Brett Throws Away Game, Patriots are out: What Happens now in the AFC Playoffs?

Mitchell GoldenCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2008

The Patriots had their chance several weeks ago, on third-and-15 in overtime. Brett Favre actually made that pass to Dustin Keller, and led the Jets to a 38-34 overtime victory.

This was at the peak of the Jets’ season, and the loss ultimately caused the Patriots to be entangled in a web of tiebreaking procedures that cost them a playoff berth.

Congratulations to Tony Sparano on making the playoffs, and to Matt Cassel for giving his team a chance.

As for Favre?  Sure, he one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, yet, as the catalyst for all the drama in the AFC East, it simply was not worth the hype.

Both Favre and Thomas Jones were noticeably fatigued in this last Jets-Dolphins game. Jones could not muster up the leg power to run through Miami’s line, and Favre threw an ignorant pick that was returned for a touchdown (on a screen play).

Later, when it appeared as though the Jets were driving for the tie, Favre went into the no huddle and threw a pass through the hands of Chansi Stucky and into the hands of a Miami cornerback.

Now, the playoff picture is set. Here are my predictions for the AFC side of the NFL Playoffs:

Miami at Baltimore:

As much as I do not think the Dolphins are as good of a playoff team as the Patriots, I think their game style can win this game. The Dolphins play a ball control offense much like the Ravens do. They do not make risky throws, and rely on the run to set up their attack.

The Ravens have a better defense, but I think the Wildcat will set up at least one pivotal play in this matchup. Also, expect the Dolphins to get some good pressure on Flacco and force at least one more turnover than the Dolphins give up.

Result: Miami Wins

San Diego/Denver at Indianapolis:

I am bitter that an 8-8 team has the chance at the playoffs. No matter which team makes it, the Colts win.

Result: Colts Win

(Miami) at Tennessee

Although I still like the Dolphins’ safe style of gameplay against a Titans team that does not have an explosive pass offense, Tennessee has too good of a defense and will force turnovers from the Dolphins.

If the Dolphins fall behind by more than seven, which they will, Pennington does not have the ability to win a game. The Wildcat is good for one-score games.

When the Dolphins are down by more than one score—their style simply doesn’t allow it. Pennington doesn’t have the arm, and his receivers don’t have the skills to take over a game.

Result: Titans Win

(Colts) at Pittsburgh

I feel like my Colts game explanations are running a bit shorter than my Miami game predictions. Maybe it is because the analysis is simpler, or maybe I just do not care as much.

Either way, the Colts win because they are a more complete team. The Steelers offense is anemic, and will be especially weak as Roethlisberger now has a concussion.

Result: Colts Win

Colts at Tennessee

For a non-Patriots playoff, this will be a great game to watch.  Tennessee should on paper have an easy time containing the Colts running attack, which is highlighted by Dominic Rhodes now.

Yet do not count the Colts out. They are the hottest team in the NFL.

After starting the season with doubts that they would even get in the playoffs, the Colts managed to go 12-4.

The Colts are a more complete team than the Titans, and have the ability to come back from a multi-possession deficit. Plus, most of the players are experienced in the postseason.

Kerry Collins has been in the Super Bowl with the Giants, but do not expect any heroics from the journeyman this time around.

The Colts will win this game, and head off to the Super Bowl.

Result: Colts Win