Thursday, December 17, 2009

NFL Visions, Part 2


AFC Playoff picture
Denver (8-5) and Jacksonville (7-6) would be in if the season ended today (it doesn't), but Miami, the Jets and Baltimore are all 7-6 as well while the Steelers, Texans and Titans are 6-7. Of the teams currently on the outside looking in, Baltimore might be the one to keep an eye on. They get the Bears, Steelers and Raiders in their final three games, while the Jets draw both the Colts and Bengals and the Dolphins have to deal with the Titans, the Texans and the Steelers.

But wait! The Dolphins and Jets trail the Patriots by just one game in the AFC East as well. It looks like Week 17 will have an awful lot to say about this year's playoffs.

New York Giants, 7-6
This has to be the most mercurial team in the NFL this year. They had the highest of expectations heading into the season, which made their 5-0 start rather ho hum. But the four consecutive losses that succeeded it were quite a shock. A win over the Falcons made some--me, at least--believe they were back on track, but then they got obliterated by the Broncos on Thanksgiving and I gave up on them. So, naturally, they beat the Cowboys the following week. But then they gave up 45 points in a loss to the Eagles this past week. Bottom line: if you're a betting man (or woman), take a big, fat, black marker and black out the Giants game each week from your list of betting options. I hope they don't make the playoffs, because that would be one postseason betting option out the window.


Chicago Bears, 5-8
I've dedicated plenty of ink (er, computer words) to the Bears' suckiness. There's no doubt in my mind that they belong in this category. Three of their five wins were over the Rams, Browns and Lions. Now I realize you can only play the games on your schedule, and a win's a win. But the NFL, with its 16-game schedule, requires fans to scrutinize teams' schedules more closely than in any other sport. If the Bears has played, say, the NFC East rather than the NFC West, their record would probably be 3-10 instead of 5-8. And if that were the case, Halas Hall would be in full out panic mode, rather than "Hm, perhaps we should make a change, but perhaps not" mode.

Every Sunday morning, I get a little excited about the upcoming Bears game (although in recent weeks, I've gone from being a little excited to a little excited to a little excited, but it's still there). But pretty much as soon as the game starts, I remember how dreadfully awful they are and that I don't really like watching them. I'm too much of a fan not to watch, but I wish I could follow the advice of my own category and not look at them. Because they're hideous.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1-12
Man, what happened to this team? They were 8-4 at one point last year, but lost their last four games. Which makes them 1-16 in their last 17 games. And while QB Josh Freeman was looking good for a while, he threw five interceptions two weeks ago against Carolina, and then three more last week against the Jets. At least his interception total dropped from Week 13 to Week 14. So ... they have that going for them.

Kansas City Chiefs, 3-10
Remember when Matt Cassel had a big year with the Patriots last year, and then he became a free agent, and he signed with the Chiefs? And it was like, "Hm, maybe the Chiefs will be decent this year." Um, no. Cassel has had some decent games this year, but the Chiefs have scored the fifth-fewest points in the league. Not to be out-sucked, the defense has allowed the fourth-most points in the league. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Kansas City's miserable season has been their struggles at home. They've amassed a 140-40 record at Arrowhead since 1990, which is the NFL's best home record in that stretch. But they're just 1-6 there in 2009.

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