This Is a Blog: Playoff Numbers: Simple Yet So Crazy

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Playoff Numbers: Simple Yet So Crazy

Ten teams deserve to be in the playoffs. Unfortunately, only nine of them will make it, to make room for two awful divisional leaders. While it's true that Washington and Houston have shown some signs of life lately, and if Indy makes it to the playoffs, it will be like God herself ordained it (see below), but the Steelers, and yes, the Jets, deserve it more. So let's get to it, beginning with the games that don't matter:

The NFC Shuffle

The first thing you probably noticed is that all these are NFC teams. The six NFC playoff teams are in, but where they'll land is anyone's guess. Except for Washington jammed down there at #4, all spots are up for grabs, even what was once thought to be the untouchable #1 spot, so only three games make any difference.

Game of the Week: Since I don't buy the Carolina hype, I'm going to say this game is the Super Bowl. These are the best two teams playing right now. I can only hope they play again in the playoffs and that will be the real Super Bowl. Having already locked in a first round bye, the Cardinals, with a win and a Panthers loss, take #1 and home field advantage. The Seahawks with a win and Vikings loss, could take the sweet #5 spot against Washington.

But Seattle could be spoiled if the Packers tank the game on purpose. That's what I would do. The winner of this game wins the NFC North, but that means no chance of facing Washington. Best case for the winner of this game is facing the same opponent again next week, worst case is facing Seattle. If Green Bay loses, though, they will hold #5 and face Washington.

Carolina's path is much simpler. A win locks in #1 and home field advantage. A loss and Cardinals win drops them only to #2.

The AFC Insanity

This week is do or die for the Steelers and Jets. A loss ends the Steelers season, but a win and Jets loss slides them into #6. A losing Jets can still take #6 if the Steelers lose. A winning Jets could even take #5 with a KC loss.

Denver is in the crazy position of having an equal chance of landing at #1 or #6. A win and Patriots loss gives them #1. A loss and KC win puts the Chiefs at the top of the AFC West, coupled with a Jets win drops them all the way to #6. However, with a loss and KC loss, they hold onto their division title, even taking #2 and a first round bye if Cincy also loses.

The top 3 spots are far from simple, though. The Patriots are #1 for now, so a win locks in #1. New England is looking to sit their starters (which at this point is Tommy and Gronk*), so anything's possible. The Pats beat the Bengals in a tie, so Cincy tops out at #2. The Bengals beat the Chiefs but not the Broncos in a tie, so if the Chiefs win the AFC West (KC win, Denver loss), Cincinnati locks in #2 whether they win or not. If the Broncos win, the Bengals take #3 no matter what. However, if Denver and KC lose, Bengals get #2 with a win, and #3 with a loss. Confused? Just wait.

For all intents and purposes, the Houston Texans will win the AFC South and hold #4. However, in a series of events odds makers are giving 3,326:1 odds, the Colts still have the slightest of slight shots of making it. In order to understand how, first, you have to understand the NFL's tie breaking procedures. Go ahead, take a few hours and earn a law degree, so you can understand it. Basically, the Colts need to force a sixth tie-breaker and win. This means, the Colts win the division with a win and Texans loss IF (very big if) the Bills, Dolphins, Ravens, Falcons, Raiders, Broncos, and Steelers also win. What's that you say? Didn't I put the Falcons game under games that don't matter? That's right. That game doesn't matter because this is never going to happen. Fuck the Colts.

*Would any of you watch a buddy cop show called Tommy & Gronk?

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