NO, REALLY. A 13.8 pc chance, according to the good people at Football Outsiders, who would know these things. Even more amazing, the once-lowly Cleveland Browns have a 76 pc chance of making it into the NFL playoffs. As of now, they have a 7 pc chance of being the AFC's No. 3 seed, a 6 pc chance of being the AFC's No. 4 seed, a 17 pc chance of being the AFC's No. 5 seed and a 45 percent chance of being the No. 6 seed. That last position, as all Pittsburgh Steelers fans know well, does not necessarily consign one to post-season oblivion.
I have to admit that, as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I am slightly concerned about this. Not concerned much, not actively worried, but it's something that has appeared on my radar screen. I mean, my God. What if Cleveland actually managed to beat out Pittsburgh for the AFC North title?
It's not as crazy as it sounds. Over the next three games of the regular season, Pittsburgh must play Jacksonville, St. Louis, and Baltimore. Jacksonville is a strong team, and Baltimore could decide to show up and stick it to the Steelers. So it is entirely possible we could lose two of these three games (the Rams suck, so we'll count that as a likely win). Cleveland, on the other hand, plays Buffalo, Cincinnati and San Francisco. The Browns could potentially win all three of those games. While we do have the tie-breaker over Cleveland, we must win our next two games just to be safe.
This greatly concerns me, as I won't hear the end of it if lowly Cleveland goes on a tear and manages to somehow stand astride the AFC North. I mean, that would blow. The playoffs aren't going to be easy as is, and I don't want them made any harder just because Cleveland somehow sucked out a divisional title. Pittsburgh must win the AFC North -- if only because we'll probably get to play Cleveland in the post-season, and get to beat them yet again.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 13, 2007 10:15 PM | TrackBack