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NFL Playoff Scenarios


Mac the Knife

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The information about teams eliminated from contention in the NFC, as well as with teams in contention for NFC playoff berths other than the NY Giants and Minnesota may be off, as this is based on playoff scenarios posted by the NFL prior to Monday night's game. I'm guessing in that respect after looking at league tiebreakers, so if I'm wrong don't get upset!

AFC

CLINCHED DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP:

North - none

South - Indianapolis. Will be the #2 AFC playoff seed.

East - New England. Will be the #1 AFC playoff seed.

West - San Diego. Will be the #3 or #4 AFC playoff seed, depending on placement.

TEAMS STILL IN PLAYOFF CONTENTION:

Pittsburgh will clinch the AFC North Division championship with a win in either of their final two games, coupled with one loss by Cleveland in either of its final two games. The Steelers will clinch a playoff berth with either (i) a loss by Tennessee in either of its final two games, or (ii) A win or tie in either of its next two games, coupled with a tie by Tennessee in either of its final two games.

Cleveland will clinch the AFC North Division championship with (i) a win or tie in either of its final two games, if coupled with losses by Pittsburgh in both its two remaining games, or (ii) wins in both of its final two games, if Pittsburgh should lose either of its remaining games. The Browns will clinch a playoff berth with (i) a win in either of its final two games, or (ii) a Tennessee loss in either of its final two games, or (iii) ties by both Cleveland and Tennessee in either of their final two games.

Jacksonville will clinch a playoff berth with (i) a win or tie in either of its final two regular season games, or (ii) a loss or tie by Tennessee in either of its two final regular season games, or (iii) a loss by Cleveland in either of its two remaining games.

ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION:

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New York Jets, Oakland.

NFC

CLINCHED DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP:

North - Green Bay. Will be either the #1 or #2 NFC playoff seed, depending on placement.

South - Tampa Bay. Will be either the #3 or #4 NFC playoff seed, depending on placement.

East - Dallas. Will be either the #1 or #2 NFC playoff seed, depending on placement.

West - Seattle. Will be either the #3 or #4 NFC playoff seed, depending on placement.

TEAMS STILL IN PLAYOFF CONTENTION:

New York Giants can clinch a playoff berth with either (i) a win or tie in either of their two remaining games, or (ii) a Washington loss or tie in either of its final two games coupled with a New Orleans loss or tie in either of its final two.

Minnesota can clinch a playoff berth with a win, coupled with a New Orleans loss or tie.

New Orleans can clinch a playoff berth, but no notes exist on how the Saints could qualify.

Washington can clinch a playoff berth, but no notes exist on how the Redskins could qualify.

Carolina can clinch a playoff berth, but no notes exist on how the Panthers could qualify.

ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION:

Atlanta, Arizona, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco.

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...New Orleans can clinch a playoff berth, but no notes exist on how the Saints could qualify.

As per the local paper (Times-Picayune) and a multitude of others sites, the 7-7 Saints do not control their destiny, but win in terms of tie-breaker (conference record) if they finish with the same record as ANY of the remaining teams: New York, Minnesota, or Washington. As New York is currently 9-5, New Orleans would have to win out and New York lose out in order for them to take the Giants spot. As Minnesota is currently 8-6, New Orleans would have to either (a) win one while Minnesota loses both, or (B) win two while Minnesota loses one. In terms of Washington (also 7-7), the Saints would have to equal their win total (as well as that of Minnesota).

Likely final scenarios for Saints to make it:

Minnesota 10-6 : in

Saints 9-7: in

Washington 9-7: out

NY Giants 9-7: out

Saints 9-7: in

Washington: 9-7: in

Minnesota 9-7: out

N-Y Giants: 9-7: out

N-Y Giants 9-7: in

Saints 8-8: in

Minnesota: 8-8 out

Washington: 8-8 out

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All right. thanks for the clarification. I need the Giants to lose out, Minnesota to lose out, and I think New Orleans to lose out as well and the Skins to win out in order for my Washington Redskins to get into the playoffs. Not probable, but possible. Washington plays Minnesota which is a huge, huge, i mean huge game for us Skins fans. We need to beat the Vikings to have any chance at all, and then Dallas comes to town, which is winnable because when we play the Cowgirls, you throw out the records.

