Here we are in the month of December, and all is well in Big Cat Country! Instead of dreaming of sugarplums, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a Victory Hammer in my driveway...Sorry! That's my dream...we the fans of our beloved Jaguars are dreaming of a #5 or #6 seed in the 2009 NFL playoffs! What a dream it is!
I for one didn't expect much of this season. I and many of you only expected our team to be competetive, and show some improvement over last year. In 08 we were out of it early. In 09 we are in the hunt for a playoff berth, and looking to prove that we are worthy of discussion not only nationally, but locally as well.
JDR has shown that he is moving the team in the right direction, and is looking like he will be kept on in the future. Love it or Hate it. That's the facts. This is a young team, and making the playoffs with such a high turnover in our roster from last year would put JDR in the discussion for Coach of the Year. I'm not saying that he's a "Great" coach, but it is worth noting. The "GREAT" will come with consistently winning. Now on to the predicitons.
As of right now, If the season were to end, we would be the #6 seed. I know you've all seen this before, so please bear with me.
Current Division leaders:
AFC North: Cinncinatti Bengals (9-3)
AFC East: New England Patriots (7-5)
AFC West: San Diego Chargers(9-3)
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts (12-0)
Current Wild Card leaders:
Denver Broncos (8-4)
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5)
In the hunt:
Balitmore Ravens (6-6)
Miami Dolphins (6-6)
New York Jets (6-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7)
With 4 weeks left in the season, there is still alot of football to be played. There are still 2 divisions that are up in the air, and atleast 5 teams alive for the final Wild Card spot. Here are my predictions for the Divisional Champions.
AFC North: Cinncinatti Bengals
Remaining schedule: at Minnesota (L), at San Diego (L), K.C. (W), at Jets (w)
Final Record: 11-5 Seeding: #3
AFC East: Miami Dolphins
Remaining schedule: at Jacksonville (L), at Tennessee (W), Houston (W), Pittsburgh (W)
Final Record: 9-7 Seeding #4
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Remaining schedule: at Dallas (W), Cinncinatti (W), at Tennessee (W), Washington (L)
Final Record: 12-4 Seeding #2
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
Remaining Schedule: Denver (W), at Jacksonville (L), Jets (W), at Buffalo (W)
Final Record: 15-1 Seeding #1
Now, some of you are looking at the AFC East prediction, and are scratching your heads. The reason I have Miami winning the division is for a number of reasons. 1. With Chad Henne at the helm as a full time starter, the Dolphins are learning to win without Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat. 2. The Patriots look old, and their Defense looks lost. 3. The idea that "Bill is God, and we do what he says with no questions asked" has been lost on the new personel that the Pats have brought in. With the loss of Vrabel, Bruschi, and Seymour comes a loss in team leadership, and the idea that the players police themselves. With Adalius Thomas questioning the coach, and others texting Seymour about how much they need him back, it's not all it seems in Pats country. Bill Belichick is starting to see his team unravel into disarray, and it looks like MUTINY! I see the Pats fading, and the Dolphins coming on strong over the next 4 weeks.
The AFC West although only separated by 1 game this divison will go to the Chargers. They are playing their best ball right now, and have won 7 straight. Rivers is on fire, and wothy of MVP talk along with Manning, Favre, and Brees. By beating the Bengals, the Chargers will own the head to head and rest players the last game of the season, and cruise into the bye week with the #2 seed.
The AFC North has been decided, but the Bengals will secure a home field playoff game in the Wild Card round. If the Jaguars finish as I have predicted then this is where we wil play the first week of the playoffs.
The AFC South is ruled once again by the much hated Colts. That being said...with a win this week the Colts lock up home field throughout the playoffs, and rest most of their starters on December 17 against the Jaguars. With a loss against the Broncos then we will see Manning and company as they try to shore up home field. However, I believe they win this week, and we will knock them from the perch of the undefeateds, and remain in the hunt for the #6 seed.
Now for the Wild Card spots:
AFC Wild Card :
Remaining Schedule: at Indianapolis (L), Oakland (W), at Philadelphia (L), Kansas City (W)
Final Record: 10-6 Seeding #6
Remaining schedule: Miami (W), Indianapolis (W), at New England (W), at Cleveland (L)
Final Record: 10-6 Seeding #5
New England Patriots
Remaining Schedule: Carolina (L), at Buffalo (W), Jacksonville (L), at Houston (L)
Final Record: 8-8 Miss Playoffs for 2nd year in a row. Time to rebuild the Defense.
Remaining Schedule: Detroit (W), Chicago (W), at Pittsburgh (L), at Oakland (L)
Final Record: 8-8 Offense is improving, but just not enough.
New York Jets
Remaining schedule: at Tampa Bay (W), Atlanta (L), at Indianapolis (L), Cinncinatti (L)
Final Record: 7-9 Mark Sanchez is their future.
Remaining schedule: Green Bay (L), Balitmore (W), at Miami (L)
Final Record: 7-9 They could get in, but would need alot of help. I say stick a fork in them. It's time to rebuild both lines.
This scenario is based on the Jaguars having a better AFC record since there is no head to head match up here. The Jags would finish with a 9-3 Conference record and the Broncos would be 8-4 in the Conference. So, there you have it sports fans. I'm not sure how outlandish you think these predictions are, but feel free to comment and give you predictions.
[The outcome was originally for the Jags to be the 6th seed, but due to an error that has been pointed out, it has changed to the 5th seed.]