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AFC Playoff Preview - Week 10

I switched up the order of the APC Premature Playoff Preview: AFC Edition (patent pending) this week to account for the epic NFC West battle on Monday night. Without further ado, here are my scientific definitely-legitimate rankings for the AFC.

Just like before, I took the AFC and ranked them by their likelihood of making the playoffs based on record, remaining schedule, and overall performance. Starting at the top...

1. Tennessee Titans (9-0) (last week: 1)

After a semi-worrisome start against the NFC North-leading Bears, where the Titans' fabled run game was effectively disabled by the Bears putting 8 and 9 men in the box (a measly 20 yards on 29(!) carries), Kerry Collins actually played like an NFL quarterback, going off for 30/41, 289 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Tennessee gets a nice little break in the schedule with visits to Jacksonville and Detroit sandwiched between a home game against the Jets. In three weeks, the worst case scenario for Tennessee's record to be 11-1. Or somebody developing an anti-mutant-flesh-eating-zombie weapon.


2. New England Patriots (6-3) (last week: 5)

A solid performance against Buffalo to regain the lead in their division. While not as "impressive" as the Jets' win on Sunday, the Patriots did just enough to keep the game under control. A big part of their win was BenJarvus Green-Ellis, their shiny new featured running back. Looking for a waiver wire pickup? How about the guy with a touchdown in each game for the last four weeks? I'll be putting in a claim for him, because I am a fantasy football nerd.


Want more proof of my nerd-dom? Check out the new Call of Duty game (which is in stores now!) I'm a level-44 on the beta. Come play HC Search agaisnt me; I'll cap you so fast you'll think you was Tupperware. Bitch.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) (last week: 2)

Pittsburgh's injury situation at running back is starting to affect them. Yes, Mewelde Moore has performed admirably in the wake of the Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker injuries, but without the RB depth, Roethlisberger shoulders more of the offensive load, and his shoulder is hurting. Pittsburgh still boasts the nastiest-of-all-nasty defenses, and they're treated to home games against San Diego and Cincinnati, but they better watch their back, because the Ravens have made the division much tighter.

4. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) (last week: 3)

This whole three-running-back thing where you never know who's injured (i.e. Ray Rice) or who's healthy (i.e. Le'Ron McClain) or who's suiting up but not playing (i.e. Willis McGahee) leads me to believe that Baltimore is the new Denver when it comes to fantasy football. In short: Do not draft any of their running backs. Sure, one of them might put up good numbers, but it will never be the one you start. Even if you have three slots that you fill with all three Raven runners, their fullback will go off for 90 yards and 2 TD's. How very frustrating.


5. New York Jets (6-3) (last week: 7)

Everybody pile onto the Jets bandwagon! Wow, did you see the massive win they had last week? This team is going places! Favre is the true sports messiah! Thomas Jones is the new L.T.2! Golly gee whiz!


Have we stopped hallucinating yet? The Jets dropped 47...on St. Louis. They barely pulled out the win in week 8...against Kansas City. They have lost to the likes of Miami, New England...and Oakland. This team is a big fat phoney baloney. (Yes, I know it's spelled bologna, but I don't care). To quote the Guy Ritchie film 'Snatch':

It's Mickey Mouse, mate. Spurious. Not genuine. And it's worth (deep breath)... f--- all.

But I guess we'll find out for sure in this Thursday's matchup between the Jets and Patriots.

6. Indianapolis Colts (5-4) (last week: 8)

What did I tell you? Do not sleep on these Colts. Despite Marvin Harrison's obvious decline, this team is pulling it together and pulled out a tough win against a dominant Steelers team. They've got Houston and Cleveland in the next three weeks (sandwiched around a tough trip to San Diego), so don't be surprised if the Colts are 6-5 or 7-4 in a few weeks and making a push for the wild card.

7. San Diego Chargers (4-5) (last week: 4)

Yes, I still believe the Chargers will win the AFC West. I know their win over Kansas City was by a mere point. I know they have to play Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Atlanta in the next three weeks. I know the likelihood of them winning even 2 of these 3 games is low. I still like them better than the Broncos.

8. Denver Broncos (5-4) (last week: 10)

Were Cleveland an actual football team rather than a band of minstrels masquarading as a football team, Denver would have lost on Thursday. Alas, Jay Cutler and his "greater-than-Elway" arm managed to come back and defeat the lowly Browns, keeping them at the top spot in their division. I still say that Denver drops two more games than San Diego does.

9. Miami Dolphins (5-4) (last week: 9)

A tough win over Seattle last week. Hanging on to beat the Seahawks by two isn't good. But it's good enough to move them into third in the AFC East and keep their playoff hopes alive (if every other second place team in each AFC division falters). But if Ricky Williams' and Ronnie Brown's performances are any indication, Miami was...


10. Buffalo Bills (5-4) (last week: 6)

A tough loss to New England has put this team into an official tailspin. After starting the season 4-0, they have gone 1-4 in their last five games. Talk about crashing back to earth. Trent Edwards hasn't looked right since that concussion he got a few weeks ago, Fred Jackson is quietly stealing carries from Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch, and now they're last in the AFC East. At least they have a three-game slate of Cleveland, Kansas City, and San Francisco coming up, where they can possibly improve all the way to 8-4 and re-assert themselves as playoff contenders.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) (last week: 13)

By a thread, Jacksonville. By an ancient, rotten, frayed, burned, chewed-up-and-spit-out thread. They blew out the hapless Lions (now with Daunte Culpepper!), but seem to be suffering some sort of internal turmoil if Mike Peterson's banishment (yes, banishment) is any indication. Tennessee and Minnesota in the next two weeks will certainly test that 20th ranked run defense. If they pull off an improbable upset, their playoff chances improve from "dismal" to "pretty bad". But, hey, it's all about improvement.

Officially removed from consideration due to dangerous amounts of suck: Oakland, Kansas City, Cincinnatti, Houston, Cleveland.

If the playoffs started today, here's how they'd look. Any questions? Consult the tiebreaking procedures:

Division - Team [seed (last week) - ranking by record(last week)]

AFC East - New England Patriots [3(6) - 3(5)]

AFC West - Denver Broncos [4(4) - 6(6)]

AFC North - Pittsburgh Steelers [2(2) - 2(2)]

AFC South - Tennessee Titans [1(1) - 1(1)]

Wild Card - Baltimore Ravens [5(5) - 4(3)]

Wild Card - New York Jets [6(3) - 5(4)]