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AFC Playoff Watch: The Quest for the #1 seed

Discussion in 'Blinded by the Lombardis: Patriots Forum' started by RedOctober3829, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

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    35,380
    Here's the current playoff standings

    1. KC 8-1(7-1 conference record, .481 SOS/.441 SOV)
    --Holds H2H tiebreaker advantages with Pittsburgh, LA Chargers, and Cincinnati.
    --Remaining Schedule: 4 Home(AZ, BAL, LAC , OAK), 2 Road(SEA , OAK), 1 Neutral(LAR at Mexico City)

    2. New England 7-2(5-1 conference record, .507 SOS/.542 SOV)
    --Holds H2H tiebreaker advantages with Kansas City and Houston.
    --Remaining Schedule: 3 Home(MIN, BUF, NYJ), 4 Road(TEN, PIT, MIA, NYJ)

    3. Pittsburgh 5-2-1(3-2-1 conference record, .478 SOS/.440 SOV)
    --Holds H2H tiebreaker advantage with Cincinnati.
    --Remaining Schedule: 4 Home(NE, CAR, LAC, CIN), 4 Road(JAC, DEN, OAK, NO)

    4. Houston 6-3(5-2 conference record, .405 SOS/.380 SOV)
    --Currently hold no significant H2H tiebreakers.
    --Remaining Schedule: 4 Home(TEN, CLE, IND, JAC), 3 Road(WAS, NYJ, PHI)

    5. LA Chargers 6-2(4-1 conference record, .449 SOS/.290 SOV)
    --Currently hold no significant H2H tiebreakers.
    --Remaining Schedule: 4 Home(DEN, AZ, CIN, BAL), 4 Road(OAK, PIT, KC, DEN)

    6. Cincinnati 5-3(3-2 conference record, .575 SOS/.452 SOV)
    --Currently hold no significant H2H tiebreakers
    --Remaining Schedule: 4 Home(NO, CLE, DEN, OAK), 4 Road(BAL, LAC, CLE, PIT)

    7. Miami 5-4
    8. Baltimore 4-5
    9. Tennessee 3-4
     
  2. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The possibility of this happening is extremely remote, but mathematically, LAC, KC and NE could all finish at 14-2. Pats would have beat Chiefs; LAC and KC would have beat each other once. So I assume Pats finish #1, then some series of tiebreakers for LAC and KC? (I guess LAC would win with a better conference record?)
     
  3. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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  4. bradmahn

    bradmahn Member SoSH Member

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    If I've got it right, the Chargers would be the fifth seed due to losing the common games tiebreaker to KC (who, in theory, defeat the Rams and lose to the Chargers to go 14-2). KC loses the tiebreaker to New England.
     
  5. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised if that order stayed the same other than the 6 seed. Pats probably need to finish no worse than 5-1 to get the 1 seed. If Rams lose to Chiefs in Mexico City, it’ll be tough to catch KC.

    On the flip side, the Pats are in pretty good position for the 2 seed. Just like last year, the game in Pittsburgh is shaping up to be a big one. Win that and the bye is probably effectively clinched.
     
  6. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Any tiebreakers regarding Pittsburgh are pretty worthless since they're unlikely to finish tied with anyone. Also, I would say Cincinnati's wins over Miami and Baltimore qualify as significant tiebreakers.

    The West will get one WC, so that leaves the other one between the two North teams that don't win the division, Miami, and maybe if one of the South teams get hot. Cincinnati should get to nine wins if they just win the home games they're supposed to (CLE/DEN/OAK) and one road game (most likely CLE). Even though Miami plays Buffalo twice, it's very hard to see them getting to 10 with their schedule plus they usually struggle there in December and Allen will be back. Baltimore could very well win all their home games (which will erase the tiebreaker with Cincinnati), but they'll have to find a way to win at least one of ATL/KC/LAC on the road. Indianapolis probably has the best chance of teams not listed - Luck looks to be fully back and they have five of their last eight at home, although they lose the tiebreaker to Cincinnati.
     
  7. Ed Hillel

    Ed Hillel Wants to be startin somethin SoSH Member

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    Pitt’s schedule is brutal, I’d be surprised if they win 11 games. I’m more worried about Houston, though we hold that tiebreak. Winning in Pitt would be great, of course.
     
