AFCE and the Playoffs
Surge will be providing us with a more in-debt, game by game scenario in his new weekly articles dedicated to each divisional team (Those article will publish all day Tuesday and again combined into one on Sunday). Do not confuse my percentages (yea I know 2%) with his. Mine are based on what percentage your team has against the other playoff contenders. That number will fluctuate higher and lower every week depending on the number of teams still in the hunt. I will also automatically eliminate teams that have a very small chance. This week we have two new entries, the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns. The Browns replaced the Bengals who are now in first place.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have basically distanced themselves from the rest of the division. With the division all but locked, the Pats have the #1 overall record in mind. Their main obstacle will not be the Denver Broncos, but the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that they must beat by at least a game. Patriots are looking real good, solid in every aspect. The week one loss followed by 2-3 weeks of mediocrity seems like years ago. This team is poised and ready for a SB run. If I had to pick today, I would say the Pats play the Packers. What amazes me is the ability to replace injured veterans. Jonas Gray is the latest one to emerge in Ridley’s absence. Last week I thought that a 12-4 record would be the end result, but that took a loss in Indy under consideration. The Patriots will finish 13-3, with the Packers road game being the only one I see as a loss.
The Bills have hit a road block. 5-3 had the fan base dreaming big, and rightly so, however losses to KC and Miami have really brought everyone back to reality. I know most Bills fans will not agree, but the season is still a huge success. My only issue is the QB position, and as I said early in the season when Orton was started, I will say it again; “ Does Orton winning 8 games mean more than EJ winning 7?”. The playoffs are a mirage at the moment; too many things will have to fall in place in order for that happen, and the Bills will need to run the table. Last week we had them at 8-8, that had them losing to the Dolphins, I still expect 3-3, finishing up at 8-8
The Dolphins, as expected in last week’s projections (against my hope) played an excellent game and beat division rivals Bills. That has given them a huge step forward in the playoff race. Tannehill is playing smart and hurting opponents with short drop offs that seem very effective, especially with the speed of Landry. The Dolphins now have a tough stretch of games that will either solidify their playoff position or totally eliminate them. Denver will be ready for vindication, at home. Divisional games are always tough, and playing in cold NY will not be easy (Dolphins will have to sweep the Jets to get into the post season). Had them at 8-8 last week,but the good play has me thinking they may win an extra game, I expect a 3-3 record, finishing the season at 9-7
It will be very difficult for one of our teams to join the Patriots. The Dolphins with the best shot would have to upset the Broncos, Ravens or the Patriots in order to achieve that. It appears that this year’s WC spot will require 10 wins, and there are so many teams still in the hunt. The AFCN has to be the most competitive division in football, everyone of their teams has a shot. My projection is that one between the Chiefs and Broncos will join one from the AFCN.