AFC Playoff Picture

The AFC playoff picture is partially painted through week 16 but there are still some spots up for grabs under various scenarios.

Already solidified are the AFC East and a 1st round bye with the Patriots.  The AFC South spot is also sorted out with the Houston Texans.  The two wildcard teams right now are the Steelers and Ravens but that could change depending on what happens this weekend.

The Ravens clinch the AFC North division and a first-round bye with a Ravens win OR a Ravens tie and a Steelers loss or tie OR a Steelers loss.  The Ravens clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a Ravens win and a Patriots loss at the Bills.

Controlling Fate

Several teams in the NFL control their own fate coming down to the last 2 games of the regular season.  Their goal now is just to win the last 2 games and then let the post season chips fall where they may.

The Falcons, Lions, Broncos, Raiders, Giants and Cowboys are all in control of their own fates.  Some of these teams have an easier road than others, but all have only one place they need to go, the win column.

Carson Palmer To The Raiders

The Raiders are having a surprising season so far and one also filled with loss.  They lost their long time owner Al Davis and then they lost their starting QB in Jason Campbell to a broken collar bone.  But things aren’t all bleak for the Raiders.

Raiders Owner Al Davis Dead At 82

The owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, has died at the age of 82 and football has lost one of its most colorful figures.

Over the last few years, most of the conversation about Al Davis has centered on the questionable decisions he made and the direction in which he took the team.  Many people blamed the Raiders fall from football prominence directly on Davis.  A lot of this may be true, but Al Davis was also something else.  He changed football in many ways and he did things that no one else had ever done.  Football will miss Al Davis.

Bad Bets

Nobody likes losing money or picking the wrong team and NFL football fans especially.  This season there are a few teams that should be avoided at all costs and this is my list of which teams are bad bets for the 2011 season.

Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks haven’t done that well for the past few years and they had a serviceable quarterback in Hasselbeck.  Now they don’t have that QB and are working with Tavaris Jackson (we assume, though it might be Whitehurst at some point) and that’s just not the same thing.  They haven’t looked good in the preseason and it is definitely what I would call a “restart” season.  Lots of people having to learn lots of things and that never translates well on the field against teams that already know everything they need to know.

Pryor Gets His Chance

Terrelle Pryor was signed by the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night and the Raiders intend to start him off as a QB.  According to NFL Network analyst Jason La Canfora, Pryor will likely receive about $500,000 guaranteed as part of his contract.

Pryor will be able to practice with the Raiders for the first time today.  He will most likely not play in the Raiders third pre-season game on Sunday.  The Raiders will then have 3 more practices before their Sept. 2 preseason game against the Seahawks.  Pryor may not be ready to play in that game either.  But I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go out there at least for a couple of snaps.

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Several NFL teams should have won, would have won, or could have won yesterday that didn’t.  It was a day for looking like you had the game in the bag only to find the bag had a hole in it.  Some big comeback efforts and some heartbreaking endings for several teams that shoulda, woulda, coulda been different.

The Buffalo Bills had the Chicago Bears down for most of the game.  The Bills played much better than the Bears did, but they let the Bears come back.  At the end of the game it was Bears 22 Bills 19.   The Bills have played well all season only to come up short in just about every game.  It’s got to be heartbreaking to almost win just about every game you play.

NFL Games To Watch – Week 9

Two matchups this weekend that are going to be excellent – or at least they look like they will on paper.  One is for dominance of both the NFC South and possibly the entire NFC and the other is a smash mouth fight for the AFC West.

Will the Empire Strike Back?

I’ve always thought there was an uncanny resemblance between Raiders owner Al Davis and the evil Emperor from the hit Star Wars trilogy (yes it is still just a trilogy).  And the two powerful characters have more in common than just strikingly good looks.  

Both men are the figure head of an often perceived dark organization and both men are often seen as too power hungry in their own leadership role.  Both also have to deal with a hot headed, abusive troop leader and this doesn’t make any powerful leader’s job any easier.