Posted Tue Dec 15th by Monty
It’s that time of year again, folks: time to take our weekly look at how the AFC and Denver Broncos playoff picture is shaping up. Here are how the teams rank if the season ended today, with notes on what’s to come.
(Seed, team, record, AFC record)
First Round Bye
1. Indianapolis Colts (13-0, 9-0)
2. San Diego Chargers (10-3, 7-3)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4, 6-3)
4. New England Patriots (8-5, 6-4)
5. Denver Broncos (8-5, 6-4)
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6, 6-3)
On the cusp
Baltimore Ravens (7-6, 6-4)
Miami Dolphins (7-6, 5-4)
New York Jets (7-6, 5-5)
If the season ended today…
Same as last week, although the race tightened quite a bit. The Broncos would travel to New England to face the Patriots. The Broncos defeated the Patriots at home in Week 5, 20-17 in overtime.
No margin for error
The Broncos used up their margin for error against Indianapolis. The Ravens are one loss behind Denver but hold the tiebreaker after smashing the Broncos 30-7 in Week 8. Then again, if the Broncos lose and Jacksonville, Baltimore, Miami, and New York all win (hey, it nearly happened last week), the AFC’s two wild card spots would go into five-team-tiebreaker mode. In other words, conference record. After that it goes to common games (minimum of four), then strength of victory, then strength of schedule. Who else is happy we put a whooping on the Chiefs?
Chargers can clinch third straight AFC West title
In a way, the Chargers do not control their own destiny this week. They can clinch the AFC West if, and only if, the Broncos lose to the Raiders, regardless if they win or lose against Cincinnati. And believe it or not, the AFC West is still winnable, especially if the Bengals can pull the upset. The Broncos have to win out, though (see that note about “margin for error” above).
According to AccuScore.com, the Broncos have a 76.3% chance of making the playoffs in 2009, a whopping 0.3% increase from last week.
Again, if they win out, they’re in. They face Oakland at home this week, then at Philadelphia, then home against the Chiefs.