At long last, we're here: the 10 worst games remaining after Week 8 of the 2011 NFL schedule. Be warned, for here be Colts, Cardinals, and Rams.
131. Atlanta at Indianapolis (Week 9)
At 0-8, the Colts are not yet out of the playoffs. If the Texans go 2-6 down the stretch, the Titans go 3-6, and the Colts run the table, they're in! Math!
132. Indianapolis at Jacksonville (Week 17)
When you're the 2011 Colts, any schedule is a tough schedule. But, look: we could conceivably see the Colts having a chance of beating the Jaguars (Week 10) and the Panthers (Week 12). After that, they face the Patriots, Ravens, Titans, and Houston; I would give the Colts 5-to-1 odds at winning even one of those. But on the final week of the season, they face the not-very-good Jaguars again.
Just try and conceive of the idea of a team losing 15 total games through a five-year stretch (2005-09), and two years later, losing 16 in a single season. Never mind that an 0-16 record would only be the second in NFL history.
133. Buffalo at Miami (Week 11)
The Bills still get to play the Dolphins twice. That's fortunate for Buffalo, but the Dolphins are not the worst 0-7 team there's ever been. If you're in a tight, three-team division race, dropping even one game to a floundering division rival would be a huge blow.
134. Miami at Kansas City (Week 9)
The Chiefs, should they somehow find themselves capable of it, should try and beat the Dolphins by seven touchdowns so that they can reset their 2011 point differential. If they do that, they stand at 5-3 and maintain the AFC West lead, and the first two weeks NEVER HAPPENED.
135. Washington at Miami (Week 10)
This might be the Redskins' last opportunity to play in weather that isn't completely ass-horrible.
136. Seattle at Dallas (Week 9)
Sigh. No. There is no way I can even try to spin this without insulting you. I mean, it's a football game between a couple of teams that are not terribly horrible. Watch it if nothing else is on (note: other things are on).
137. St. Louis at Cleveland (Week 10)
Winner: Rams, for some reason
138. Arizona at St. Louis (Week 12)
139. Seattle at St. Louis (Week 11)
140. St. Louis at Arizona (Week 9)
And here it is! The Worst Remaining Game In The 2011 NFL Season! Just last season, the NFC West was a fun little glop of mediocre-to-bad teams, all four of whom had a fighting chance at a division title. This year, the 49ers have ruined that science experiment, and this is what we have left: a battle between a bad team and an abysmal team, both of whom are almost mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in Week 8.
Thank you for following along with this obscenely information ranking of all 140 remaining NFL games on the schedule. Before we go, here's a look at some match-ups that some of SB Nation's team bloggers find particularly interesting, for one reason or another:
Jacksonville at Atlanta (Week 15, Thursday night)
From Alfie Crow at Big Cat Country:
The most interesting match up remaining on the Jacksonville Jaguars schedule is their Thursday Night match up with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are coached by former Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who left the Jaguars after the 2007 season to take the Falcons job. This will be the first regular season meeting between the two teams and quite a few Jaguars fans still lament the fact that Mike Smith went on to be successful in Atlanta while the Jaguars defense faltered the next three seasons.
NY Jets at Miami (Week 17)
From John Butchko at SB Nation New York:
Jets-Dolphins game could potentially have a strange twist. It is entirely possible the game could be the difference between the Jets making and missing the playoffs. It also could be the difference between the Dolphins finishing with the worst record in the league or not. This could very well mean that a loss would mean the Jets' season ends a lot earlier than hoped, but a win would mean having to play Andrew Luck twice for the next fifteen seasons.
Miami at Dallas (Week 12, Thanksgiving)
From our Dolphins blog, The Phinsider:
This game is going to be interesting for the Dolphins because it's a nationally televised game. The Dolphins are on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. Miami is in the middle of a horrible season, as everyone knows, but this could deflect some of the criticism. No one seems to notice that the Dolphins have done well in staying in games, and going toe-to-toe with their opponents - they just fall apart at the end of the games.
The Dolphins have played the Patriots, Texans, Chargers, Jets, and Giants, all teams that are expected to go to the playoffs this season - marking 5 of Miami's 7 losses. While the team is losing - and deservedly so - they always have the chance to right this thing. It might be too late for any real meaning in 2011 - but a game against a struggling Cowboys team - especially if Tony Romo comes out as the bad Romo - could be great for the Dolphins in front of the nation.
Baltimore at Seattle (Week 10)
From Danny Kelly at Field Gulls:
The Seahawks are mired in what's turning out to be a "lost season." They're in the NFC West, so on a national level none of their divisional games are all that interesting - the Rams are awful, the Cardinals are awful, the Seahawks are awful, and the 49ers are in firm control. No one wants to watch a couple hyenas fight over the scraps of a dead carcass. The Seahawks' non-divisional games, for the most part, are equally un-scintillating to the average American. Almost as boring as, say, matching up the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens for a Monday night game. Oh wait. Before Baltimore lost to the Jaguars on national television and needed a record-setting comeback to beat the Cardinals, I would have told you that this matchup looks ghastly for the home team, but the Ravens/Seahawks just might be something to look forward to.
The Hawks have a burgeoning defense centered around stopping the run. Joe Flacco has proven to be inconsistent and can be rattled. You really never know what you'll get from the Seahawks offense but there are weapons in Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, and the precocious Doug Baldwin. If the Hawks could shut down Ray Rice and the Ravens rushing attack, things could get interesting. Also, there's always the outside chance we'll get to witness Ray Lewis do his dance. You have to enjoy the little things out here in Seattle.
New England at Washington (Week 14)
From Kevin Ewoldt at Hogs Haven:
The hated return of Haynesworth to Fedex Field. He's kind of a non-factor but probably will play. I can't imagine the boos if he records a sack. You better believe he'll be giving his best effort.
Baltimore at San Diego (Week 15, Sunday night)
From our Ravens blog, Baltimore Beatdown:
The Ravens head to sunny SoCal in a prime-time match-up which might be a prelude to the postseason. Baltimore is pretty awful on the road in prime-time (See Jacksonville game - ouch!), but in order to make it to the Big Game, they will have to beat the best. By the time this game rolls around, the other pretenders in the AFC West will have drifted comfortably to sleep and the Chargers should be on their way to the division title.
The Ravens will not only have to fight the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC North crown but it is also beginning to look like the Cincinnati Bengals are not going away anytime soon. Sounds like a great choice by the prime-time schedule-makers... for a change!