Tuesday, December 25

Santa, please bring me a Titans loss

As those of you who follow the NFL know, the playoff scenarios in the AFC have shifted such that they no longer favor the Cleveland Browns. Heading into last week's contest, the Browns were in charge - a win over Cincinnati got them in, no questions asked. A loss by the Titans at the Jets would have done the trick as well, but neither worked out in Cleveland's favor. Now, it is the Titans in the driver's seat, to the extent that the Browns game next week is virtually irrelevant.

Yes, that's right, because of the NFL's tiebreaking procedures, the Browns-49ers game has no effect on whether Cleveland qualifies for the postseason. If Tennessee wins in Indianapolis, the Titans go; if Tennesses loses to the Colts, the Browns will be preparing for a first round game. It simply does not matter what the Browns do next week; they can lose to finish 9-7 and qualify if the Titans blow it, or they could win to go 10-6 and miss out if Tennessee wins. OK, fine, if Indy-Tennessee is a tie, the Browns game decides it, but that is extraordinarily likely. The entire outcome essentially hinges on the Tennessee game.

Nevertheless, I found this quote today from a guy named Steve Silverman on MSNBC.com, written after all of the week 16 action had taken place and this straightforward situation was public knowledge:

While the loss to their [The Browns'] cross-state rivals hurts quite a bit, they host San Francisco in the final game of the season. If the Browns have a chance to control their own destiny — both games are 1 p.m. (EST) kickoffs next Sunday — they should handle the Niners without much of a problem.

What do you mean, if they have a chance to control their own destiny? It's not a hypothetical anymore, dude - they don't have that chance. It's wouldn't matter if they were playing the 1994 All-Madden team or the LA Raiders from Tecmo Bowl because the outcome of this game is meaningless in terms of securing the final playoff berth. Hell, they should rest the starters like Indy is doing. I'm serious. Still, you're sitting here writing an article about how there's very little to decide playoff-wise in the season's final week, and you can't take 5 seconds to find out that only one game in the AFC affects playoff qualification? Couldn't you have had your secretary look that up? Check your facts, man.

No comments: