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NFL Champions League - Congrats 49ers! 2013 Champions League Title

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This is probably the worst matchup of the Champions League era. Both teams had high hopes for this season, but like their Champions League companion Texans, they are now fighting for the number one pick in the 2014 draft. Barring a tie, one of these teams will end the season with at least one CL victory.

It's light this week, but next week sees three CL games to close out the CL regular season.

Up next, the previously promised Best Teams to Never Win the Title...

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A couple of teams have been frequent Champions League participants and winners over the years, but have failed to win a title. The two teams topping this list are the Packers and Chargers. The Chargers have finished second twice but have otherwise languished in the middle of the pack most years. The Packers also fumble around mid-table most seasons, but were one of the five teams who finished in a first place tie in the first CL season of 2003, but lost the tiebreaker to the Eagles. This year they still have a chance to win their first title, but they'll need some help, as both the 49ers and Patriots must lose in week 15 to drop all three teams into a regular season tie, necessitating a look ahead to the NFL playoffs for any potential CL matchups.

Up next, the second-tier Champions...

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That's the beauty of this concept.

In the late part of a season, it could turn a meaningless game into a match with some interest.

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It was a surprisingly exciting game for what ultimately didn't have any bearing on either the NFL or Champions League. Atlanta moves up from their tie at the bottom of the table thanks to the Redskins failed 2 point conversion at the end of their game. This closes out Washington's CL campaign at 0-4, and chances are, we won't see them back here again for a few seasons. Atlanta finishes up next week with the 49ers.

Also this week, we welcome 2014's first official NFL Champions League participant, the Indianapolis Colts who wrapped up their division with a decisive win over last year's CL representative, the Houston Texans.

Up next... more of the all-time standings.

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All three of these teams have titles, but haven't had a lot of staying power in the Champions League over the years, which puts them in the second tier of champions. Things are looking up for Seattle and Philadelphia, as they are both in line to make a return to the NFL Champions League in 2014 if they can hold on to their division leads.

Up next... the teams who did nothing in their only CL appearances...

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There have been three teams who had one shining moment of Champions League glory and didn't do anything with that moment. Came and went and haven't really threatened to return since. Cincinnati could buck the trend this year if they can hold off the charging Ravens. Miami might be ready to step up NEXT year. But St. Louis has the rotten luck of being in the same division as the two powerhouse teams of the NFC, so it could be a while before the Rams even sniff the Champions League again.

Up next... the teams that the OTHER teams beat to rack up CL points.

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These teams have paid a few visits to the Champions League, but are generally just good enough to hang around the middle of the table and accumulate enough points to not be the worst teams. But more than anything, they provide one or two victories each year for the team that eventually does win the CL. Thanks, guys!

Up next, eight is apparently enough...

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For whatever reason, a whole bunch of teams decided to hit eight points and they sit back and relax. Atlanta was one of this group until last week when they decided to beat Washington. None of these teams are in the CL at the moment, so they'll get to stay the Crazy 8's until at least next season, when maybe New Orleans, Dallas and Kansas City might get to move on.

Up next... everyone else!

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Finally, the rest of the teams. Their accumulation of a few points is solid proof that they did indeed participate in the NFL Champions League at some point. Good luck in the future.

Up next, a preview of the final regular season week of the 2013 NFL Champions League season.

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It's essentially a knockout game this week as both the Falcons and Packers look to avoid their second Champions League loss of the season. With the 49ers and Patriots already both at three victories on the season, the only chance any of the remaining one-loss teams (Packers, Falcons, Broncos) have is to win out and hope that both San Francisco and New England falter in their final game, and then pray for favorable tiebreakers.

In the event of a CL points tie, the first tiebreaker wouldn't come until potentially the Super Bowl, if the Patriots or Broncos end up facing the 49ers. Barring that, it's total CL playoff points accumulated, then head-to-head CL regular season, then points differential. There's still argument that using the NFL playoffs as a tiebreaker is unfair because all CL teams aren't guaranteed equal chances at getting to play against another CL team. In fact, there have been two seasons where there were zero CL matchups in the NFL playoffs. The argument in favor of it is that it maintains excitement all through the NFL playoffs, as anticipation builds for potential CL matchups, and rewarding any team that happens to face the daunting task of defeating even more CL opponents than anyone else. The rules might be altered down the line, but for 2013, this remains the format.

Up next.... 2013 Week 14 results.

This whole thing is fantastic. Great research done here to go back and get the historical information.

One problem I have with this though......the image above uses a CFL field in the background, hence the 2 50 yard lines.

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One problem I have with this though......the image above uses a CFL field in the background, hence the 2 50 yard lines.

Umm... that's what makes the NFL Champions League so great?

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One problem I have with this though......the image above uses a CFL field in the background, hence the 2 50 yard lines.

Umm... that's what makes the NFL Champions League so great?

LOL!

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Here we are, in the final week of the NFL Champions League regular season 2013! Next week is all divisional games, so anything that would qualify as a CL game ends this week. Amazingly, there's still a huge variety of options in play, with half of the teams still in contention for the title.