New Orleans plays Philly in New Orleans, and I think the Saints will get it done in that game. Then they go to Chicago, and I think they'll win that too, but im holding out hope.

Minnesota takes on Washington, and if the Skins win then they'll hold the tiebreak should both teams finish 8-8. After that, the Vikings travel to Denver, who nobody can figure out so its impossible to know who wins that.

The Giants play at Buffalo and home against New England, both very loseable games. If they lose out and Washington wins out, I dont know who has the tiebreak between those two. Is it conference record after head-to-head, or do they go to margin of victory?

Anyway, Go Skins!!

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All right. thanks for the clarification. I need the Giants to lose out, Minnesota to lose out, and I think New Orleans to lose out as well and the Skins to win out in order for my Washington Redskins to get into the playoffs. Not probable, but possible. Washington plays Minnesota which is a huge, huge, i mean huge game for us Skins fans. We need to beat the Vikings to have any chance at all, and then Dallas comes to town, which is winnable because when we play the Cowgirls, you throw out the records.

New Orleans plays Philly in New Orleans, and I think the Saints will get it done in that game. Then they go to Chicago, and I think they'll win that too, but im holding out hope.

Minnesota takes on Washington, and if the Skins win then they'll hold the tiebreak should both teams finish 8-8. After that, the Vikings travel to Denver, who nobody can figure out so its impossible to know who wins that.

The Giants play at Buffalo and home against New England, both very loseable games. If they lose out and Washington wins out, I dont know who has the tiebreak between those two. Is it conference record after head-to-head, or do they go to margin of victory?

Anyway, Go Skins!!

i'll go ahead and call it,

Washington 35

Dallas 7

Dallas goes in to the playoffs 12-4

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It'll be a sad day if an 8-8 team makes the playoffs, even if it's the Saints. If you don't have a winning record, you should be going home.

P.S. Go Redskins! :D

Technically, an 8-8 record IS considered a "winning" record...even if it's only by virtue of the fact that the quotient does not yield a number below 50%. :P

But yeah...that any team could skate into the playoffs with such a mediocre record--and to have more than just ONE at that level--is saying something about the quality of play in the NFC in general. And it ain't good.

BUT...since you my dog, I'll bite down and say it along with you (bear in mind that my formative years of football fandom were spent following the Cowboys):

GO REDSKINS!!!

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Since the 16 game schedule came into effect in 1978, these teams have made it in with 8-8 records:

2006 - N-Y Giants

2004 - Minnesota and St. Louis (both of whom won their 1st round games)

1999 - Cowboys and Lions

1991 - Jets

1990 - Saints

1985 - Browns (won their division with this record, in fact)

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Just to make sure to cover all NFC teams here in the jumbled WC hunt.

First off, Washington has the tiebreaker over the Giants should the two teams finish 9-7, due to a better record in common games (8-6 versus 7-7).

Should the Saints and Panthers both finish 8-8, then the Panthers would own the tiebreaker, due to a better record in conference (8-4 versus 7-5).

In terms of two team ties across division lines: WAS over MIN (H2H), NO over WAS (Conf), MIN over NYG (H2H), NO over NYG (Conf).

If there is a three way tie for a single playoff berth at 9-7 (MIN/WAS/NO), then the Saints get in on a better conference record (8-4 to Washington's 7-5 and Minnesota's 6-6.)

If there is a three way tie for two playoff berths at 9-7 (WAS/NYG/MIN or WAS/NYG/NO or NYG/MIN/NO), then the Giants are eliminated on either common games with the Redskins (after New Orleans gets in over Washington on conference record) or by head-to-head against the Vikings (after Washington gets in over Minnesota on head-to-head or after New Orleans gets in over both the Giants and Vikings on conference record.)

If there is a four-way tie for two playoff berths at 9-7 (WAS/NYG/MIN/NO), then the Saints would get in first due to conference record, and then the Redskins would get in via head-to-head against Minnesota.