  8. SMU_Sox

    SMU_Sox loves his fluffykins SoSH Member

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    NE has the easiest schedule of the contenders left with only two difficult games on the schedule (no disrespect to divisional opponents) @Pit and vs Min. KC has to go to Seattle and go up against the Rams in Mexico City as well as host the Chargers who have a good defense. PIT has a brutal slate with games against US, the Saints, the Chargers, the Panthers, and on the road against the Jaguars (maybe they aren't as bad by then).
    I like their odds of securing a bye. I am optimistic they have a good shot at the #1 seed as well.
     
  9. SMU_Sox

    SMU_Sox loves his fluffykins SoSH Member

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    You beat me by a minute on Pitt you vagabond. I am not worried about Houston. Their SOS and SOV tell the tale. They have won 6 in a row which is great but after losing to the Giants (to the Giants!) they needed a pick-6 to beat the Bills, OT to beat the Cowboys, handled the Fins and the Jags (both teams were reeling), and then squeaked by Denver by 2. They've played better than the first three weeks and are on a positive trajectory but I am not sold yet.
     
  10. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    They definitely have the toughest schedule but they also seem to be playing better - also, road games in JAX and DEN no longer look that daunting for them. This upcoming Panthers game will be big but I expect PIT to win it. Maybe Le'Veon's return can screw up their chemistry a bit.

    I'm not really concerned about Houston because they need to be +2 in W differential the rest of the way due to that tiebreaker and that is very unlikely to happen. I do think it's possible that they rise to the 3 seed, which would be great if we land at #2.

    Ultimately, it looks like there will be a home game against PIT/HOU/LAC to advance to the AFCCG, as I don't expect the Pats to get the 1 seed.
     
  11. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

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    I did not figure that Miami and Baltimore would figure in the playoff picture by the end of the season, so I did not quantify those as "significant tiebreakers". I listed tiebreakers moreso as to look to who would win a division/bye/#1 seed and not a WC. I think that these 6 teams currently in the playoffs are a good bet to be the 6 that are actually there. You explained Miami and Baltimore who have a more realistic chance(very small) of sneaking in of anybody else. Tennessee(if they lose tonight) and Indy look hard pressed to get to 9 or 10 wins given their respective schedules and the fact that they don't have margin for error.
     
  12. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Even with the H2H victory over KC, it's very hard to see a path to the #1 seed apart from NE winning out. Even then it might not be enough. It's the NFL (where Buffalo went on the road and crushed Minnesotao_O), so anything can happen, but the only challenges I see left on KC's schedule are at Seattle and in Mexico City vs the Rams. Maybe - MAYBE - the Chargers could give them a good game, but it's at Arrowhead so most likely not. But possible.

    The Pats, if they go 6-1 the rest of the way (not an unreasonable thought) to finish 13-3, would need KC to lose two more times. That seems....very unlikely.

    The Pats with the #2 seed would normally not worry me too much. But when is the last time they won a road playoff game? Granted, they don't have too many of those, but their last road playoff win was 1/14/07 at San Diego. In Brady's playoff career, here are his road games:

    1/23/05 at Pit: W, 41-27
    1/14/06 at Den: L, 27-13
    1/14/07 at SD: W, 24-21
    1/21/07 at Ind: L, 38-34
    1/19/14 at Den: L, 26-16
    1/24/16 at Den: L, 20-18

    So just 2-4 on the road in the playoffs. Granted, three of those were at Denver (a bit of a house of horrors), but still. Averaging just 21.5 points a game on the road. Long story short....not ideal to have to play KC on the road in the AFCCG.

    So to avoid that it's either run the table or hope KC gets beaten in the playoffs. The most likely candidate is Pittsburgh, I think. Pittsburgh lost by just 5 when they played in week 2 (42-37), so they can hang with them. But this would necessitate the Steelers getting the 4 seed, which, given their schedule, is totally possible. They should finish ahead of Baltimore and hang onto the 4 seed. Then if form holds, it would be Pit at KC, and Hou at NE in the divisional round. I think that's the best the Pats can reasonably hope for.

    Even if they run the table they're not assured of the #1 seed (NE, that is). Losing one game makes it almost impossible.
     
  13. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Of course playing at home is preferable, but I don't know how much 4 games on the road 11+ seasons ago really matters....other than the fact that most teams lose on the road in the playoffs more than they win.
     
  14. wilked

    wilked Member SoSH Member

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    538 has 13-3 as the most likely record for KC. I think you are overestimating KC's strength. They are good, but they will be playing some tough opponents

    Unfortunately it has 12-4 as most likely for Pats

    However, if Pats do go 13-3 I think they have a great shot at #1 seed
    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2018-nfl-predictions/
     
  15. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    Same - 12-4 feels about right for this team. I think they beat the Steelers, because they always seem to, but they will probably lose to a divisional opponent once this season (again, because they always seem to), and probably one additional random game where they shit the bed.
     
  16. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    I just don’t see the losses for KC. I can see one, maybe maybe maybe two. Again it’s the NFL so anything can happen. But I don’t think I’m being irrational at all (you didn’t say I was) for thinking that KC probably will only lose one more game this regular season. If they lose two, that allows NE to lose one as well.
     
  17. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    I guess my point was that Brady hasn’t fared well on the road in the playoffs, which may well make perfect sense given that road teams tend to lose in the playoffs. But then why should that give me confidence if they have to go into Arrowhead? If the Pats finish 13-3 and travel to play 14-2 KC, that’s going to be one daunting matchup.
     
  18. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Agreed, I'd feel great about the one seed if you told me KC is going 13-3. At 14-2 I struggle to see it.
     
  19. Seels

    Seels Member SoSH Member

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    I think KC finishes with the 2. Too many hard games left. KC still has games against the Ravens and Chargers, and @ the Seahawks Rams. I seriously doubt they win more than 2 of those. The Pats difficult games left are a home game against the Vikings, and away game against the Dolphins and Steelers. What's the hardest game on there, @ Miami?
     
  20. Seels

    Seels Member SoSH Member

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    When's the last time Kansas City won a playoff game period? Montana? Dawson? (I actually forgot they won in 2016 against the Brian Hoyer 15 passer rating and Alfred 3.6 ypc Blue Texans).

    This Chiefs team just doesn't scare me. An abhorrent defense and an Andy Reid offense. They got crushed at Gillette until the return and Brady fumble. The Pats sure could use homefield. But the Chiefs absolutely depend on it.
     
  21. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    I didn't say it should.

    But if history is any guide, KC will flame out late in the season and then in the postseason as well.
     
  22. lexrageorge

    lexrageorge Member SoSH Member

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    The "Brady hasn't fared well in the playoffs" theory was debunked in a thread once before. Correction: Brady is 2-4 in the playoffs on the road, but at least a couple of those losses had absolutely nothing to do with Brady (Indy and the first one in Denver). It's difficult to win on the road in the playoffs, because often the home team is indeed the better team. That was certainly the case in 2014 when the Pats were without Gronk and lost Talib early in the game. And in 2016 where the Pats had no running game (Blount was hurt) and the OL struggled badly. Those Denver teams also had an excellent defense, and teams with excellent defenses always seem to win at home in the playoffs.

    As for KC, yes, we'd all much prefer the game to be in Foxboro than in Arrowhead. But I don't think you can use the Indy loss back in 2007 as a useful indicator of how Brady would perform in such a matchup should it be in KC.

    Still say it's a bit early to predict anyway. Every team goes through at least one WTF game during the course of the regular season. If we're going to predict the Pats will fall in such a game, it's reasonable to assume KC will have the same thing happen to them. The Chiefs defense can be scored upon.
     
  23. Mystic Merlin

    Mystic Merlin Member SoSH Member

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    A 5-2 finish by KC is ‘very unlikely’?

    This is not some historically great team here, and they’re playing competent to very good teams like LAR, SEA, LAC, and BAL.

    The Chargers and Rams besting KC should not be a shocker.

    Anyways, I think the Pats likely have to win out, and certainly not lose more than one more game, to get homefield. Tall task. But, then again, the same goes for KC.
     
  24. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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  25. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    the much easier schedule for us is a huge advantage. KC might end up with 3 losses, never mind 2. all credit to KC if they go 15-1 though.

    the only potential losses I see for us are @MIA (due to the usual shit that goes on down there) as usual and of course @PIT. Jets on the road, ok it's a divisional road game but the Jets seem pretty awful this year like the Bills.

    Chargers are a sneaky team that probably would win @AFC South winner in a WC game. Compared to the Titans last year as the #5 seed, not at all a pushover.
     
  26. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    A Reid-like offense and a meh defense last year beat us in the Super Bowl.
     