In order, the 49ers and Patriots each still have a chance to finish undefeated for the season and tied going into the NFL playoffs. The 49ers play the Falcons on Monday night, so the ultimate results for this season will go down to the last game. Should either San Francisco or New England win while the other loses, then the title will be decided in the regular season. The Patriots take on the hard-charging Ravens who lost a close game to the Packers early in the season that is otherwise the difference in them contending for the title.

As the Packers already finished the season with a 3-1 record, they need both the 49ers and Patriots to lose in order to finish in a 3-way tie for first, and having a chance to accumulate some more CL points in the NFL playoffs.

Finally, the Broncos need to first beat the non-achieving Texans to finish at 3-1, and then hope for the 49ers and Patriots to lose, resulting in a four-way tie.

At the moment six of the eight CL teams are still in contention for the NFL playoffs, so the opportunity for several CL matchups which would be used as the first step in determining the 2013 title.

Good luck, Broncos!

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First game is in the books, and the Broncos close out their 2013 NFL Champions League regular season with a victory. They finish at 3-1, tied with the Packers for lead in the clubhouse. Next up is Baltimore vs New England. A Patriots victory gives them an undefeated CL season and the needing only to wait on the outcome of 49ers-Falcons to see if they can win their record fourth Champions League title.

Additionally, we added two more participants to the 2014 Champions League, as both the Patriots and Broncos clinched their divisions this afternoon.

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Update! The New England Patriots defeat the Baltimore Ravens to finish the 2013 season at 4-0, and at worst finishing tied for the Champions League league in the regular season. It all comes down to 49ers and Falcons tomorrow night. A Falcons win gives the 2013 title to the Patriots outright. A 49ers win and we look ahead to the NFL playoffs to break the tie.

Also, by virtue of the Ravens' loss, the Cincinnati Bengals clinch their division and make their first return to the NFL Champions League since 2010.

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This is great, DP. Will you be making logos/helmets for teams w/o a Champions League title, sorta like a "What-If?"

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So it comes down to this game. Niners need to win to stay alive in the Champions League. Interestingly, the 49ers and the Patriots are the only 2 Champions League teams to play both the Falcons and the Texans, which explains their dominance.

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So it comes down to this game. Niners need to win to stay alive in the Champions League. Interestingly, the 49ers and the Patriots are the only 2 Champions League teams to play both the Falcons and the Texans, which explains their dominance.

Very true. That's my one regret about the Champions League, is that every team doesn't get to play each other every season. But in all honesty, who could have predicted that the Texans and Falcons would be so terrible. For the record, I predicted that the Redskins would not be returning to the playoffs. But I had the Texans in the AFC championship game, losing to the Broncos.

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It's not over yet! The 49ers pull off a dramatic victory against the Falcons to close out their 2013 Champions League season at 4-0, tying them with the New England Patriots for the regular season final lead. So what happens next?

Next we go to tie-breakers. In the Champions League, a premium is placed first on any games played between CL teams, be it regular season or NFL playoffs.

FIRST tie-breaker is head-to-head in the NFL playoffs. In this case, the Patriots and 49ers would have to play each other in the Super Bowl for this eventuality to decide the 2013 title.

SECOND tiebreaker is accumulated CL points from NFL Playoff games. While many teams complain that it's not fair to those teams that get a first-round bye, as they have one fewer game to accumulate points, the reasoning is that if you face and defeat CL teams in the NFL playoffs that has a distinct value. It shows you are able to continue to beat the best of the best. The most points a team could accumulate in the NFL playoffs is 8 if they play all four rounds including the wildcard round. To this point, the most CL playoff points ever accumulated was 6, by the Ravens last season.

THIRD tiebreaker is CL points differential in the regular season. If it gets to this tiebreaker, the 49ers would claim the 2013 title based on a 68 Point Differential (129-61) vs the Patriots 47 Point Differential (139-92). Interestingly, the Broncos, despite their record-breaking season would still finish behind the 49ers in points differential, with 67 (162-95). Proving they deserved to be in the Champions League, all three of these teams put up monster scores in 2013, with San Francisco posting the lowest single-game score at 27 points.

FOURTH tiebreaker is CL points differential in the NFL playoffs.

If it is still tied at this point, a Shared Title would be declared.

Looking ahead to the NFL playoffs, a lot is still up in the air as far as CL teams. In the AFC, the Broncos and Patriots are already in, with the Ravens needing some help to secure the final wildcard. In the NFC, the 49ers are in, with only the Packers having a chance to make it in if they can defeat the Bears and win the NFC North title next weekend. If the Ravens make it in, then the odds tip in New England's favor as they would have three potential CL games, where the 49ers can have a maximum of two CL games, even if the Packers make it.

The first potential CL playoff game won't be until two weeks from now and could only be a Packers-49ers matchup in the wildcard round.

Up next... The All-time Standings, Playoff Points edition.

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