Complete AFC Playoff Picture

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The Dolphins loss on Thanksgiving Day to the Cowboys nearly erased their chances to make the playoffs.  Although they played well, they really didn’t play to WIN kicking four field goals in the 20-19 loss.  One has to wonder that when you are 3-7 and the only chance you have to make the playoffs is to win out, why Sparano did not go for broke trying to score more TDs instead of kicking so many field goals — but, then again, we all know how much Sparano loves FGs — a big fist pump on that.  One has to also wonder why Sparano didn’t try for a two point conversion after scoring a TD giving the Dolphins a 15-10 lead midway through the second half.  It seems fitting that the loss to his former team settling for four field goals may be the final nail in Sparano’s coaching coffin with the Dolphins.

Here are the Dolphins remaining games for this season.  I have made my predictions with losses in red.  I do believe the Dolphins will beat the Jets in the final game of Sparano’s tenure with Miami — a final jab at Rex Ryan.  And, wouldn’t it be great to keep the Jets out of the playoffs.  However, it will wind up just hurting the Dolphins’ position in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Dolphins (3-8):  Raiders, Eagles, @ Bills, @ Patriots, Jets — Final Record Overall 5-11, Division 3-3, Conference 4-8.

I thought I would take a look at the playoff picture in the AFC giving the remaining games for each team along with predictions (losses in red).  Let’s start with the current Division leaders.  The Patriots seem to be on cruise control with a relatively easy schedule for the remainder of the season — only one team has a winning record (Broncos).  The Ravens looked tough in beating the 49ers without Ray Lewis and only have one tough game left at the end of the season against the Bengals in Cincy.  The Texans are in a world of hurt after losing both their first and second QBs — the Dolphins should do the right thing and give up Sage Rosenfels.  The Texans have three tough games remaining to include the Titans in Houston at the end of the season.  And, the Raiders … well, they are the Raiders and my predictions are just a WAG.  It is interesting that a Dolphins win against the Raiders could help Tebow’s playoff chances.  Any way, I believe all these teams will wind up winning their Divisions with the Pats and Ravens getting the first round byes.

Patriots (8-3):  Colts, @ Redskins, @ Broncos, Dolphins, Bills — Final Record Overall 13-3, Division 5-1, Conference 10-2.

Ravens (8-3):  @ Browns, Colts, @ Chargers, Browns, @ Bengals — Final Record Overall 12-4, Division 5-1, Conference 9-3.

Texans (8-3):  Falcons, @ Bengals, Panthers, @ Colts, Titans — Final Record Overall 11-5, Conference 9-3.

Raiders (7-4):  @ Dolphins, @ Packers, Lions, @ Chiefs, Chargers — Final Record Overall 10-6, Conference 8-4.

The wild card spots are currently being held by the Steelers and Bengals.  It is unlikely that this will change given their remaining schedules — especially the Steelers, who will challenge the Ravens for the AFC North title hoping for a Baltimore slip.  The Bengals are playing tough on defense along with doing just enough to win on offense with rookie Andy Dalton at the helm — however, they have a tough final game of the season at home against the Ravens.  (Note: now that the Dolphins are out of the playoff hunt, I am personally cheering for Andy Dalton to guide the Bengals to the playoffs — I believed the Dolphins should have drafted Dalton instead of Mike Pouncey.)

Steelers (8-3):  Bengals, Browns, @ 49ers, Rams, @ Browns — Final Record Overall 12-4, Division 4-2, Conference 9-3.

Bengals (7-4):  @ Steelers, Texans, @ Rams, Cardinals, Ravens – Final Record Overall 11-5, Conference 8-4.

There are three teams who are currently one game out of the hunt for a wild card spot.  The Titans are the most interesting team who could actually win AFC South.  They have to win two tough road games at the Bills and at the Texans.  The Jets seem to be playing just good enough to win.  They have two tough games at the end of the season playing a neutral field game against the Giants (who will be fighting for a playoff spot of their own) and at the Dolphins (who would love nothing more than to keep the Jets from getting into the playoffs).  The Broncos are hot rallying behind Tim Tebow and a tough defense.  But, they have tough games coming up against the Bears and Patriots in Denver.  If they can beat the QB-less Bears, they could actually make the playoffs — but, I think the Bears defense will be ready for Tebow.

Titans (6-5):  @ Bills, Saints, @ Colts, Jaguars, @ Texans – Final Record Overall 8-8, Conference 6-6.

Jets (6-5):  @ Redskins, Chiefs, @ Eagles, Giants, @ Dolphins – Final Record Overall 9-7, Division 3-3, Conference 6-6.

Broncos (6-5): @ Vikings, Bears, Patriots, @ Bills, Chiefs — Final Record Overall 9-7, Conference 8-4.

Note:  I predict the Dolphins will actually have a better Division record than the Jets.

There are two teams still in the hunt for a wild card spot.  But, both the Bills and Chargers are heading in the wrong direction.  It is hard to believe that both started off strong and now look awful.  In fact, the Dolphins started out the season with a seven game losing streak.  Now, who would have thought that the Chargers could have a similar seven game losing streak — they currently have lost six games in a row.

Bills (5-6):   Titans, @ Chargers, Dolphins, Broncos, @ Patriots – Final Record Overall 6-10, Division 1-5, Conference 4-8.

Chargers (4-7):  @ Jaguars, Bills, Ravens, @Lions, @ Raiders — Final Record Overall 6-10, Conference 5-7.

 

So, there you have it.  A complete up to date look at the AFC Playoff picture on PhinPhanatic.com.

What do you think?

 

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