AFC Playoff Watch: The Quest for the #1 seed

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
17,385
1. KC 11-3 (@SEA, OAK)
3. Houston 10-4 (@PHI, JAX)
2. New England 9-5 (BUF, NYJ)
4. Pittsburgh 8-5-1 (@NO, CIN)

5. LA Chargers 11-3 (BAL, @DEN)
6. Baltimore 8-6 (@LAC, CLE)

Indy 8-6 (NYG, @TEN)
Tennessee 8-6 (WAS, IND)
Miami 7-7 (JAX, @BUF)
Cleveland 6-7-1 (CIN, @BAL)

Denver is done, IND/TEN have to finish at 8-7-1 at worst. Cleveland can beat both of them in a tiebreaker if that occurs.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
17,385
Jacksonville is a complete zero on offense (even more than us right now!), so that game is probably a lost cause.

Relying on Philly (without Wentz? with nothing to play for?) now. Houston just had red zone issues and survived at the Jets... that will be the game to watch.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
26,136
AZ
This is setting up perfectly. Screw all this negativity.

We’re going to clobber the Texans.

Titans 14 Patriots 38
Patriots 31 Texans 20
Chargers 28 Patriots 34
Patriots 34 Rams 28

TFB MVFP

Next game thread starter will be a legend.
 

soxhop411

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2009
34,110
5 losses for the first time since 2009.

less than 12 wins for the first time since 2009,

below .500 on the road for the first time since 2009.
 

j-man

Member
Dec 19, 2012
1,371
Arkansas
my 02 cents
1 KC/LAC
2 HOU Eagles are just too hurt
3 NE/HOU
4 BALT/PITT balt beats lac pitt loses at no
5 LAC/KC
6 INDY/PITT Colts win out knocking pitt or balt out or tenn beat indy sitting up a 1st round rematch between pitt/ne
 

Salem's Lot

Andy Moog! Andy God Damn Moog!
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
6,001
Gallows Hill
5 losses for the first time since 2009.

less than 12 wins for the first time since 2009,

below .500 on the road for the first time since 2009.
It really is amazing when you think about it. A 10-6 playoff team almost a decade ago is the low point of an almost 20 year run.
 

j44thor

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
8,929
Houston’s record outpaces its quality. There’s a real chance they lose next week in Philly.
Philly is an injury or two from signing Earthwind Moreland to play CB. HOU is the 2 seed after today. Pats are going to struggle with BUF next week, very good D and a mobile QB.
 

axx

lurker
Jul 16, 2005
6,092
BTW, if they do end up playing in the WC game I want nothing to do with Baltimore just simply because of Lamar Jackson.
 

dcmissle

Deflatigator
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 4, 2005
27,354
It really is amazing when you think about it. A 10-6 playoff team almost a decade ago is the low point of an almost 20 year run.
It is quite remarkable.

They will probably match that record. Just get them to the WC round as healthy as possible. They haven’t earned a bye, and they probably need an extra game of work. They are nothing special.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
5,285
Home vs Road for these Pats = Jekyll and Hyde (I forget which of them is the evil guy).

Home:
- 6-0 record
- 33.5 points a game
- 19.7 points allowed a game
- 446.7 yards a game
- 337.8 yards allowed a game

Road:
- 3-5 record
- 17.5 points a game
- 24.0 points allowed a game
- 356.3 yards a game
- 398.9 yards allowed a game

Night and day. This doesn't bode well going into the playoffs if they have to go on the road.
 

SeoulSoxFan

Dope
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
18,685
Lamar Jackson isn't winning in Foxboro. Houston is a mirage. Hopefully the playoff Reid shows up.

All in all, I feel pretty good at long as they finish the job the last two weeks.
 

