Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bengals Closing In

7:01 p.m. It's not over until the coach gets drenched. Bengals are AFC North champs.

5:55 p.m. 31-7 Bengals. Let's make some predictions for the final standings.

1. Indy. 14-2. They'll lose to Seattle, but win the last one. But they can't be moved, so it doesn't matter.
2. Cincinnati. 13-3. Win out. Sure would be nice to have that Indy game back, wouldn't it?
3. Denver. 12-4. They beat Oakland, but then they lose to SD.
4. New England. 11-5. Beat Miami and NYJ.
5. Jacksonville. 12-4. They have a weak remaining schedule.
6. Pittsburgh. 11-5. They have an even weaker remaining schedule.

Outside:
San Diego. 11-5. They win out, but they lose the tiebreaker to Pittsburgh.
KC. 8-8. Looked bad the other day and will lose out to more highly motivated teams.
Miami. 8-8. They won't beat New England.

The problem with our predictions? It depends upon San Diego beating Denver after being eliminated with Pittsburgh winning earlier in the day on the last day of the season. However, the Chargers look so good, and it's at home, and besides, the Bengals need a bye, so this is how we get to one. So there.

5: 35 p.m. Half-time, Bengals 24-7. Most of the games are already over, so we can update the standings.
Division Leaders

1. Indianapolis. 13-1. Conf. 11-1. Lost to SD, but they're the #1 seed.
2. Denver. 11-3. Div: 3-1. Conf: 8-2. After beating Buffalo, Denver still beats the Bengals on tie-breakers and control their own destiny for the #2 seed and that first round bye.
3. Cincinnati. 10-3, Div: 5-1, Conf: 6-3. Up on Detroit right now and will thereby maintain position.
4. New England. 9-5. Div: 4-0. Conf: 7-4. They looked fantastic against Tampa and clinch their division based on division record.
Wildcards
5. Jacksonville. 10-4, Conf: 7-3. Weak win, but it still counts for maintaining their position.
6. Pittsburgh. 9-5. Conf: 6-5. They now control their own destiny, as they can clinch a wildcard by winning out.
Outside Looking In
7. San Diego. 9-5. Div 3-1. Conf: 7-3. The win against Indy helps them a lot, but they still need to win out plus some help, with either Pittsburgh losing once or Denver losing twice or Jacksonville losing one or more games (SD would win the tiebreaker based on Conference record against Jax in that case).
8. KC. 8-6. Div 3-2. Conf: 7-3. Things look bleak. They can't win the division. They lose the tiebreaker with SD on common opponents, should KC win out and SD beats Denver. So, they need to win out, for Pittsburgh to lose at least once, and for SD to lose all remaining games, or to win out, Jacksonville to lose out and some other help.
Way Outside Chance
9. Miami. 7-7. Div: 2-3. Conf: 5-5. Can't win division, but they can get in with a lot of help. Pittsburg and SD have to lose their remaining games, and they need KC to lose at least once (so win vs. SD but lose to Cincinnati). Miami would then be 7-5 in the conference, KC would be eliminated by losing the tiebreaker with SD (because Division ties are broken first), Pittsburgh would be 6-6 in the conference, SD would be 7-5 in the conference. So, then Pittsburgh would be eliminated. Miami then wins the tiebreaker against SD since they beat them head-to-head. Got it?

5:00 p.m. Bengals up 24-7 with 9:20 remaining in the first half. This is about what we expected. However, the rest of the games are bizarre. While we watch this game, we'll take a look at the other results from the day and see what's going on.

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