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macro
12-19-2006, 12:06 AM
The Bengals will play their last game of the season at home against Pittsburgh for the second year in a row. It's entirely possible that both teams will enter that game at 8-7, so with a win, the Steelers can secure a winning season and finish in second place in the division, while denying the Bengals the same.

I accepted several weeks ago that this Bengals season wasn't going to turn out as I had hoped it would. But the one thing that I did take comfort in was that the dreaded Steelers were having an awful season for the ages. They started 2-6, and it seemed that a losing season was likely. Now, when the curtain falls on the 2006 season on New Year's Eve at PBS, the Bengals may once again find themselves looking up at Pittsburgh, and once again it will happen at PBS. Sound familiar?

I have a friend who is a Pittsburgh fan, and after the 2-6 start, I told him that while I was tempted to gloat, that I had learned my lesson last year, so I wouldn't say a word. It's a good thing I didn't.

RedFanAlways1966
12-19-2006, 07:45 AM
If it does happen (bright side)... the Bengals should have an easier schedule next year! :D

If the Bengals lose at home to the Steelers (and end up losing their last 3 games and blowing a chance at making the playoffs), then they deserve to finish behind them IMO. And unfortunately we will hear over-and-over-and-over how the 8 arrests were the reason they didn't make the playoffs this year... ugh!

Dom Heffner
12-19-2006, 09:51 AM
If it does happen (bright side)... the Bengals should have an easier schedule next year!

The ease or difficulty of the schedule isn't really all that related to a team's performance the prior year. If you think about it, you play 16 games:

6 against your own division
8 against two other other divisions.

That leaves two for the schedule makers to dog you. Granted, I'd rather have two easier games, which would have helped the Benglas this year, but the divisions they had to play were made up the lousy schedule.

The Bengals got a bad deal this year because they had to play a pretty tough AFC West.

Johnny Footstool
12-19-2006, 10:16 AM
The Bengals got a bad deal this year because they had to play a pretty tough AFC West.

The West hasn't been that tough on them.

KC Chiefs - Bengals dominated.
Oakland Raiders - Bengals dominated.
San Diego Chargers - Bengals dominated for a half, then disintegrated on defense and threw away a win.
Denver Broncos - remains to be seen.

Roy Tucker
12-19-2006, 10:33 AM
The problem with those 2 extra games is that you play is one team each from the two divisions in your conference that are out of your conference rotation. And the teams played are determined by the order of finish the previous season. So, first place teams play first place teams, second place teams play second place teams, etc etc.

So the Bengals get the AFC West and NFC South as their rotation games and got the Colts and the Patriots as their extra games.

guttle11
12-19-2006, 10:33 AM
The Tampa Bay game is a giant wart on the season. That loss is infinitely worse than any other this year, including San Diego. It's inexcusible to lose to a 3 win team. Playoff teams don't do that.

I wouldn't worry about the Steelers. Lose this week and the season's a disappointment whether you finish second or third.

And if the Bengals do happen lose this week, who cares if the Steelers pass them. Missing the playoffs is missing the playoffs. They'll get an easier schedule next year. Not saying I hope they tank, but in the end, it's not a big deal to have someone pass you for second place if both of you still go home.

Cyclone792
12-19-2006, 12:23 PM
Next season's schedule should be mostly known by now ...

2 vs. Baltimore
2 vs. Pittsburgh
2 vs. Cleveland
1 vs. New England
1 vs. New York Jets
1 vs. Buffalo
1 vs. Miami
1 vs. Seattle
1 vs. San Francisco
1 vs. St. Louis
1 vs. Arizona
1 vs. Jacksonville OR Tennessee
1 vs. Denver OR Kansas City

The AFC rotation was AFC South in 2005 and AFC West in 2006 ... so it should be the AFC East next season in 2007. The NFC rotation was NFC East in 2004, NFC North in 2005, and NFC South in 2006 ... so it should be the NFC West next season in 2007. Finally, the last two games will be one of the second or third place finishers in the AFC South and AFC West, which will be one of Jacksonville/Tennesee and one of Denver/Kansas City.

I'm not sure on home/road games, and obviously some NFL teams can improve and decline quite a bit from one season to another. But based off this season and recent history for those teams listed above combined, next season's schedule doesn't appear to be that bad.

Reds Fanatic
12-19-2006, 12:33 PM
Next season's schedule should be mostly known by now ...

2 vs. Baltimore
2 vs. Pittsburgh
2 vs. Cleveland
1 vs. New England
1 vs. New York Jets
1 vs. Buffalo
1 vs. Miami
1 vs. Seattle
1 vs. San Francisco
1 vs. St. Louis
1 vs. Arizona
1 vs. Jacksonville OR Tennessee
1 vs. Denver OR Kansas City

The AFC rotation was AFC South in 2005 and AFC West in 2006 ... so it should be the AFC East next season in 2007. The NFC rotation was NFC East in 2004, NFC North in 2005, and NFC South in 2006 ... so it should be the NFC West next season in 2007. Finally, the last two games will be one of the second or third place finishers in the AFC South and AFC West, which will be one of Jacksonville/Tennesee and one of Denver/Kansas City.

I'm not sure on home/road games, and obviously some NFL teams can improve and decline quite a bit from one season to another. But based off this season and recent history for those teams listed above combined, next season's schedule doesn't appear to be that bad.

The home games for next year are: PIT, CLE, BAL, NE, NYJ, ARI, STL and one to be determined
The road games for next year are: PIT, CLE, BAL, BUF, MIA, SF, SEA and one to be determined.

macro
12-19-2006, 01:56 PM
Finally, the last two games will be one of the second or third place finishers in the AFC South and AFC West, which will be one of Jacksonville/Tennesee and one of Denver/Kansas City.

All four of those places are tough road games, so I'm not sure it makes much difference where they go. At this point, I would guess that they'd be favored against any of those four at home and underdogs against any of those four on the road. Things do change from year to year, though.


But based off this season and recent history for those teams listed above combined, next season's schedule doesn't appear to be that bad.

The home schedule doesn't look so brutal, and they'll hopefully be favored in each one of them, but it's not impossible that they could be underdogs in every single road game (PIT, CLE, BAL, BUF, MIA, SF, SEA and one to be determined). I'm probably putting too much stock in home and road, though. They've played about as well on the road this year as at home.


And if the Bengals do happen lose this week, who cares if the Steelers pass them.

I do! :D My consolation prize for the Bengals not making the playoffs was going to be a dismal season for the Steelers! :devil:

Redsfaithful
12-20-2006, 01:56 PM
Pittsburgh has a pretty tough game this weekend. They need to get to 8 wins before they can get to 9.

SunDeck
12-20-2006, 04:33 PM
No team that wins less than ten games should be allowed in the post season.
Just sayin'.

KoryMac5
12-20-2006, 04:38 PM
I really see the Bengals winning the next two. I can't see Cutler picking the secondary apart like Manning did. He's a young QB who will get impatient and make a mistake. I just hope Levi and Big Willie are set to go for Pittsburgh.

macro
12-21-2006, 11:21 AM
Here are the remaining games for the eight teams in contention for the final two AFC Wildcard spots (home games in all caps):



CIN (8-6): @Den PIT
JAX (8-6): NE @KC
NYJ (8-6): @Mia OAK
DEN (8-6): CIN SF
PIT (7-7): BAL @Cin
KC (7-7): @Oak JAX
BUF (7-7): TEN @Bal
TEN (7-7): @Buf NE

Check out this scenario:


Cincinnati beats Denver and loses to Pittsburgh to go 9-7.
Jacksonville beats New England and loses to Kansas City to go 9-7.
New York Jets split with Miami and Oakland to go 9-7.
Denver loses to Cincinnati and beats San Francisco to go 9-7.
Pittsburgh beats Baltimore and Cincinnati to go 9-7.
Kansas City beats Oakland and Jacksonville to go 9-7.
Buffalo or Tennessee wins its last two games to go 9-7. (They can't both go 9-7 because they play one another this weekend.)


Of course the odds of all this happening are slim, but some of it will. The possibility of a mess of a tie-breaker exists.

Based on the remaining schedule, who do you see taking the two spots?

For what it's worth, here are the tiebreaking procedures from NFL.com:


TO BREAK A TIE WITHIN A DIVISION
If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.

Two Clubs
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.

Three or More Clubs
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated during any step, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format).
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.

TO BREAK A TIE FOR THE WILD-CARD TEAM
If it is necessary to break ties to determine the two Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.
1. If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tie breaker.
2. If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.

Two Clubs
1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
4. Strength of victory.
5. Strength of schedule.
6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best net points in conference games.
9. Best net points in all games.
10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
11. Coin toss.

Three or More Clubs
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)
1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in conference games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss

When the first Wild-Card team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second Wild-Card, i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. In situations where three or more teams from the same division are involved in the procedure, the original seeding of the teams remains the same for subsequent applications of the tie breaker if the top-ranked team in that division qualifies for a Wild-Card berth.

OTHER TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES
1. Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tie-breaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the applicable division or Wild-Card tie breakers. As an example, if two clubs remain tied in any tie-breaker step after all other clubs have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to step one of the two-club format to determine the winner. When one club wins the tie breaker, all other clubs revert to step 1 of the applicable two-club or three-club format.
2. In comparing division and conference records or records against common opponents among tied teams, the best won-lost-tied percentage is the deciding factor since teams may have played an unequal number of games.
3. To determine home-field priority among division titlists, apply Wild-Card tie breakers.
4. To determine home-field priority for Wild-Card qualifiers, apply division tie breakers (if teams are from the same division) or Wild-Card tie breakers (if teams are from different divisions).

Reds Fanatic
12-21-2006, 11:48 AM
Because of those tiebreakers the Bengals have a chance to clinch this weekend before they even play Pittsburgh.

If the Bengals win, Buffalo loses and either the Jaguars or Jets lose the Bengals would clinch a playoff sport this weekend.

If the Bengals can win in Denver there is a pretty good chance this may happen. Buffalo plays Tennessee this weekend and Jacksonville plays the Patriots.