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Author Topic: 2009 Playoff picture  (Read 5002 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Dec 03, 2009 at 15:05 »

We're down to the last five weeks of the regular season, and the Steelers find themselves in a hell of a pickle.  A mediocre overall record and a poor divisional record demands a strong finish.

CBS Sportsline has the current playoff standings, and Football Outsiders has a weekly update of its calculated playoff odds. 

I'll use the actual standings, notated with Football Outsiders odds and other notes.

AFC

1  Indianapolis (y)  South 11-0-0.  Indy becomes the first team to clinch a playoff berth.  FO places their odds of being the 1 seed at 98.5%.
2  Cincinnati North 8-3-0.  An identical record to San Diego, FO sees the Chargers as the eventual 2 seed and the Bengals as the 3 seed, with a 33.0% chance, and assigns them a 97.1% chance of making the playoffs.
3  San Diego West 8-3-0. Chargers are listed as having a 34.9% chance of taking the 2 seed, and a 92.2% chance of making the playoffs.
4  New England East 7-4-0.  FO also agrees that the Patriots look ready to be the weakest division winner by record, and give them a 39.7% chance of taking the 4 seed, and a 93.5% chance of making the playoffs.
5  Denver West 7-4-0. Denver hangs on to the 5 seed at FO also, with a 29.4% chance of winning the 5, and a 73.3% chance of making the playoffs.
6  Jacksonville South 6-5-0.  Jax isn't getting the love from FO, who have them behind Baltimore and Pittsburgh at the 8 spot, with a 19.4% chance of making the playoffs.  Not dead just yet, but little wiggle room.

Still alive

7  Baltimore North 6-5-0.  FO has the 6 seed going to Baltimore, at 30.3%, and a 60.7% chance overall of making the cut.
8  Pittsburgh North 6-5-0.  On the outside looking in is Pittsburgh, the 7 team according to FO, with a 40.3% chance of making the postseason. 
9  Miami East 5-6-0. FO rank is 9, 10.4% chance of making the dance.
10  N.Y. Jets East 5-6-0.  FO rank is 11, 4.4% chance of making it.
11  Tennessee South 5-6-0.  Only 12th according to FO, the comeback kids only have a 1.4% shot.
12  Houston South 5-6-0.  The 10 team in FO's list, and a 7.0% shot.
13  Buffalo East 4-7-0.  0.4% chance of making it; not fucking likely.
14  Kansas City West 3-8-0.  0.0% chance; close to the official cut.
15  Oakland West 3-8-0 .  0.0% chance; almost out.

Eliminated

16  Cleveland North 1-10-0.  Too bad, pukes.

NFC

1  New Orleans South 11-0-0 .  FO has them at a 74.3% chance of being the 1 seed, and 100.0% chance of making the playoffs.
2  Minnesota North 10-1-0. 65.5% chance of being the 2 seed and 100.0% chance of making it.
3  Dallas East 8-3-0.  Cowboys in the playoffs?  FO agrees, 36.2% chance of being the 3 seed and 85.8% chance of making it at all.
4  Arizona West 7-4-0. FO gives the Cards a 51.8% chance of being the 4, and with their weak division a 91.8% chance of making the post.
5  Philadelphia East 7-4-0.  FO flip-flops the Philly and GB order, with Philly the 20.2% chance of making the 6 seed and a 74.1% chance of getting in.
6  Green Bay North 7-4-0.  GB has a 53.5% chance of being the 5 seed, and an 86.1% chance of getting in.

Still alive
 
7  N.Y. Giants East 6-5-0. Giants are also the 7, outside looking in, for FO, with a 16.5% chance of making the 6 seed (not far off Philly's odds), but only a 31.2% chance of making the show.  Compare to the AFC 7 seed Pitt, with a 40.3% chance of making it, and you see the NFC has fewer WC contenders with a serious shot.
8  Atlanta South 6-5-0.  Also 8 in FO, 15.3% chance of the playoffs.
9  San Francisco West 5-6-0   Also 9 in FO, and a 15.3% shot.  Note: I made SF the 9 off an identical 15.3% chance of making the post, since Atlanta also had a 15.3% chance of a wildcard spot and SF on a 4.6% chance.
10  Carolina South 4-7-0.  0.3% chance; forget it.
11  Chicago North 4-7-0.  0.1% chance; nope.
12  Seattle West 4-7-0.  0.1% chance; nada.
13  Washington East 3-8-0   0.0% -- that's not good.

Eliminated

14  Detroit North 2-9-0
15  Tampa Bay South 1-10-0
16  St. Louis West 1-10-0
Too effin bad.

So the AFC WC hunt looks like it has 4 contenders (Balty, Denver, Pitt, Jax) for 2 spots.  Miami would need a miracle.

In the NFC, it's really GB, Philly, NYG, and maybe Atlanta for the last 2 spots.

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jonzr
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 03, 2009 at 15:20 »

I could be wrong, but this AFC playoff pool seems like the weakest we've seen in a few years and the Steelers might miss it.

I still think the Steelers have a good chance to run the table.  If they do then they're in since they play Balty and it's unlikely that Jax gets 'er done.

If the scenario holds (wte of Pittsburgh) then they'll face the Chargers in the first round.  Who's been owning them lately?  You know it, the Steelers.  What's it been, 3 times in the last year?

And then the opportunity to knock Cincy out again?  Everyone knows what followed last time that happened.

Ah, but there's Oakland to consider.  Those dirty Raidahs.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 03, 2009 at 16:07 »

Totally agree, Jonzah.  I think the AFC, top to bottom, is compromised this year, and the crappy teams in the WC hunt wouldn't have scared anyone in years past.

Steelers: Oakland,  @Cleveland, Green Bay, Baltimore, @Miami.  Nothing this team does surprises me any more: beat the Vikings and Broncs, lose to KC and Chi?  Ugh.  But assuming we trend upward, a sweep is possible, with GB and Balty the two tests.  The Packers are playing well right now, but they seem like a team that we could handle if playing our best.  Balty ain't good, IMO, so when we're healthy and at home that should be a win.  Say we drop GB but handle the games we need to:  10-6.

Balty: @Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, @Pittsburgh, @Oakland.  Ravens are bad on the road this year, but really only GB and Pitt threaten.  Really need to win the rematch, but GB winning would also help.  I think they drop those two for 9-7.

Denver: @KC, @Indy, Oakland, @Phila, KC.  Denver pulled out of a nasty slump against the dying NYG.  Indy and Philly smell like losses.  The division games should be wins.  That puts them at 10-6 as well, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did drop one of the divisionals.

Jax: Houston, Miami, Indy, @NE, @Cleve.  Jax has looked awful at times, IMO.  Though they played Indy close in Indy and beat Houston in Houston, I think they lose to Indy, NE, and maybe also Houston or Miami.  I'll call 9-7 or even 8-8.

That puts us and Denver in.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 03, 2009 at 16:26 »

That Jax shedule looks promising for Pittsburgh. 

The stretch run is there for the taking.  No more return TDs allowed and no more 4th quarter defensive lapses:  It's time for December football.

 helmet

:bunkermentality:
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otismalibu
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 03, 2009 at 16:36 »

Weezie!!!!

:jeffersonmentality:

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aj_law
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 03, 2009 at 17:30 »

Don't sleep on that Browns rematch.

Rumor has it that Quinn's newest girlfriend is toughening him up.

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 04, 2009 at 07:11 »

This season makes no sense. Serioulsy. The AFC blows compared to pretty much every other year in this decade. With their heads screwed on right, the Steelers had a real opportunity here.

Denver? Kyle Orton-led Denver is a contender. That's all you need to know.

The Colts I somehow don't buy, mainly because we've all seen this before. The Colts go 9-0, 11-0, whatever, they win their weak-ass division by Thanksgiving, and then go belly up in the playoffs against Billy Volek. And talent-wise, the Colts seem a lot weaker than their '04-'06 counterparts.

So, yeah. If we get our shit together, we can run the table in the regular season, and then do some damage in the playoffs. This team has the potential to do that. Then again, if they couldn't get their shit together in KC, why do we expect them to do it now?

The winner of Minny-New Orlean in the playoffs will romp in the Super Bowl (Unless they play us - seriously. If they're playing us, it means we've gone on a run, and we can beat anybody at our best.)
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 04, 2009 at 09:10 »

Pretty much my take, too, Manimal.

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« Reply #8 on: Dec 04, 2009 at 21:28 »

If Troy and Ben get back healthy, I think we run the table.  We've won 5 in a row against tougher competition than what we have left.  We can make another one.  That gets us in and gives us a chance.

Otherwise, don't see us getting a shot.
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pensodyssey
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 16, 2009 at 19:10 »

I just don't see any reason to expect them to "trend upward", fin.  The math is there, the opportunity is there-- for all intents and purposes, and against all logic, we control our own fate-- but I wonder whether the spark is there.
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