This Is a Blog: Playoff Numbers Time, Again!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Playoff Numbers Time, Again!

It may favorite time of year again. Time to talk about everyone's favorite part of football: NUMBERS! But first, the blow off games. All six teams in these three games are out. But funny story, at the time I'm writing this, Redskins/Giants is the game Fox is showing in Los Angeles Sunday morning. Good call!

AFC: The Easy to Follow One

All the divisions have been won, but their records are close enough to keep the first-round bye in play for all four division champs. The Chiefs have locked in 5th place, and the other Wild Card slot is where we will begin.

This is the game to watch in the AFC. With a win and a NE loss, the Bengals could sneak into a first round bye. If they lose and the Colts win, though, they could fall to 4th and have to play the Chiefs in the Wild Card round.

The Ravens are another story. After an embarrassing loss last week, the Ravens are fighting to stay alive. Since John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco came together in 2008, the Ravens have made the playoffs every year, culminating in a Super Bowl victory last year. Right now, they are one of four teams fighting for the last Wild Card slot. The Ravens, Dolphins, and Chargers are all 8-7, but the Steelers are holding onto a tiny bit of hope at 7-8.

  • If the Ravens win, and BOTH the Dolphins and Chargers win, the Dolphins are in.

  • If the Ravens win, and the Chargers lose, the Ravens are in, no matter what happens with Miami.

  • If the Ravens lose, and the Dolphins win, the Dolphins are in, no matter what happens with San Diego.

  • If the Chargers win, and the Ravens AND Dolphins lose, the Chargers are in.

  • If the Ravens, Dolphins, and Chargers lose, but the Steelers win, miraculously, the Steelers will actually make the playoffs.

  • If ALL FOUR TEAMS -- Ravens, Dolphins, Chargers, and Steelers -- lose, the Ravens are in.

The Other Division Leaders

With a win, Denver locks in #1 and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a loss and a New England win, they fall to #2, which only really matters if they meet the Pats in the AFC Championship.
With a win, the Patriots lock in a first-round bye and have a chance at #1. If they lose, and the Bengals and Colts lose, they still hold #2. If they lose and either the Bengals or Colts win, they lose the first-round bye, falling possibly as far as 4th.
The Colts are playing mainly for hope. A win opens up a chance of a first-round bye, if the Pats and Bengals lose. A loss locks them into 4th.

NFC: The Clusterfuck

Nothing in the NFC is set. The winners of the West and South will hold #1 and #2, and the winners of the East and North will hold #3 and #4. Problem is, none of those divisions have locked in Champs, and even then, the order depends on who wins. The Wild Card slots will be held by someone in the West and South, but right now, those could be any of five different teams.

The official NFL game of the week is below, but for my money, this is the most interesting. The Arizona Cardinals, once again helmed by an aging quarterback, have a very slight chance of inching into #6. They can do it with a win AND Saints loss. They'll have a tough time at it with the Niners playing for a possible #1 seed. With a win AND Seahawks loss AND Panthers loss, they jump to #1. Having clinched a playoff berth, their worst case is a loss AND a Saints win AND a Panthers win, which drops them to #6. Speaking of…
Win or lose, the Saints do not control their own destiny. A win AND Panthers loss jumps them to 2nd. A win AND Niners win, drop them to 6th. Even a loss, with a Cardinals loss, keeps them in 6th. But a loss with a Cardinals win, knocks them out.
A win AND Seattle loss AND San Fran win, jumps the Panthers all the way to 1st. They could hold #2 with a loss if the Saints ALSO lose, and in that case they would drop all the way to 6th if the Niners win.
Seattle is the safest of them all. If the Niners lose, this game doesn't even matter. If the Niners win, though, Seattle's worst case is 5th, which hardly matters since #3 and #4 will be occupied by…

In NFL's game of the week, the Eagles and the Cowboys fight it out for the NFC East. With a win, Philly locks in #3. If they manage to win without Tony Romo, Dallas could hold #3 or #4, depending on what happens in Chicago.

That insane tie on the Packer's record put a weird kink in the standings. Green Bay is playing to finish a half game over the Bears, and a half game behind the Cowboys. With a win, the Packers take #4. If the Bears win, they will enter the playoffs in #4 behind the Eagles or #3 ahead of the Cowboys. In short, one of these scenarios will happen for slots #3 and #4:

  • #3 - Eagles / #4 - Bears

  • #3 - Eagles / #4 - Packers

  • #3 - Bears / #4 - Cowboys

  • #3 - Cowboys / #4 - Packers

Boy, that was exhausting, wasn't it?

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