Which way is up?
On NFL.com, there are over 21,000 comments on the article concerning playoff scenarios. I can barely remember and article getting so much attention that wasn’t dedicated to the lucrative commercial in images of Black criminality. Even illegitimate births by scrawny super models with star QB’s don’t get the juices flowing like 2nd rate cornerbacks in strip clubs. Whomever said “Sex sells,” never had to compete with the All-American psychopathic racial personality. Now, it seems the only thing to trump the potential for a Negro perp walk is the prospect of making the playoffs. Isn’t naked self-interest a beautiful thing? But I digress…
The Jets, Broncos, Ravens, Texans and Steelers are still alive. Some teams are on life support. Some feel pretty good about their chances, but no one will have it easy. The Jets will host the Bengals. If the Bengals do what the Colts did today, the Jets will be one of the least deserving playoff entrants in recent memory. That is a hard thing to say about a team with the league’s top defense and the top running game. Nonetheless, it is entirely possible that Carson Palmer will be on the bench after halftime. If so, all the Jets need to do is hang close for 30 minutes. The Jets are in if they win. Pittsburgh needs them to lose. If the Jets win, every other contender must lose and fall to 8-8 for a 9-7 Steeler team to make the playoffs. And folks will be waiting…the NFL has moved this game from a 1:00 p.m. start to an 8:15 Sunday Night Football game on NBC.
The Houston Texans defeated the Miami Dolphins today — in Miami. I’m shocked. Next week, they will face the Patriots at home. The Texans are the type of team that usually has a great deal of trouble with a team like New England. Still, there is an element of drama to this game. In 2007, the Patriots lost one of their greatest assets when they were forced to play the Giants in the final game of the season with an undefeated record on the line. It was a hard fought game which New England won, but they showed the Giants every thing in their many bags of tricks. The Super Bowl was destined to be a grind. So, this Patriots team finds themselves in a somewhat similar situation. If they go all out and beat the Texans, the Texans are most likely out of the playoffs. If the Patriots play all starters and attack this game as any other and lose, they may be playing the Texans in exactly one week in New England. So, just as there are questions in Cincinnati, there are questions here. The Patriots might prefer to play a young, inexperienced team like Houston than a tougher experienced team like Baltimore or Pittsburgh. It will be interesting to see how long Tom Brady, a man who was injured in Week 1 in 2008 and who sat for 6 minutes of a highly anticipated contest this season vs. New Orleans, actually plays in this game. It could very well be a short night. If the Texans win, the Steelers need every other contender to lose.
The Baltimore Ravens won’t have it easy either. They will be en route to The Black Hole to play the Raiders. The Raiders have already beaten the Eagles, Broncos, Bengals and Steelers. This the type of game that would put an exclamation point on the Raiders season. They played down to their competition all season — and played up to it as well. The Ravens can win this game. Baltimore cannot expect to get much more than the 175 yards they gained on the ground vs. Pittsburgh. They have to get more from the man whom ESPN’s misguided analyst John Clayton has deemed an elite quarterback. (For my money, I need to see Joe Flacco throw for 200 yards in a playoff game – ONCE. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.) If the Ravens win, there is still hope for the Steelers (more on this later).
A win by the Broncos vs. the Chiefs is not fatal to the Steelers if the Ravens also win (more on this later). But I believe that a Broncos loss is only a good thing if New York AND Houston lose as well. If the Broncos lose and either of the Jets or Texans win (along with Baltimore), the Steelers will be OUT — and here’s why:
Next week, the Steelers need the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos to win, triggering a three-way tie between these teams at 9-7. The Steelers also need for the Jets and Texans to lose to the Bengals and Patriots, respectively. Those teams would finish the season at 8-8.
In a three-way tiebreaker situation, the Ravens and Steelers hold tiebreakers over the Broncos based on head-to-head wins over Denver during the season.
So, exclusive of ties, I think it goes like this:
- Steelers make playoffs with a win and losses by NYJ, BAL, DEN and HOU.
- Steelers make playoffs with a win and losses by NYJ, HOU, and BAL and a win by DEN.
- Steelers make playoffs with a win and losses by NYJ and HOU, and wins by DEN and BAL.
None of this means a thing if they don’t beat “Joey and the Phish.” If Ray Rice and company can get you for 175, you’ve got to real want it vs. Miami’s Wildcat.