Ralphwiggum

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
5,054
Needham, MA
BB always talks about mental toughness in being able to win road games in tough locations. I mentioned it in the Game Thread, but this team reminds me of that 2009 team, and that classic scene in the BB A Football Life where he laments not being able to get that team to play the way he wants them to. They’ve just been inconsistent on the road, not the mark of a good team.
 

koufax32

He'll cry if he wants to...
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2006
6,866
Duval
BB always talks about mental toughness in being able to win road games in tough locations. I mentioned it in the Game Thread, but this team reminds me of that 2009 team, and that classic scene in the BB A Football Life where he laments not being able to get that team to play the way he wants them to. They’ve just been inconsistent on the road, not the mark of a good team.
I’ve been worried that this is the case for awhile now. Just from observation it appears that they don’t match the intensity of their opponents. No way to quantify it but these are definitely not our 2014 or 2016 Patriots who got angrier and more focused when the adversity cranked up. Add in a bit of decline from Brady, Gronk, and Jules and I think we’re looking at the end. As I’ve said elsewhere, maybe they have one last end of “Logan” run in them. If so, it could make them go down as one of my favorites ever.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
31,089
Philly looks good tonight with Foles. If they hold on and win, Houston will be going into an absolute hornets nest next week. I feel pretty confident that Philly wins next week and the 2 seed gets back in play.

If it doesn’t, Baltimore has to beat the Chargers on the road to stay in the 6 seed. Assuming they don’t, Indy and Ten play the Giants and Redskins at home and both should win. These 2 teams play each other in Week 17 so if Pats stay at #3, there’s a pretty decent chance they get the winner of that game.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
21,518
Here
BTW, if they do end up playing in the WC game I want nothing to do with Baltimore just simply because of Lamar Jackson.
Lamar Jackson stinks, the defense carries that team and Jackson will make it maybe another year with his playing style. I’d be a million times more afraid of Flacco.
 

SeoulSoxFan

Dope
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
18,685
Rooting for the Eagles never felt so good. Very hard to imagine the Texans going to Philly and win on the road.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
Jacksonville is a complete zero on offense (even more than us right now!), so that game is probably a lost cause.

Relying on Philly (without Wentz? with nothing to play for?) now. Houston just had red zone issues and survived at the Jets... that will be the game to watch.
How do they have nothing to play for? 538 currently gives them a 37% chance of making the playoffs, which jumps to 72% if they win their last two games.

Similarly, 538 still has the Patriots favored to get a bye (56%) over Houston (41%). They rate Philly as a 66% favorite to beat Houston, with JAX having a 25% chance at the upset. Meanwhile, they give the Patriots 85% and 88% chances of winning their last two games. This works out to a 25% chance Houston wins both games and a 25% chance the Patriots don't win both games, or the 56% chance 538 got above.

Maybe they're overrating Philly, which will impact that 37%, that 72%, that 56%, that 41%, that 66% and the middle 25%, but it would have to be a pretty dramatic overrating to say Philly has nothing to play for, that Houston is some overwhelming favorite in that game, or to say the Patriots have no shot at a bye (@Old Fart Tree @j44thor )
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
16,371
Lamar Jackson stinks, the defense carries that team and Jackson will make it maybe another year with his playing style. I’d be a million times more afraid of Flacco.
Actually, people around BAL are saying that Lamar carries the defense because time of possession allows defense to be fresher and play faster.

I don’t know how sustainable LJ is but on any given series, LJ is a way better option than Flacco. Just as example, when Flacco was in BAL was the worst rushing team in the league. Now they are arguably the best.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
17,385
How do they have nothing to play for? 538 currently gives them a 37% chance of making the playoffs, which jumps to 72% if they win their last two games.
this was written before last night's game.

it's funny how Foles has all these hot streaks. one more game buddy, pay us back for SB52.
 

bsj

Renegade Crazed Genius
SoSH Member
Dec 6, 2003
17,094
Central NJ SoSH Chapter
This team reminds me of 2009 not so much in makeup but in its seeming inability to ever get the forward traction we are so accustomed to.
 

