Thursday, December 30, 2010

Football + Numbers = Fun!!!!

It's my favorite time of year again. It's time to way over-analyze everyone's playoff chances and identify the best games to watch this Week 17. Both of my teams, Patriots and Eagles, and locked comfortably in their playoff positions. Five out of six AFC teams and four out of six NFC teams are safely in the playoffs and this week will be about securing their positions in the rankings, and possibly a first round bye. The other three slots will be decided this week. Like I did last year, let's start with:

Games That Don't Matter

The AFC Shuffle

Let's start with where we are now:

Wild-Card Game 1:
#6 - Jets
#3 - Chiefs
Divisional Game 1:
#1 - Patriots
Lower ranking WC winner
Wild-Card Game 2:
#4 - Colts*
#5 - Ravens
Divisional Game 2:
#2 - Steelers
Higher ranking WC winner

If you have the choice, this is the game I'd watch at 4:15. The only unsafe slot on the AFC side is the AFC South. Jacksonville is only one game back. With a Jacksonville win and a Colts loss, the Jaguars are going to the playoffs.
The Jaguars only obstacle is the Colts. With a win, the Colts lock up the #4 spot, but they can still make it if Jacksonville loses. I'd still choose the Jaguars game because fuck the Colts.
The Ravens best chance at post-season success is a week off. They can move up ot the #2 spot with a win and a Steelers loss.
All the Steelers need to do to stay at #2 is win. You'd think that'd be easy against Cleveland, but then again, tell that to the Patriots. They can still hold onto #2 with a Baltimore loss.
The Jets beat the Steelers but not the Ravens in a head-to-head tie. That means if the Jets win, and Pittsburgh falls to the Wild Card, the Jets would be #5 not #6. If the Colts hold onto #4, that probably wouldn't help them much.
Holding onto the #3 spot should be Kansas City's first priority. That spot can avoid the Patriots until the Championship. If they lose this week, the Chiefs could lose the #3 spot to the Colts, but only if the Colts win.

The NFC Scramble

And this is where the NFC is now

Wild-Card Game 1:
#6 - Packers*
#3 - Eagles
Divisional Game 1:
#1 - Falcons
Lower ranking WC winner
Wild-Card Game 2:
#4 - Rams*
#5 - Saints
Divisional Game 2:
#2 - Bears
Higher ranking WC winner

This is the late game for a reason. The winner of this game takes the NFC West. I hope everyone, event the people of Seattle are rooting for the Rams. If Seattle wins, they'd make it to the playoffs with a 7-9 record, and that would probably mean the end of professional sports in this country.
Hands down, this is the game of the day and definitely the one to watch at 1:00. Look for Tampa Bay to play harder than they have ever played. If they win and both the Packers and Giants lose, they can take the #6 spot. It won't be easy, though. If the Saints win and the Falcons lose, the Saints will be the #1 team in the NFC.
The outcome of this game will most likely shape the rest of the NFC picture. A Packers win assures them the #6 spot, no matter what happens with the Giants or Bucs. A Chicago win, coupled with Falcons and Saints losses, would give the Bears the #1 spot. That won't make much of a difference to them, so unless they want the Packers out of the playoffs, they'll probably sit out their starters.
A Giants win and a Packers loss gives the Giants the #6 spot.
Falcons loss and a Saints win, Falcons drop to #5

That's it. We'll see what happens.

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