  27. Seels

    Seels Member SoSH Member

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    Eagles were 4th in defensive points last year giving up 295.
    The Chiefs are on pace to give up 402.

    These aren't comparable teams.
     
  28. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Brady on the road in the playoffs (I forgot the game in 2002 where Bledsoe came in; I'll include it here):

    1/27/02 at Pit: W, 24-17 - Brady: 12-18, 115 yds, 0 td, 0 int, 84.3 rating
    1/23/05 at Pit: W, 41-27 - Brady: 14-21, 207 yds, 2 td, 0 int, 130.5 rating
    1/14/06 at Den: L, 27-13 - Brady: 20-36, 341 yds, 1 td, 2 int, 74.0 rating
    1/14/07 at SD: W, 24-21 - Brady: 27-51, 280 yds, 2 td, 3 int, 57.6 rating
    1/21/07 at Ind: L, 38-34 - Brady: 21-34, 232 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 79.5 rating
    1/19/14 at Den: L, 26-16 - Brady: 24-38, 277 yds, 1 td, 0 int, 93.9 rating
    1/24/16 at Den: L, 20-18 - Brady: 27-56, 310 yds, 1 td, 2 int, 56.4 rating

    So only one of these games could be considered, from a statistical standpoint, "great" (2005 at Pit). One was pretty good (2014 at Den). I thought he played better in the 2016 game than his stats would indicate (he got hammered all game long and hung in there heroically), but those are still some ugly numbers. Meh against Pit in 2002. Pretty ugly at SD. Meh at Indy.

    On the whole, not particularly great. Overall road totals:

    145-254 (57.1%), 1,762 yds, 8 td, 8 int, 75.9 rating

    So yeah, they lost a game where he played pretty well (2014 at Den). They also won where he played pretty poorly (2007 at SD). In his losses: 92-164 (56.1%), 1,160 yds, 4 td, 5 int, 73.7 rating

    I know it doesn't mean he can't go into Arrowhead and win. And I'm not trying to crap on Brady, who is obviously the greatest of all time. I'm just saying that I don't think the "Brady hasn't been very good on the road in the playoffs" idea has been "debunked". It's a small sample size - just 7 games - but whatever the sample size has been, it's just not been great.
     
  29. CantKeepmedown

    CantKeepmedown Member SoSH Member

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    Didn't a Pittsburgh player say the same thing last season? Granted, I think it was later in the season, but still. Of course, they couldn't hold up their end of the bargain.
     
  30. Ed Hillel

    Ed Hillel Wants to be startin somethin SoSH Member

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    Worse, it was their head coach.
     
  31. eustis22

    eustis22 lurker

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    I think he meant an Andy Reid offensive game plan. Plus an Andy Reid Clock Management game plan.
     
  32. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    It hasn't been great but we're talking about two games in the post-2007 era, both of which were played in very adverse conditions for offensive success. The 2014 stat line could be seen as a minor miracle given that his 2nd and 3rd downfield targets that afternoon were Austin Collie and Hooman. And the 2016 game was played against one of the best defenses in recent memory with an offensive group that was banged up all over the place and hadn't practiced together much in the previous month.

    Its obviously better to play at home but I wouldn't read a lot into the road record. If the offensive group is healthy and functioning well but they happen to still get the #2 seed, I'd expect them to put up lots of points against that Chiefs defense in Arrowhead. If they're on the road because they lost regular season games due to key offensive personnel being injured and not playing well, then its obviously a different story.
     
  33. JohnnyTheBone

    JohnnyTheBone Member SoSH Member

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    Not to mention the well-documented Brian Stork pre-snap head-bob that was telegraphing the snap for Denver's defensive line, allowing them to get a running start at Brady. It's a miracle Tom survived that game, let alone had the Patriots in position to force overtime if not for an errant Gostkowski extra point. Heroic performance by the GOAT.
     
  34. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    I've always wondered how the coaching staff didn't notice the Stork thing. Definitely a heroic performance by TB12 and a tough loss.
     
  35. wilked

    wilked Member SoSH Member

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    With link as a reminder
    http://insidethepylon.com/film-stud...6/02/01/bryan-storks-head-bob-costs-patriots/

    Man, would have been nice to do that game again without that tip off
     
  36. bakahump

    bakahump Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Seels is right.

    Plus if our defense makes NO STOPS THE ENTIRE GAME then yea....I bet the 10th seed could possibly beat us.
    Now if we get even 1 stop that Andy Reid Offense and Meh Defense isnt quite so daunting.
     
