Older AFCE

AFC Playoff Scenarios and Outlook

AFC Playoff Scenarios and Outlook
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I’m sure that when Luciano devised this article concept there was more to be decided. Clearly that is no longer the case. There is only one spot left open in the AFC playoffs and shockingly the Jets own it and control their destiny.  It’s more shocking because of the action yesterday where the team that was supposed to lose won and the team that was supposed to humiliate a hapless divisional opponent got embarrassed.

 

When everyone saw the tail end of the schedule the game against the Pats was an assumed loss. I mean, it’s the freakin’ Pats, right?? Not only did the Pats not win yesterday, they looked completely out classed for the majority of the game. Sure there’s a long pass here or there but the Patriots were basically ineffective on offense and made Fitzpatrick look a little bit like a golden god (quick! Someone in New York sign him for $56 mil!). You can debate all day until you’re blue in the face regarding the decision to kick the ball in OT but the fact remains that Fitzpatrick marched the Jets down the field like the Patriots weren’t even there and scored the game winning touchdown on a rainbow to Decker in the corner of the end zone.

 

This now sets up the Jets/Bills game this Sunday in Orchard Park as a win and you’re in scenario. The Bills and Rex Ryan can play spoiler to the Jets playoff hopes by somehow figuring out how to play football again. The Bills have had Jets number over the past 2 seasons but this feels like a task they aren’t going to be up for. injuries, and generally poor depth is likely to result in the Bills not acting like a spoiler but more likely to look like spoiled milk: curdled, smelly and vomit inducing.

 

The only X Factor that put a wrinkle in this AFC playoff race is the Steelers and their dominant offense being silenced by the Ravens. This, to me, is the more remarkable story. The Steelers had everything going for them prior to yesterday. They had the deadliest offense, had control of their own destiny, and were playing the woeful Ravens and finishing up with the Browns. I refuse to use the cliches like “any given Sunday” or “that’s why they play the games” because it’s stupid….but they both apply.

 

The Steelers lost control of their playoff hunt and thus made the path through the AFC potentially easier if the Bills tank on Sunday. The Steelers have to still handle their business against the Cleveland Manziel’s which I’d say would be a trap game but I don’t think the Steelers are going to let this happen to them twice. I expect they’ll come out guns blazing and take it directly to the Browns.

 

But by 4pm it might not make a difference anyway.

 

As for seeding, who cares?? New England has to beat the horrendous, safety spewing Dolphins. If they happen to not succeed in this task, they need Denver and Cincinnati to lose one of their final two games (half of this should take care of itself tonight barring the rare tie). Nothing in life is as certain as death, taxes and the Patriots getting their way.

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