DrewDawg

Dorito Dink
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
34,138
This team reminds me of 2009 not so much in makeup but in its seeming inability to ever get the forward traction we are so accustomed to.
Yep, it's just an odd season. And despite all that crap, they're like 2 or 3 plays from 11-3.

Just weird that the team finally gets healthy, and then lays 2 eggs.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
11,916
Mansfield MA
Just weird that the team finally gets healthy, and then lays 2 eggs.
I wonder if the lack of young talent is catching up with the Pats. I checked prior to this week's games and the Patriots were dead last in number of starts by defensive players in the 2016-2018 draft classes, and Thuney is the only offensive guy from that group. T.J. Watt was the best player on the field last night on either team. Meanwhile our three second-year edge rushers played a total of 12 snaps. JC Jackson is basically the only bright spot among the young guys. Butler and Michel have been OK; Jones, Roberts, Wise, and Hollister are all trending in the wrong direction, and then there are the guys who can't get on the field, because of injury or otherwise. Who is going to be improving at this point in the season?
 

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
38,280
deep inside Guido territory
The only saving grace for this Pats team is that there really is no team in the NFL that is head and shoulders above everybody. In the AFC, Kansas City/LA Chargers/Houston all can be beaten. In the NFC the Rams/Saints have sputtered recently. It's setting up to be a postseason that is more unpredictable than it has in recent memory. Any of a group of 8-9 teams could lay a case to being in Atlanta in February.
 

genoasalami

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 4, 2006
1,720
The only saving grace for this Pats team is that there really is no team in the NFL that is head and shoulders above everybody. In the AFC, Kansas City/LA Chargers/Houston all can be beaten. In the NFC the Rams/Saints have sputtered recently. It's setting up to be a postseason that is more unpredictable than it has in recent memory. Any of a group of 8-9 teams could lay a case to being in Atlanta in February.
Good point, but do you really think the Pats are going to win 3 playoff games to go to SB? What is most depressing is that this Pats team is the healthiest they have been at this point of the season in years and they are still struggling.
 

DrewDawg

Dorito Dink
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
34,138
Good point, but do you really think the Pats are going to win 3 playoff games to go to SB? What is most depressing is that this Pats team is the healthiest they have been at this point of the season in years and they are still struggling.
I think his point is more that one of these flawed teams is gonna have to win games against good teams.

Yeah, winning 3 games will be MUCH tougher, which is why that Eagles-Texans game next weekend is huge.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
31,089
I think his point is more that one of these flawed teams is gonna have to win games against good teams.

Yeah, winning 3 games will be MUCH tougher, which is why that Eagles-Texans game next weekend is huge.
The Eagles/Texans game could literally change the landscape of the AFC playoffs. Right now, everyone in the media is basically pouring dirt on the Pats' season, which is very premature. If we get 2 seed, we're probably hosting a very beatable Texans team at home where we almost always win in the postseason. Then, the worst case scenario is a road game against the LAC/KC winner. Would anyone be surprised if the 4/5 seed upsets the AFCW division winner in the Divisional Round? I sure wouldn't.

And even if we get a bad result in Philly next week, this team is going to beat whatever 6 seed they play at home. The odds of a loss would be low. And then you'd be going to Houston, which wouldn't be easy but isn't exactly a Mile High or Miami disaster waiting to happen. In fact, Houston has been quite good to the Pats.
 

djbayko

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
8,649
Waltham, MA
The fact that this team still has a legit shot at the 2 seed is shocking. What a strange year.
 
Last edited:

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
38,280
deep inside Guido territory
Good point, but do you really think the Pats are going to win 3 playoff games to go to SB? What is most depressing is that this Pats team is the healthiest they have been at this point of the season in years and they are still struggling.
The odds are that they won't, but if they are the 3 seed they'll get someone like the Colts or the Titans at home. Then they'll have to go to Houston. As bad as they've been on the road this year, I wouldn't rule out them winning there. Then, if the Chiefs get upset the AFC title game is in Foxboro. That's not a scenario that is out of the realm of possibility.
 

moretsyndrome

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2006
451
Pawtucket
This is setting up perfectly. Screw all this negativity.