If there is a three-way tie for one playoff berth at 8-8 (MIN/WAS/NO), then the Saints get in on a better conference record (7-5 to Washington's and Minnesota's 6-6.) If there's a three-way tie for one playoff berth at 8-8 (MIN/WAS/CAR), then the Panthers would get in on a better conference record (8-4 to Washington's and Minnesota's 6-6.)

If there is a four-way tie for one playoff berth at 8-8 (MIN/WAS/NO/CAR), then the Panthers get in on a better conference record (8-4 to Washington's and Minnesota's 6-6.)

I think I covered everything there...

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Does the Jet Propulsion Laboratory know you're using their supercomputers on the side? :D

Well, the Saints have been so inconsistent and the Vikings so hot that I sure don't have my hopes up. But...what would be sweeter than the planets lining up so the Saints get in with a revenge victory over the Bears in Chicago the last week of the season? Hey, a guy can dream. B)

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Predictions for how it will end during Week 17:

AFC

1. New England (16-0) - beat Giants

2. Indianapolis (13-3) - lose to Titans

3. San Diego (11-5) - beat Raiders (will beat Broncos tonight)

4. Pittsburgh (11-5) - beat Ravens

5. Jacksonville (11-5) - lose to Texans

6. Tennessee (10-6) - beat Colts

Outside looking in:

7. Cleveland (10-6) - beat 49ers

8. Houston (8-8) - beat Jaguars

9. Buffalo (7-9) - lose to Eagles

10. Denver (6-10) - lose to Vikings (will lose to Chargers tonight)

11. Cincinnati (6-10) - lose to Dolphins

12. N.Y. Jets (4-12) - beat Chiefs

13. Oakland (4-12) - lose to Chargers

14. Kansas City (4-12) - lose to Jets

15. Baltimore (4-12) - lose to Steelers

16. Miami (2-14) - beat Bengals

NFC

1. Dallas (13-3) - lose to Redskins

2. Green Bay (13-3) - beat Lions

3. Seattle (10-6) - lose to Falcons

4. Tampa Bay (9-7) - lose to Panthers

5. N.Y. Giants (10-6) - lose to Patriots

6. Washington (9-7) - beat Cowboys

Outside looking in:

7. Minnesota (9-7) - beat Broncos

8. Philadelphia (8-8) - beat Bills

9. Arizona (8-8) - beat Rams

10. Carolina (7-9) - beat Buccaneers

11. New Orleans (7-9) - lose to Bears

12. Detroit (7-9) - lose to Packers

13. Chicago (7-9) - beat Saints

14. San Francisco (5-11) - lose to Browns

15. Atlanta (4-12) - beat Seahawks

16. St. Louis (3-13) - lose to Cardinals

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Predictions for how it will end during Week 17:

AFC

1. New England (16-0) - beat Giants

2. Indianapolis (13-3) - lose to Titans

3. San Diego (11-5) - beat Raiders (will beat Broncos tonight)

4. Pittsburgh (11-5) - beat Ravens

5. Jacksonville (11-5) - lose to Texans

6. Tennessee (10-6) - beat Colts

Outside looking in:

7. Cleveland (10-6) - beat 49ers

I believe the Browns still have the inside track over the Titans, meaning if they win, they are in. Tennessee would need a win AND a Browns loss to get in.

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Predictions for how it will end during Week 17:

AFC

1. New England (16-0) - beat Giants

2. Indianapolis (13-3) - lose to Titans

3. San Diego (11-5) - beat Raiders (will beat Broncos tonight)

4. Pittsburgh (11-5) - beat Ravens

5. Jacksonville (11-5) - lose to Texans

6. Tennessee (10-6) - beat Colts

Outside looking in:

7. Cleveland (10-6) - beat 49ers

I believe the Browns still have the inside track over the Titans, meaning if they win, they are in. Tennessee would need a win AND a Browns loss to get in.

Nope, Tennessee now has the inside track according to ESPN.com from what I heard on NBC. Thats why the Titans game for Week 17 has been moved to Sunday Night Football, its now that important. They win and they're in. Cleveland now needs to win the Titans to lose to get in.

Playoff Picture from ESPN.com:

Tennessee (9-6): The Titans are in the driver's seat for the final AFC spot, but they'll need to beat the defending Super Bowl champs in the season finale (or hope for a Browns loss). Final game: at Colts.

