Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Second Half Predictions

Okay, other than that completely inexplicably bad performance against the Jets, and the total domination of the Vikings (I was expecting a much closer, hard fought game), the pats are about where I expected for the season so far.

At the beginning of the year, I predicted at best a 14-2 season, and most likely a 12-4 season; well three of those four losses are down already, so let's take a look at the rest of the season:

1. @Green Bay - Likely win
2. Chicago - Likely loss
3. Detroit - Almsot certain win
4. @Miami - Almost certain win
5. Houston - Almost certain win
6. @Jacksonville - Likely win, but a tough game
7. @Tennessee - Almost certain win

So again I stick by my likely 12-4 prediction; barring another Jets type debacle. Brady really needs to get his head back in the game, and stop making those turnovers.

Now as to the playoff picture; things are certainly intereting in the AFC, with Indy remaining undefeated going in to week 10; and a three way tie for second place between Baltimore, Denver, and San Diego (the pats are in 3rd/5th behind the tied teams).

I had predicted good things from Baltimore and Denver this year; but SD was a surprise to me.

Looking at schedules and records, It would surprise me very much if this wasn't pretty close to the playoff picture for the year; with the second wildcard slot being uncertain at this point.

Baltimore and Indy have pretty much clinched their division championship; either Denver or San Diego are mathematically certain to take the west division leaving the other to fight for wildcard; with the Patriots are likely to take the east. It 's possible the Jets could make a comeback, with the easiest second half schedule in football; but it's unlikely they are going to win all seven of their remaining games (especially against chicago this week); which is likely what they'd have to do to beat New England.

The Denver/San Diego games this week and on the tenth are likely to decide that division title; with the losers fighting for the first wildcard; because it's entirely possible both teams will win all their other games for the year. It could even end up in a tie, in which case Denver would win the tiebreaker.

The second wildcard picture is wide open; or even both slots, if SD loses both it's games to the Broncs (which I dont think is likely). The Jets, the Chiefs, and Jacksonville all seem like reasonable prospects; with the playoff cutoff for this year likely to be 10-6 or 11-5. My money is on San Diego and the Jets being the wildcards, but a lot could happen in the next seven weeks.

As to the eventual results of the playoffs; god only knows. If the playoff picture looks like New England, Indy, Baltimore, and Denver, with San Diego and New York in the wildcards, as seems entirely likely; the AFC championship race is wide open. Of course Indy is heavily favored to be in that game, but between the rest I dont think there are any clear competitive advantages or disadvantages; and it really comes down to any given Sunday, with maybe a slight edge to New England, and Denver.

All in all, a pretty exciting year for the AFC.

The NFC is a complete mess; as it has been since the downfall of the Cowboys in the late 90s.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that the Giants, Bears, Saints, and Seahawks would all be leading their divisions?

Ok, I predicted a good performance this year from Chicago and Seattle, and I thought the Giants could be strong contenders if they got their act together, but the current parity (excepting CHicago), is pretty interesting.

Even more interesting, is the Saints. They are historically the worst team in the NFL; but this year they are just on fire.

It seems likely that the division leaders right now, will finish that way; with Atlanta, Carolina, Philly, and Dallas duking it out for wildcard slots. I was hoping for more from Philly and Dallas this season, but I don't think they're going to hang together for the rest of the season, and I'm guessing we're going to see Atlanta and Carolina in the hotseats.

As to the championship game? Well I'd love to see Saints Bears; but I jsut don't think the Saints will sustain this momentum through the playoffs. The bears on the other hand I'm almsot certain will. Really though, I can't predict their opponent at all.

Now, who wouldn't love to see a Patriots Bears superbowl again? Though I think the result may be a bt different this time. I wouldn't say it would definitely be a patriots win, though I honestly think the Pats are the better team (they've just got tougher competition so the record isn't as good); but I can damn sure guarantee it wouldn't be a 46-10 blowout.