We’re going to clobber the Texans.

Titans 14 Patriots 38
Patriots 31 Texans 20
Chargers 28 Patriots 34
Patriots 34 Rams 28

TFB MVFP

Next game thread starter will be a legend.
This is so flawed. There's no way the Rams are getting to the SB;)
 

mwonow

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 4, 2005
4,920
Hate to say it, but here on BBtL, I'm getting 2015 flashbacks. Lots of talk over the last two games about how the Pats were better than they were playing, and how being on the road wouldn't matter - which was followed by a road loss in the AFCCG in Denver. Granted, that Denver D was tremendous, but this Pats O isn't as good as it was in prior years, either.

Anyway, that's why they play the games and all, so we'll see, but since that lateral, my enthusiasm has been lower than it was at any point since 2015 - and judging from the egg that just got laid at Heinz, that low feeling isn't confined to me at my keyboard.
 

genoasalami

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 4, 2006
1,720
Hate to say it, but here on BBtL, I'm getting 2015 flashbacks. Lots of talk over the last two games about how the Pats were better than they were playing, and how being on the road wouldn't matter - which was followed by a road loss in the AFCCG in Denver. Granted, that Denver D was tremendous, but this Pats O isn't as good as it was in prior years, either.

Anyway, that's why they play the games and all, so we'll see, but since that lateral, my enthusiasm has been lower than it was at any point since 2015 - and judging from the egg that just got laid at Heinz, that low feeling isn't confined to me at my keyboard.
What is odd is if you look at the roster, it is healthy, they have a nice supply of weapons, but yet they do not scare anyone. Gronk did nothing yesterday, but had a great game against Miami. I mean the pieces are there, but yet their only TD yesterday was on a brutal busted coverage by Pitt. Is it because Brady is not making the throws he used to or his decision making is not what it used to be? Or maybe they are who they are, a slightly better than average team in a league filled with similar teams who are good one week, crappy the next.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
Over in the NFC, the Panthers are not technically eliminated yet (at 6-8). If they win their 2 games (ATL & @NO) and the Vikings lose their 2 games (@ DET & CHI), then the Vikings are out at 7-8-1. At this point, they basically have a coin flip chance of making the playoffs.

That leaves competition from the NFC East runner-up (DAL currently 8-6, WAS & PHI both 7-7) and Seattle (8-6).

The Panthers would lose a 3 way tie with WAS/SEA because they lost both. They would win a 3 way tie with DAL/SEA because DAL lost both. They would win a 3 way tie with PHI/SEA because SEA would get through on conference record and then CAR beat PHI head to head.

Similarly, they would lose a head to head tie for 6th place with SEA or WAS, but win one with DAL or PHI.

So there are 5 other games that have a material impact on their chances (anything involving one of those teams above).

Meanwhile, Cam Newton is shut down for the rest of the year.

Edit: panthers lost and are eliminated.
 
Last edited:

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
Miami needs to win out and have the Patriots lose out

or

Win out (9-7) and
at least 1 TEN L (9-7) and
at least 1 IND L (9-7) and
2 PIT L (8-7-1) OR at least 1 BAL L (9-7) and
BAL over CLE (7-8-1) OR TEN over IND (9-7, but lose out to TEN).

They're looking at a 5% chance of all of that happening, but winning their 2 games gets them to 33%

Edit: Miami lost and are eliminated (right?)
 
Last edited:

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
For the Browns, a week 17 tie between the Colts & Titans leads to the following playoff scenario:

Browns win out AND
WAS over TEN AND
NYG over IND AND
LAC over BAL AND
at least 1 MIA loss

Edit: Washington lost to Tennessee eliminating Browns
 
Last edited:

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
That's all the unlikely ones. The Ravens make the playoffs if they win out and one of a hundred other things go their way. They win the division if they win out and the Steelers lose 1 game, or they win 1 and the Steelers lose both.

