Rooting challenge of the week: Texans @ Raiders
The rooting guide is off to an embarassing start in 2016, mainly due to the woes of the AFC North through 10 weeks. At least the North has three teams in the divisional hunt. A wildcard spot for the divison is simply a pipe dream at this point unless this rooting thing really works (it does for me gameday, as long as I wear my purple briefs, lean against my left elbow while drinking a fine craft brew in my right, then freeze in position once my team takes the lead whether its for two minutes or 2.5 hours)… Where was I… As the North records currently stand, its 2nd place team is 2.5 games out the wildcard, and the first place team has the 6th best recoed in the AFC, which would make them 7th in the NFC.
Whether your team is in the playoffs, in desperate need of help, or on the outside looking in, it still feels good to
root for others to fail.
In week 11’s Rooting Guide, there are many games significant to the North, but the rooting choice is obvious in most cases. Four of eight games are inter-conference, and just three games combine two potential contenders. With that in mind, the following assumptions will be made this week:
1. Division pride will often take precedence over division rivalry hatred unless the game effects that team’s playoff chances. AFC North fans need to avoid the embarrassment of defending a sub .500 division champion.
2. “Consensus” picks below include everyone but fans of those teams, who will obviously be rooting for their favorite team.
3. Some fans will let sheer hatred overrule the logical choice.
Games with playoff implications (Records are listed for non-eliminated AFC teams only. The NFC records are irrelevant):
Steelers (4-5) @ Browns
Ravens (5-4, #4 seed) @ Cowboys
Titans (5-5, #8) @ Indy (4-5)
Bills (4-5) @ Bengals (3-5-1)
Buccaneers @ Chiefs (7-2 #2)
Dolphins (5-4, #7) @ Rams
Patriots (7-2, #1) @ 49ers
Texans (6-3, #3) @ Raiders (7-2, #5)
Browns– Sorry Steelers fans. Most would want your team to lose anyway. Add playoff and division implications against an 0-10 team, and everyone outside of the Steel City will be pulling for the Browns (with the possible exception of Lions fans who may want some 0-16 company).
Cowboys – And sorry Ravens fans. There aren’t many fans outside of Baltimore who want to be entertained by that offense in the playoffs (if the first nine games are any indication). In addition, Bengals and Steelers can only catch the Ravens if they lose, although the Bengals control their own destiny with two head-to-head games coming up.
Buccaneers – An obvious choice. The AFC West as a whole needs to start losing some games to make us all look better. They are seriously messing up the curve.
Rams – Not only would it be nice to see the Dolphins come back down to earth, it would mean the Rams offense actually scored more than 10 points, something they haven’t accomplished since October 16th.
49ers – Can you imagine the trolling field day after an unlikely 49ers win? I only say this because the 49ers have nothing to boast this year. When the 49ers are good, their fans are unbearable.
and now the rooting challenge…
Titans or Indy? For me the choice is obvious. Although Indy has a guy named Luck, the Titans have won 4 of 6 and look way more balanced. IMO, an Indy win is better for the North’s wild card chances because they are the inferior team, and they have the tougher schedule down the stretch.
Bills or Bengals? – Normally a division rival would not be in the challenge category. However for this game, the Steelers may feel like the the Bengals are not a threat to them. The Bills are starting to gains some confidence, and will be .500 with a win. It might be in the Steelers best interest for all wildcard contenders in front of them to lose, and they control their own destiny with the Bengals. Technically the Steelers are two games out of first with tiebreakers. Ravens fans on the other hand will certainly want the Bengals to lose considering the Bengals have their number, and each Bengals and Steelers loss gets their team closer to a division title.
Texans or Raiders? For North fans this is a tough one. Both teams are in the mix for a division title, but the Texans have a much better shot. If you like fans dressed in drag, take the Raiders. If you concede that the Texans will win the division, root for Houston and hope that the Raiders start to slide.
|Seed||standings||Best week 11 Bengals||Best week 11 Steelers||Best week 11 Ravens||Best week 11 Browns draft||Projected finish|
|1||NE 7-2||NE 7-3||NE 7-3||NE 7-3||NE 7-3||KC 12-4|
|2||KC 7-2||KC 7-3||KC 7-3||KC 7-3||KC 7-3||NE 11-5|
|3||Hou 6-3||Hou 7-3||Hou 7-3||Hou 7-3||Hou 7-3||Hou 11-5|
|4||Bal 5-4||Bal 5-5||Bal 5-5||Bal 6-4||Bal 5-5||Pit 8-8|
|5||Oak 7-2||Oak 7-3||Oak 7-3||Oak 7-3||Oak 7-3||Den 11-5|
|6||Den 7-3||Den 7-3||Den 7-3||Den 7-3||Den 7-3||Oak 10-6|
|7||Mia 5-4||Mia 5-5||Mia 5-5||Mia 5-5||Mia 5-5||Mia 8-8|
|8||Ten 5-5||Ind 5-5||Pit 5-5||Buf 5-5||Ind 5-5||Buf 8-8|
|9||Pit 4-5||Ten 5-6||Ind 5-5||Ind 5-5||Ten 5-6||Cin 7-8-1|
|10||Ind 4-5||Pit 4-6||Ten 5-6||Ten 5-6||Pit 4-6||Bal 7-9|
|11||Buf 4-5||Buf 4-6||Buf 4-6||Pit 4-6||Buf 4-6||Ind 7-9|
|12||SD 4-6||SD 4-6||SD 4-6||SD 4-6||SD 4-6||Ten 7-9|
|13||Cin 3-5-1||Cin 4-5-1||Cin 4-5-1||Cin 3-6-1||Cin 3-6-1||SD 6-10|
|14||NYJ 3-7||NYJ 3-7||NYJ 3-7||NYJ 3-7||NYJ 3-7||NYJ 5-11|
|15||Jax 2-7||Jax 2-8||Jax 2-8||Jax 2-8||Jax 3-7||Jax 3-13|
|16||Cle 0-10||Cle 1-10||Cle 0-11||Cle 1-10||Cle 1-10||Cle 0-16|
There you have it. We will do the rooting work for you. Just sit back and watch.