Morning Skate: Thursday, January 24, 2013


Morning Skate: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Down Goes Brown lists the 10 players that nobody can ever hate in the NHL, and I hate all of them. Just kidding.

Nick Cotsonika sits down with Jaromir Jagr in Dallas about his standing as an elder statesman in the NHL, and his role with the Stars.

P.K. Subban wants to get paid, and he wont be suiting up for the Montreal Canadiens until that happens.

Steve Downie is lost for the season and thats a big blow to a Colorado Avalanche team that could use his pugnacious tendencies.

Feisty Nathan Gerbe is itching for a return to the Buffalo Sabres after missing the first few games with an eye issue.

Former University of Maine goaltender Ben Bishop is back in his backup role with the Ottawa Senators.

A street legal zamboni? Isnt this what Patrice Bergeron and Andrew Raycroft tooled around Boston in so many moons ago?

For something completely different: Season Six cast photos from Mad Men. Looking forward to a new year of Don Draper getting drunk and abusing his underlings.

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

The Patriots and Raiders and neck-and-neck as the race for home field in the AFC turns for home. And, with four games left, the Raiders are ahead by a nose. The tiebreakers between the 10-2 teams in play currently? Common games followed by strength of victory. 

The first tiebreaker – conference record – is a deadlock as both teams are 7-1 in the AFC (the Brady-less Patriots lost to the Bills back in Week 4.

After conference record, it's the teams record in common games. 


So far in common games with the Texans and Bills, the Patriots have gone 2-1 and the Raiders have gone 2-0. The Patriots play the Ravens next week. Oakland beat them. The Patriots play Denver after that. Oakland beat them as well but have one more game against Denver in Week 17.

So if it comes down to common games the Patriots really need to win these next two games.

Or hope the Raiders stub their toe a time or two in their final four games which are at the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos with a home game against Indy in Week 16.

As for strength of victory, that too goes to Oakland at this point. The Raiders’ strength of victory is at .471. The Patriots’ is at .370.

But the tiebreaker that kicks in after conference record and before strength of victory – common games – is very much unresolved.The remaining picture as it stands right now? The Ravens are the No. 3 seed with a 7-5 record that leads the AFC North. The Texans’ 6-6 record is good enough to lead the AFC South. The 9-3 Chiefs are the top Wild Card. The 8-4 Broncos are the No. 6 seed.

The Patriots play the Ravens and Broncos over the next two weeks. Currently, the Dolphins (7-5) and Steelers (7-5) are on the outside looking in.

The Titans (6-6) will have a chance to get even with the Texans in Week 17 in head-to-head matchups but they host Denver and play at Kansas City the next two weeks so they have obstacles to clear before they get there.