Cleveland (9-6): The Browns blew their chance to clinch by losing to the Bengals and now must have help from the Colts (who need to beat the Titans) to make the playoffs. Final game: vs. 49ers.

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Predictions for how it will end during Week 17:

AFC

1. New England (16-0) - beat Giants

2. Indianapolis (13-3) - lose to Titans

3. San Diego (11-5) - beat Raiders (will beat Broncos tonight)

4. Pittsburgh (11-5) - beat Ravens

5. Jacksonville (11-5) - lose to Texans

6. Tennessee (10-6) - beat Colts

Outside looking in:

7. Cleveland (10-6) - beat 49ers

I believe the Browns still have the inside track over the Titans, meaning if they win, they are in. Tennessee would need a win AND a Browns loss to get in.

Nope, Tennessee now has the inside track according to ESPN.com from what I heard on NBC. Thats why the Titans game for Week 17 has been moved to Sunday Night Football, its now that important. They win and they're in. Cleveland now needs to win the Titans to lose to get in.

Playoff Picture from ESPN.com:

Tennessee (9-6): The Titans are in the driver's seat for the final AFC spot, but they'll need to beat the defending Super Bowl champs in the season finale (or hope for a Browns loss). Final game: at Colts.

Cleveland (9-6): The Browns blew their chance to clinch by losing to the Bengals and now must have help from the Colts (who need to beat the Titans) to make the playoffs. Final game: vs. 49ers.

I checked out the NFL tiebreakers and if Tennessee beats Indy, they'll be 9-6 and tied with the Browns if the beat the Niners. The next tiebreaker is conference record, the Browns currently own a .5 game lead. Meaning if both teams lose, the Browns win that tiebreaker, but if the Titans beat the Colts the conference record will be tied. The next tiebreaker is record against common opponents, which I'm assuming the Titans lead, since several sources are saying that they will be in the playoffs if both teams win. Basically, the Browns have no control anymore what happens; Titans win they're in, lose they're out.

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Yeah, It doesn't matter what Cleveland does next week, it's all on the Titans. if Tennessee beats the Colts then they are in no matter what. If Tennessee loses to the Colts then Cleveland is in no matter what.
Yep. Tennessee would have the Browns on common opponents (4-1 to 3-2) if they both won... Cleveland would have the Titans on conference record (7-5 to 6-6) if they both lost. Now, if Tennessee somehow played to a draw, then it would matter what the Browns did. (That said, a Browns draw and a Titans draw favors the Browns.)
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Predictions for how it will end during Week 17:

AFC

1. New England (16-0) - beat Giants

2. Indianapolis (13-3) - lose to Titans

3. San Diego (11-5) - beat Raiders (will beat Broncos tonight)

4. Pittsburgh (11-5) - beat Ravens

5. Jacksonville (11-5) - lose to Texans

6. Tennessee (10-6) - beat Colts

Outside looking in:

7. Cleveland (10-6) - beat 49ers

I believe the Browns still have the inside track over the Titans, meaning if they win, they are in. Tennessee would need a win AND a Browns loss to get in.

Nope, Tennessee now has the inside track according to ESPN.com from what I heard on NBC. Thats why the Titans game for Week 17 has been moved to Sunday Night Football, its now that important. They win and they're in. Cleveland now needs to win the Titans to lose to get in.

Playoff Picture from ESPN.com:

Tennessee (9-6): The Titans are in the driver's seat for the final AFC spot, but they'll need to beat the defending Super Bowl champs in the season finale (or hope for a Browns loss). Final game: at Colts.

Cleveland (9-6): The Browns blew their chance to clinch by losing to the Bengals and now must have help from the Colts (who need to beat the Titans) to make the playoffs. Final game: vs. 49ers.

You are correct, sir. I incorrectly thought that since the Browns currently own the tiebreaker and are right now technically ahead of the Titans, that they are in the driver's seat. I don't think I've ever seen something like that before though; the current 6th seed has it's fate determined by a lower seed, in this case, the 7th seed.

Thanks for clearing it up for me.

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