  37. SMU_Sox

    SMU_Sox loves his fluffykins SoSH Member

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    5,993
    Last year there was nothing meh about the Eagle's defense. The fact that the Pats gained so many yards against it is a testament to how freaking good they were last year and also the success BB has had against Schwartz in his career.

    I think KC will run into problems eventually this year when they face a team that can beat their defense (an easy task) and slow down their offense a bit (not such an easy task). I would imagine they would have difficulties against the Rams, Chargers, and Seahawks. They might win 2/3 of those but I don't think KC runs the table. I'd also probably take more balanced NFC teams against them in the SB but that's looking too far out.
     
  38. BusRaker

    BusRaker lurker

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    The Tennessee game scares me as much as any of them, a team on the rise on their turf with a mobile quarterback. Chung + LB's will need to be fast.

    But if the Pats do lose a seed over the KC Varsities I'm totally blaming the Gruden fire sale, with two games left against them.
     
  39. lexrageorge

    lexrageorge Member SoSH Member

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    Still wondering if Stork was feeling the effects of an unreported concussion. He missed a few games with one that season, and he ended up retiring the following season without having played another snap.
     
  40. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    They're on the rise? They score like 17 points/game, down from last year, and they're essentially a .500 team, where they've been the last few seasons.
     
  41. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, Mariota is 3-7 in his last 10 regular season starts. The Patriots should win this game.
     
  42. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    Any given Sunday and all that but I think we match up quite well with Tennessee. Mariota is not a good thrower and we have Gilmore to negate Davis. If the offense scores their customary 24-30, I don't know how Tennessee keeps up. Keep Mariota in the pocket, lock onto Davis/Dion, and make the rest of that pedestrian offense beat you.

    I think they'll need some turnover-aided short fields, special teams help, and/or an atypically bad Brady game to win.
     
  43. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Pats have won their last 5 against Titans, by an average of 29 points.

    I'm a big believer in "any given Sunday" and all that, but this game shouldn't scare anyone.
     
  44. BusRaker

    BusRaker lurker

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    Aside from the Ravens thrashing they've been in every game, and against some quality opponents. They looked okay last night on the road against a team previously (miraculously maybe) undefeated at home. Or perhaps Bill's one-game-at-a-time mentality is leaking in inappropriately into this season-themed thread
     
  45. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    KC points allowed at home vs. on the road...

    - Home: 27, 14, 10, 23, average of 18.5 ppg
    - Road: 28, 37, 23, 43, 21, average of 30.4 ppg

    Patriots points scored at home vs. on the road...

    - Home: 27, 38, 38, 43, 31, average of 35.4 ppg
    - Road: 20, 10, 38, 25, average of 23.3 ppg

    I'd say that from these numbers, playing at home would be a major advantage for NE, and playing at Arrowhead would be a major advantage for KC. Points have been hard to come by, even against this lousy KC defense, at Arrowhead.
     
  46. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    No, it shouldn’t. If it wasn’t last before the bye week, I’d worry about the vaunted ‘trap game’ a little bit, but they aren’t losing this game. They’ll be focused coming into their mini vacation.
     
  47. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    I'm not sure a single person is disagreeing that playing at KC would be an advantage for KC.

    Of note however, once the Pats offense got Edelman and Gordon they are averaging 31.5 points/game on the road. Dpes anyone really think if we played Detroit tomorrow we'd score 10 points?
     
  48. Ralphwiggum

    Ralphwiggum Member SoSH Member

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    Take it for what it's worth, but Football Outsiders has the Chiefs as the #1 overall team by DVOA and both their offensive and total DVOA are historically good through 8 games. Their offense is at 41.6% DVOA behind only the 2007 Pats (48%) and '99 Redskins. Lots of football left to be played, obviously, but they look pretty formidable right now. FO also have the Chiefs as the SB favorites at 35% (Pats are third at 9%).
     
  49. wilked

    wilked Member SoSH Member

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    If I could somehow short the Chiefs for the SB at those odds I would put a year's salary on it. This essentially says they are 100% to make the AFC Champion game, 60% to advance to super bowl, then 60% to win that game vs Rams/Saints
     
  50. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Yeah how are there not prop bets for "The Field minus ___ Team(s)", with thinner margins attached?

    Whole hedge funds would be established to bet against Andy Reid.
     

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