end, unfortunately. If conspiracy theorists are correct Goodell will fix it so that the Colts and Pats meet up in the first round, at which point I will begin rooting for a terrorist attack on the stadium.

Denver (7-5) – The definition of lowest common denominator, it was looking like a bunch of shaved apes was going to have to come out of the West until the Broncos were able to knock off the Jets this past week. There’s no denying Cutler can be impressive at times and that the same can be said for the team as a whole. They’ve beat some legit contenders (Falcons, Bucs, Saints, Jets), but no running back and sporadic offensive play limits their potential.

That’s About Enough Out of You:

Buffalo (6-6) – Trent Edwards might not play Sunday and the Bills’ remaining schedule is less than conducive for a playoff push…shame as I was sort of pulling for these guys since they won’t have a home soon. Marshawn Lynch is a legit back, look for the Bills to challenge for the East next season.

Houston (5-7) - Another Squad whose bid will come up a game or two short. Steve Slaton and Mario Williams are solid foundations on which to build a team, however. But they need an actual QB down there, Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub aren’t it.

And the Rest :

San Diego (4-8) – Nothing but disappointment here and likely to get worse next season. Good move shipping off Brees, clearly.

Cleveland (4-8) – Anyone else get the feeling the Football Gods are pulling an extremely elaborate long-con on the people of Cleveland? If Bill Cowher really signs on with these guys any suggestions for what I should do with my “Chin” bobblehead?

Jacksonville (4-8) – At the onset I was convinced the Jags were a playoff team, but Garrard is the only good thing on the offensive side of the ball. Later, Del Rio.

Oakland (3-9) – Raiders fans should consolidate their efforts toward plotting Al Davis’ death, because “natural causes” won’t be getting that job done any time soon.

Kansas City (2-9) – Thigpen and Bowe. Blow everything else up.

Cincinnati (1-10) – The Bengals might do well to just admit Carson Palmer is not the same guy as 2005 and draft a QB that can get Housh the ball more. Also an entire defense.

- Our three losses have come against teams with a combined record of 25-10-1, so it’s not like we’ve gone down to patsies. That being said, I’d feel better if two weren’t at Heinz, it’d bode well for the playoffs

- Saying we control our own destiny is not an overstatement. We simply cannot afford to lose more than one game down the stretch and still get the bye. The Cowboys and Ravens will be tall orders, but we are capable. Here’s hoping Barber and Ware are out for this Sunday.


South – Tennessee 14-2 (BYE)

North – Pittsburgh 11-5 (BYE)

East – New England 10-6
West –Denver 9-7

Wild Card – Indianapolis 11-5

Wild Card – Baltimore 9-7
(Don't hold me to this shit...)


Spatula said...

I like the way you think. I hope that when we get to the Ravens they're not so out of contention that they figure to hell with the penalties and (very unlikely) fines and cheap shot us out of play off competition.

Austin said...

As for the Colts thing, didn't the Jiggy-Wires have a better record than the Stillers in last year's Wild Card game?

Dixie Normess said...

clearly, I had blocked that painful memory. Seriously, I was there and have only the single remaining image of Garrard running on that 3rd down play burned into my recollection...and Farrior's subsequent flipping out at the refs for the no calls on the 93 obvious holds...dammit, no I have to get drunk again.