Below is a review of this past weekend’s games, plus a PO explanation. There is a lot of talk out there about what needs to happen for us to make the play offs. This chart will help because the conference wins matter.
Each division gets a play off spot, no matter their record. That’s four spots. Today that would be NE*, Baltimore (they have more divisions wins than Pittsburgh), Houston and Oakland. Seed 1 and Seed 2 go to the two teams with the best records. Right now, that’s NE* and Oakland. I get cold sweats every time I have to write the two teams I hate the most. Followed by the urge to projectile vomit. ugh.
Next, two Wild Card spots are available. This goes to the two teams with the best record after the four teams. Right now, that is KC plus Miami because Miami has a better Conference record (5-3) than we do (4-3). This is important. Our remaining opponents are all AFC. Miami has four remaining.
The Ravens, Steelers, Texans have 3 AFC teams remaining. The Titans have three. We play the Titans, if we lose to them, start Lynch because our year will be over and might as well get a jump on next season. For the Colts to have a chance, we have to drop two games and they win throughout. See previous sentence.
The scenarios we need to make the Playoffs are as follows:
To get number 1 Seed, we need to win through out and any team with a mathematical chance, must have a worse record. To get number 2, we may drop one if only one team has a better record. Right now, that potential would be NE* or Oakland.
To make the playoffs as a Wild Card, we need at least a 10-6 record with a lot of help from Miami, Baltimore, Steelers, Texans, Titans. 9-7 opens the door for too many other teams, not to mention, a 9-7 on the road isn’t going far. Of course, KC and Oakland losing to us is a must. Our prayer is that these other teams aren’t great and could drop more than four.
This weekend, we need Oakland, Steelers, Texans, Miami (since it’s slim we overtake NE*) to lose.
Carolina 32 (4-7) @ Oakland 35 (9-2)
Our offense has an excuse for being mediocre 3/4’s of most games, Carolina has zero. They have a veteran QB. Yet, that is exactly how they play this year. How both teams played against Oakland. Moments of, oh hey, that was great, followed by lots of, oh jeez, what was he thinking? Sketchy QB play, inconsistent RB play, OL sometimes forgetting how to play.
Their defense, which was feared by the league last year (like ours), failed to show up consistently. Their first half offense was terrible (sound familiar?) while their second half play was much better; however it was too late to overcome.
This is a team that is supposed to be like us: run heavy, with strong TE play and a mobile QB. Odd that we beat them in the SB by playing more Manning than Kubiak/Rivera type ball. Something to store away for our next match-up.
So much of what plagues Carolina, plagues us, but they haven't had the lucky breaks we have had or we could easily have been 4-7. I’m writing this because we play Oakland, again.
Part of the blame must be placed in Ron Rivera’s lap. When your offense is struggling to play four quarters of acceptable ball (not even asking for good), the HC needs to make changes to fix the problem. When your defense is missing assignments and not wrapping up players, time to look at position coaches.
This was a game Carolina could have won and didn't because they were sloppy across the board.
Next up, Oakland takes on the Bills. A team many believe may sneak into the POs. A win for them would help.
Injury: Oakland, Carr, finger
Kansas City 30 (8-3) @ Denver 27 (7-4)
Ugh. This was a team loss. Every player and one could say coach, depending on where you stand, had plays that lost the game. Every one. No one is without sin, as they say. When games come down to OT, there’s always a play that pivots a game. This one had a bunch of, “what ifs”.
With that said, the refs gave us a very generous spot that gave us an opportunity to have a shot at winning, so lets not forget that. That spot allowed us to have a chance to score. No spot, we kick a FG and lose the game before OT.
There was a lot to like from this game. No matter how this season ends, we saw a lot that showed a lot of promise for next season. Exciting stuff. First, my bois, AJ Derby and Andy Janovich. I break out in a smile thinking about those two. Combined with Devontae Booker and CJ Anderson, we may get to see what Gary Kubiak has been dreaming of.
While I doubt Donald Stephenson is back next year, the two weeks of rest really helped. Once he went in, our OL gave Trevor Siemian lots of clean pockets and often plenty of time. They started getting the run game going. Part of this was (finally) putting AJ or Jano on that side.
As KC started to tire, Kapri Bibbs and Book were getting chucks of yardage. Does it need to be better? Yes. But, if you can average at least 3 yards a carry, you can run for first downs. Max Garcia graded out as a top five player. Kudos to Max for improving. That’s promising. Our front three young guys really have potential to be good. They’re getting better. Michael Schofield might have scored better, but think he was trying to play his and Ty’s spot.
As our OL did better and our run game started clicking, our WRs had more room to run and during the second half, Trevor Sieman played the best two quarters of his career. He was in rhythm, his first reads were open and he looked good. Made several nice throws. Our WRs made some fantastic catches which in turn gave him more confidence to do more and we saw a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Those two quarters were encouraging. That play could win games.
I believe this started when he was forced to throw on the run. Keeping Trevor moving makes him play better. Our OL, too. He may be one of the QBs who suffer from paralyses from analysis.
Based on what happened during OT when he missed open guys, threw into double coverage, took a sack instead of stepping up into a clean pocket and didn't see an open Emmanuel Sanders, plus threw some poor passes, this gives credence. Maybe it was nerves. In the future, Kubes needs to get Siemian moving in the first quarter. Get him out of his head much earlier. This may have been an aha moment for the future.
Despite our defense allowing three scores, it really came down to just a handful of missed plays. Our defense held them to very little run or pass. Some bad flags. Since I’m looking to the future, didn’t see any bad play that makes me think, cut him. No comment on offense and ST.
Overall, what this team lacks is consistency. Our offense can’t play four quarters of good ball. Doesn’t have to be great, just have consistent good drives that score points or pin their offense deep. Our defense needs to not always be a position to pull out a fourth quarter win. This is on the coaching.
Next up, Denver travels to Jacksonville for a much needed win. I’m so excited to see them in my backyard!
KC goes into the Roost. This is a good game for us to watch and see how Ryan does against their defense.
San Diego 21 (5-6) @ Houston 13 (6-5)
Thank you Phil for having a good game. While the Texans lead their division, they could drop and this loss will help. They and the Titans duking it out could help us down the road.
If I got a dollar for every time I wrote or said since 2014 how bad Brock As, er, Osweiler is, I’d own SB Nation. My first order of business would be to put whatever I write on the front page. I’m not a glory hound or anything. I love being proven right, though.
When I look at Houston and their boring play calling, I wonder, is it them or are they playing down to their QB talent? Their OL? RB? (the same questions asked often in Denver) Or is it the coaching? This was on full display against San Diego. A team not known for their smothering defense, but they had Texas’s number. Bill O’Brian has turned into Gary Kubiak. The very reason Kubes was fired. Makes one think, it’s the QB forcing snoozefest games.
Brent has just enough good plays to give fans hope the right coach or OL or RB can change him into something better. That a quarter or two of good plays and throws seen here and there must indicate something can be great. Lot of false hope circulating. We saw that same thing in Denver. SD wasn't fooled. They’ve played Brent before. Three INTs.
The defense, minus some poor safety play that Rivers exploited, did pretty well. But give Rivers a pocket and he will make you pay. Texas did pretty well at limiting SD to just three TDs, had their offense played better, may have beaten SD, but just enough defensive crucial mistakes at the wrong moments and not enough offensive help, doomed Houston.
Injuries: Texans, Lamar Miller, left ankle
Next up, SD takes on the Buccaneers.