Yes today's loss was a brutal, stupid, and ultimately poorly timed loss. In a day where the entire AFC North lost, we could have helped secure a division title and instead, probably lost it.
But this poast will examine our Wild Card prospects, which are completely intact. In fact, we are still in the drivers seat. Observe after the hippity hop.
Currently, as it stands we have several probable division "locks"
AFC North: Cincinnatti at 7-3. While we could surpass them, I dont quite see it. This is more of a Wild Card Examination.
Assuming these teams clinch divisions, it leaves the following Wild Card Contenders:
San Diego at 7-3
Denver at 6-4
Jacksonville at 6-4
Miami at 5-5
Baltimore at 5-5
And possibly Houston, who would be 6-4 if they win on MNF.
Lets examine each of these scenarios.
The beauty of San Diego and Denver is this. One of them WILL win the division. More than likely, its San Diego. However, we've had the luck of beating both of those teams. Meaning a tie with them is to our advantage. This pushes both of them out of our way.
Denver is also spiraling out of control. 4 Straight losses and a trip to Indy in two weeks do not bode well.
Jacksonville is going to be in the thick of it, yet also plays New England and Indy before the season's end. Good news for us. In addition, most all of their wins have been against lousy opponents, and they have been plastered by those who are superior. However, they are Wild Card enemy #2
Miami is in the hunt, but behind us. We get the chance to put them down when we play them in the upcoming weeks. A win there would eliminate them from stealing our Wild Card spot.
And we control Baltimore's destiny. Beat them twice, and they are gone. Even once would likely hurt their chances.
Houston is the other big wild card threat. A win on MNF puts them at our record, 6-4. They too however play New England, and Indy.
Our two biggest WC threats then, are Jacksonville and Houston. The beauty of this problem, is they play eachother one more time, and face the tough common opponents of Indy and New england. This puts us at an advantage.
So friends, please put down the rope. Turn the car off and open the garage door. We have an extremely positive chance of taking the 5th seed in the league. And division is not over yet. We all know what this team can do when they play their best, they didnt today, but if they do the rest of this year, Trophy #7 is still very much available.