After Week 1, I predicted the Patriots would finish 10-6 or 11-5. With one game to go that counts as a bullseye prediction for ol’ Muttrox.
The Pats need to beat the Bills. Assuming they do, then we need the Jets to beat the Dolphins. If that happens, we’re automatically in as division winners. The Jets have been eliminated (I think). Mangini and Bellicek hate each other. Would Mangini actually throw a game just to keep the Pats out? I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone throws games in the NFL.
In baseball or basketball, no individual game means that much for job security. In the NFL, every game is huge. For a coach, the difference between 10-6 and 9-7 could mean his job. Throwing a game would be very very risky. I also believe the most players are incapable of throwing games. I have tried to throw poker games and for the most part I just can’t. And I’m certainly not a professional who got there partially because of my killer competitive instinct.
This season once again shows how the division structure is unfair. The Pats, Jets, and Dolphins are all good teams. Certainly better than the crappy Cardinals we humiliated last week. Nevertheless, the Patriots could easily go 11-5 and not make the playoffs. Is that bad, or part of what makes football interesting?