Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 10 of the NFL season.
Each week I break down the schedule in grammatically incorrect fashion. That is, of course, unless you consider avoiding awkward constructions to be the heart of proper grammar in which case this column will be near and dear to your heart. Though it likely means you aren't a big football fan, in which case this will be irrelevant to your life.
EASY CALLS (Home team in Bold)
Bears over the Ravens
Let's get Baltimore out of the playoff chase. They annoy.
Browns over the Bengals
This would help Indy secure the three seed.
Broncos over the Chiefs
No one wants to see Denver in round one.
Panthers over the Patriots
That two seed is still a reality.
49ers over Saints
Seahawks over Vikings
These are simple strength of victory games.
Jets over the Bills
Here's the logic. The Jets suck. I'd love to see Indy play the Jets in the first round of the playoffs. A Jets win is a step toward that happening.
Jaguars over the Cardinals
Texans over the Raiders
Indy plays Jacksonville twice and Houston twice, so this is a double dose of strength of victory. Also, the worse the draft pick the Jags and Texans get, the better.
No matter what happens tomorrow in New England, the Colts will still be in first place in the AFC South. The only question is if they’ll be alone. Here’s who to root for this week.
Browns at Jaguars
Ravens at Panthers
Redskins at Titans
Raiders at Steelers
Broncos at Chargers
Obviously, we are rooting against the AFC South and against the AFC in general in cross conference matchups.
Also, I think we all expect the Chargers to be a playoff team, or at least close, so let’s pull against them. That also means rooting for Oakland for three reasons:
1. Oakland wins hurt the Patriots’ 2011 draft. If Oakland wins that division, the Seymour trade can be worth no higher than the 20th pick. The Pats screwed that deal up as it hurt them last season and now, and won’t pay out with the high pick they had hoped.
2. Oakland wins hurt the Chargers
3. Losses by the Steelers help the Colts.
Texans at Jets
Are you more worried about the South or the #1 seed? A Jets loss and a Colts win, and Indy has the top spot in the conference. A loss to the Jets, however, would all but eliminate the flagging Texans. However, if the Colts lose to the Patriots, a Jets win keeps them in control of the AFC East, and could STILL end up sending New England to Indianapolis regardless of the outcome of the game Sunday. The only bad combination is a Texans win and a Colts loss.
Cardinals at Chiefs
Who would you rather play in the playoffs: San Diego or Kansas City? Yeah, me too. Time to start pulling for KC.
The Colts face another tough test in Baltimore this week. They are closing in on locking up a bye. The other AFC powers can’t afford to slip up. Let’s take a look at the important games of week eleven in the NFL.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City: Call me crazy, but this game could be closer than you think. The Steelers haven’t played well without Troy Polamalu, who will be out.
Cincinnati at Oakland: Another 7-2 team heading out west to face a struggling 2-7 team. Chances are either the Bengals or Steelers will lose. That’s just life in the NFL. The Bengals have an easy stretch of @Oak, CLE, DET. It would be nice if the Raiders came alive and pulled off the upset.
San Diego at Denver: I want the Broncos to win because I think they are the worse team. It is as simple as that. I’ve never been in the camp that says the Chargers are Indy’s kryptonite. I look at it the same way I viewed the Patriots, who knocked the Colts out in consecutive years. When the Colts are the better team they will beat San Diego. That said, I always root against Norv and Rivers. They’re just annoying.
New York (A) at New England: The ultimate easy call.
Tennessee at Houston: Hard to root for either team here. I’m open to arguments either way. The Titans are hot. I wouldn’t mind seeing them get blown off the field. It would be hard to root for Houston, though. At least we get the Texans on a short week.
AFC Playoff Standings
1.) Indianapolis (9-0)
2.) Cincinnati (7-2)
3.) Denver (6-3)
4.) New England (6-3)
5.) Pittsburgh (6-3)
6.) San Diego (6-3)
7.) Jacksonville (5-4)
8.) Baltimore (5-4)
9.) Houston (5-4)