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NFL Week 10 - Let's Look At The AFC
by Michele Christopher
It’s Week 10. Let’s take a spin around the league and see where everybody stands, starting with probably the most competitive division in the NFL, the AFC West.
This division has two teams currently sitting at 6-2, Denver and San Diego and a third team, The Kansas City Chiefs, just behind them at 5-3. All three of these teams are going to be battling each other in a dogfight for the Division title over the course of the next few weeks. Any of these teams could potentially take the title, but Denver looks to be the best team of the three at the moment, and the standings reflect that. But, all it will take is a slip here or there by The Broncos and they’ll suddenly find themselves looking up in the standings at a new Division leader.
Sticking with the AFC, in the AFC North, you’ve got The Baltimore Ravens sitting at the top of the division with a 6-2 record as well. The Cincinnati Bengals, at 4-4, are clawing to keep pace with Baltimore but with the way The Ravens have played this year, it will be difficult for the struggling Bengals to overtake them in the Division standings.
In the AFC South, Indianapolis is undefeated at 8-0, sitting on top of the Division as well as the AFC Conference, thanks to their wins over New England and Denver. I think it is safe to say that at 5-3, The Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to catch Indy. Jacksonville will be one of the several teams, along with Kansas City, Cincy and the NY Jets, that are going to be locked in a battle to grab one of the two AFC Wildcard spots over the next few weeks.
In the AFC East, The New England Patriots are yet another team that is leading their Division with a 6-2 record. The Jets are 4-4 and are in the fight to stay alive for a Wildcard spot in the playoffs. A win this weekend for The Pats would pretty much assure them of winning the AFC East and would do some major damage to The Jets playoff hopes.
The AFC Playoff picture as it stands right now has Indy leading the playoff race at 8-0. It is generally assumed that Indy will get the top AFC playoff seed at this point, having defeated both Denver and New England.
Behind Indy are Division leaders Denver, Baltimore and New England, respectively, all with 6-2 records. These three teams will be vying for the second seed in the AFC and the bye week that comes with it during the playoffs.
The race for the two Wildcard spots has San Diego, Jacksonville and Kansas City all looking to grab one of those two spots. Cincy and The NY Jets both are still in the hunt, but with both teams at 4-4, it won’t take much to knock those teams out of the playoff race.
One of the catch phrases that the national pundits like to use is, ‘If the Playoffs started today…’ Well, thankfully we don’t have to worry about that. We’ve still got a long way to go before the playoffs, and anything can happen.
Next week we’ll take a spin around the NFC. Right now, let’s do some picks for this week's games.
One of the great things about the NFL (or one of the more annoying, depending on your, ahem, ‘habits’) is that you can never really predict what’s going to happen from week to week.
Last week, all of my game picks were the opposite of what my brain was telling me should be the winner and frankly, I was shocked at how many of my opposite picks turned out to be right. I mean, Miami beating Chicago? Who picked that to happen?? Nobody, that’s who. Detroit beating Atlanta? Nobody picked that one, except maybe a few crazy Lions fans. It just goes to show you that the old cliché is right. On any given Sunday, any team can win.
Ok. This week I’m going back to the old fashioned way of picking games. I don’t know about you, but I am always interested to see how close I actually wind up with these. Feel free to tell me what you think is going to happen today in the comments.
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans – I’m going with Baltimore. Their defense is just too good for The Titans. It will be interesting to see Steve McNair back playing against his former team.
Buffalo at Indianapolis – Buffalo – Yeah, yeah, yeah. Feel free to let me have it about last week’s Colts / Pats game. I’m still picking against Indy every week. I don’t care.
Cleveland at Atlanta – Cleveland – I don’t think that Atlanta is all that, especially after losing to Detroit. It seems like all the upper level NFC teams are losing games to low to mid level AFC teams. I think Cleveland gets the upset.
Green Bay at Minnesota – Minny – Minnesota is reeling a little bit with two straight losses. I think they get back on track at home against a big division rival.
Houston at Jacksonville – Jax – Jacksonville is the better team and they are playing at home. They are in a fight for a playoff spot and can’t afford to lose a game to a team like Houston.
Kansas City at Miami - K.C. – Damon (Chandler Bing) Huard is coming back to Miami, where he was once a moderately successful starter before losing the job to Jay Fiedler and going to New England to hold Tom Brady’s clip-board and run the scout team. I always thought he should have been the starter in Miami. See, and look what happened. I was right.
N.Y. Jets at New England - N.E. – New England is coming off of a killer loss to The Colts last week. They will be looking to bounce back and move one step closer to locking down the AFC East with a win over The Jets. Word out of NY is that Jets running back Curtis Martin may be done playing football due to his knee injury. I’ll tip my hat to him. If it really is over, Martin had a great career. I still have a #28 Curtis Martin Patriots jersey in my closet that I never wear, since he plays for The Enemy these days, but the respect is still there.
San Diego at Cincinnati - San Diego – San Diego is in the hunt for the AFC West and needs to keep pace with the rest of the powerhouse teams in that division if they want to have a shot at it. Cincy needs to win just to stay alive for a possible Wildcard spot. I think The Chargers will be too much for Cincy.
San Francisco at Detroit – Detroit – I don’t know. They beat Atlanta last weekend. Could go either way, but it’s at home, so I’ll take The Lions.
Washington at Philadelphia – Philly – Another divisional game in the rough and tumble NFC East. Philly needs to win if they want to keep the pace with The NY Giants and have any chance at getting back to the top of the division.
Denver at Oakland – Denver – I’m actually rooting for Oakland to win, but I don’t see how they do. Denver is one of the best teams in the NFL. Oakland is one of the worst.
Dallas at Arizona – Arizona – I think Arizona steals one from Dallas and sends them further on their way on a downward spiral. With the exception of Drew Bledsoe, who is a decent guy, the entire Dallas roster is made up of a bunch of jackasses, from the head coach, right down to the place-kicker. It’s like the Cowboys went out of their way to build the most dysfunctional team possible this year, and they succeeded.. Don’t be surprised if Parcells calls it quits, again, at the end of this season and leaves yet another team in a state of disaster.
New Orleans at Pittsburgh - N.O. – Can you say Superbowl hangover? Big time. The Steelers are at the bottom of their Division at 2-6. I know I say this a lot, but that’s the NFL. You can go from Champion to one of the worst teams in the league, and vice versa over the course of one season.
St. Louis at Seattle - St. Louis – St Louis is going to try and catch up with Seattle at the top of the NFC West. Seattle is going to try and get some breathing room and put some distance between them and St. Louis. This should be a good battle between these two division rivals.
Chicago at N.Y. Giants - NY Giants – Wow. I still can’t believe Chicago lost that game to Miami last week, but really Chicago had gotten lucky in several of their games, The Arizona game immediately comes to mind. The Giants are a solid team. I think they can handle Chicago at home.
Tampa Bay at Carolina – Carolina – The Panthers are trying to get above .500 and keep their playoff hopes alive. They’ll need to beat a weaker division rival to do it.
Have a great day watching the games everybody!
Ernie does his armchair quarterbacking from somewhere in Patriot Country