Our weekly Ideal Scenario column is back after a bye-week hiatus, and just in time to see the playoff picture begin to take shape. Things are definitely intensifying and this week brings us a slew of division rivalries that will go a long way towards defining the likely and unlikely candidates for this year's playoff race. If one word defines this week, especially in the AFC South, it's clarification.
Teams who own the tiebreaker against us:
Teams we own the tiebreaker against:
Our game of the week:
Colts @ Titans (Monday Night Football): If Indy loses, we can all but resign ourselves to a Wild-Card spot, but we'll have a significant leg up on Polian's mustangs. Vic Ketchman seems to think that we should cheer for the Titans to go ahead and put the Colts out of their misery, although this is something I've struggled with, I think you have to root for the Colts to knock off the Titans. The three game stretch the Titans have includes Green Bay and Chicago, possibly the toughest stretch of the season for them. If they can manage to let two of those games slip away (and we win our next three), we'll meet up at 6-3 vs. 7-2 with an opportunity to even our records at 7-3 apiece. We would still be in second place at this point though, because Tennessee has a better AFC record than us. Welcome to the complex world of the NFL playoffs... My point is that this game is a win-win scenario for the Jags. One of the teams we need to lose will, which one loses will determine whether a division title for the Jags is feasible or not.
This Week's Key Games:
Oakland @ Baltimore: An Oakland victory would further the distance between Baltimore and the Steelers while hurting Baltimore's chances at a Wild-Card.
Buffalo @ Miami: We want the Bills to handily win their division because they own the tie-breaker against us.
San Diego @ New Orleans: A Saints victory would all but spoil any hope that the Chargers were still grasping at. This win would be big for Jags, there's only two spots available to non-division winners, and the Chargers are among our stiffest competition.
St. Louis @ New England: Always root for the NFC when they play the AFC unless it's a team we want to win their division. The Patriots have the weakest schedule in the NFL this year, and therefore represent a real threat to make a bid for a Wild-Card. Beel Beelichick must not make the playoffs!
New York Giants @ Pittsburgh: We want the Steelers to win their division handily, so cheer on Big Ben for a change!
Cincinnati @ Houston: A loss here would doom the Texans 2008 season... let's hope it happens.
There you have it, this week's ideal scenario. I'd love to hear some opinions on the Colts v. Titans game. Am I right to still have hope for a division title?