If the Steelers win out, then the Ravens can't win the division. At that point, to get the #6 seed (AFCW has #5)...

They can win out (10-6) and least 1 HOU W - which, I guess, would mean Houston wins the AFCS and BAL owns tiebreakers over IND/TEN but not over HOU
If HOU loses out, then it becomes a super muddled mess because, presumably, Houston would end up losing a tiebreaker for the AFCS to either IND or TEN, and then we're talking about strength of victory between BAL & HOU, which is not settled at this point. So BAL is rooting, at that point, for both IND & TEN to lose at least one game (and they play each other in week 17).

If Baltimore only wins 1 game and the Steelers win at least 1 game (and assuming the Patriots win 1 game), then to get the #6 seed at 9-7...

they need at least 1 TEN L AND
at least 1 MIA L AND
TEN over IND

OR

at least 1 TEN L AND
at least 1 MIA L AND
NYG over IND AND
a meaningful majority of other things to go right, because we're talking about Strength of Victory, and they're trailing. Somehow, if DAL beats TB, they're pretty screwed, needing 7 specific other games to go right.

If Baltimore wins 0 games, they don't make the playoffs.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
For Houston to miss the playoffs, ALL of the following things need to happen:

HOU 2 L
BAL 2 W
TEN over WAS
PIT 2 W
IND/TEN do not tie
and even then, they have something like a 60% chance of making it, relying on a whole bunch of items (again, probably SoV at that point).

Edit: Pittsburgh loss clinched playoffs for Houston
 
Last edited:

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,092
Charleston, SC
And why not, for the Patriots to miss the playoffs:

2 NE L AND (9-7)
2 MIA W AND (9-7)
  1. TEN (9-7 or 10-6) over IND (8-8 or 9-7) or
  2. IND (9-7 or 10-6) over NYG (or tie) or
  3. 1 BAL W (9-7 or 10-6) and 1 PIT W (9-6-1 or 10-5-1)
 

KiltedFool

has a terminal case of creeping sharia
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2005
2,226
We're spoiled af
Yeah, true statement, you are.

I haven't watched the Pats (or football in general) much this year, but going through the game thread and the articles written this past week, it doesn't seem like a Belichick team, based on the number of mental errors that apparently happened. Not getting into the holding penalty discussion, but the pre-snap penalties are largely mental errors, errors of focus. Yes crowd noise plays a part but they're one of the more clear cut mental errors you can point to.

And there were a bunch of them. That's not a BB hallmark, usually one mental error is enough to be metaphorically dragged out back and shot on a BB team, but there were an uncharacteristic number of them. I've always been of the mind that you can win a game against BB but generally his teams are prepared and make far fewer bonehead moves than their opponent. This verged on mass hysteria dogs and cats living together.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
17,385
I'll repost this after KC's game for the record.

1. KC 11-3 (@SEA, OAK)
2. New England 10-5 (NYJ)
3. Houston 10-5 (JAX)
4. Baltimore 9-6 (CLE)

5. LA Chargers 11-4 (@DEN)
6. Indy 9-6 (@TEN)

Tennessee 9-6 (IND)
Pittsburgh 8-6-1 (CIN)

Pittsburgh can sneak in as the 6 seed if IND/TEN tie. that is basically impossible though, so they will be relying on the Browns instead. IND/TEN is almost certainly to be flexed to primetime. that game should decide the 6 seed.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
17,385
Pittsburgh has a tie, there's no tiebreaker to be had.

Baltimore is in control of its destiny but can still lose it all next week. They are entirely out if they lose and PIT wins.
 

alydar

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 19, 2006
866
Jamaica Plain
In the south, assuming IND - TEN doesn’t tie, would come down to division record if HOU loses, in which case the winner of IND - TEN would win the division.