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NFL 2010-11 Playoff Scenarios: Week 14

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NFL 2010-11 Playoff Scenarios

The NFL Playoff picture got a little clearer after Week 13 where we saw the Falcons, Bears, Steelers, Chiefs and Patriots all step forward moving closer to securing playoff spots while the Ravens, Chargers, Jets and Bucs all miss out on golden opportunities.

With ¼ of the season still left to play, only five teams have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. That number is expected to rise considerably after week 14.

afc

Seed Team AFC DIVISION LEADERS Record Remaining Opponents
1 East 10-2-0 @ Bears (9-3), vs. Packers (8-4), at Bills (2-10), vs. Dolphins (6-6)
New England Patriots - With their shellacking of the Jets, the Patriots set themselves up for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They have the tiebreaker edge on the Jets, Steelers and Ravens and control their destiny for the AFC # 1 seed.
         
2 North 9-3-0 vs. Bengals (2-10), vs. Jets (9-3), vs. Panthers (1-11), @ Browns (5-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers - Pittsburgh has a one-game lead in the division with four games left to play. They've split of the season series with the Ravens and have three games remaining with non, contenting teams totaling eight victories. For Pittsburgh, it's now all about positioning.
         
3 West 8-4-0 @ Chargers (6-6), @ Rams (6-6), vs. Titans (5-7), vs. Raiders (6-6)
Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs have two more games left with the teams trying to catch them in the division and can put at least one nail in the coffin with a win in San Diego on Sunday.
         
4 South 7-5-0 vs. Raiders (6-6), @ Colts (6-6), vs. Redskins (5-7), @ Texans (5-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars control their own destiny here and will have a chance to personally eliminate two of their three competitors for the AFC South which is still very much up for grabs. Note - Although their schedule doesn't appear that daunting, their two division games are on the road.
    AFC WILD CARD SPOTS     
5 East 9-3-0 vs. Dolphins (6-6), @ Steelers (9-3), @ Bears (9-3), vs. Bills (2-10)
New York Jets - The debacle in New England on Monday night means that the Jets will now need help to win the AFC East. Otherwise, they will have to overcome a tough schedule to maintain the 5th because the No. 6 Ravens own the tiebreaker with them.
         
6 North 8-4-0 @ Texans (5-7), vs. Saints (9-3), @ Browns (5-7), vs. Bengals (2-10)
Baltimore Ravens - The loss to the Steelers was similar to the Jets loss to the Patriots (except they didn't leave the field giving the impression that they couldn't compete. The Ravens still own a commanding two-game lead in the race for the No. 6 seed and would have to almost completely fold against a very favorable schedule to end up missing the playoffs.
    AFC OUTSIDE LOOKING IN    
7 West 6-6-0 @ Jaguars (7-5), vs. Broncos (3-9), vs. Colts (6-6), @ Chiefs (8-4)
Oakland Raiders - The Raiders are two games back in the AFC West with four to play. A Wild Card berth doesn't seem likely for the silver & black and given that they are 4-0 in the division, winning it might be their best shot at the playoffs. They finish the season at the Chiefs, who they've already beaten in the teams' first matchup.
         
8 West 6-6-0 vs. Chiefs (8-4), vs. 49ers (4-8), @ Bengals (2-10), @ Broncos (3-9)
San Diego Chargers - Before the loss to the Raiders, the Chargers were on a tear with their sights on their Week 14 matchup against the Chiefs. Everyone assumed that their December streak would continue and that they would simply win out. San Diego is going to need some help here as even winning out now and finishing with> 10 wins does not guarantee them a playoff spot. They can put some heat on the Chiefs with a win this week.
         
9 South 6-6-0 @ Titans (5-7), vs. Jaguars (7-5), @ Raiders (6-6), vs. Titans (5-7)
Indianapolis Colts - With only only one above-.500 opponent left the Colts don't exactly have the toughest schedule left. The question is, can they get enough people health down the stretch to effectively play and or will the replacements, now with some experience under their belt, be able to get the job done. One look a Peyton Manning's 11 INT's in the past three games is all you need to see that he's is trying to make plays and do it all himself. Hey, even Peyton can't do it alone.
         
10 East 6-6-0 @ Jets (9-3), vs. Bills (2-10), vs. Lions (2-10), @ Patriots (10-2)
Miami Dolphins - Last Weeks loss to the Browns all but did the Dolphins in. They now go into the final four games at 6-6 with sub-.500 marks in the division and conference. Miami will need to win out and get help to even have a shot.
         
11 South 5-7-0 vs. Ravens (8-4), @ Titans (5-7), @ Broncos (3-9), vs. Jaguars (7-5)
Houston Texans - 5-7 doesn't look like much but in the AFC South, anything is possible this year. If Houston could put a little streak together, perhaps the season finale vs. Jacksonville may have some meaning.
         
12 North 5-7-0 @ Bills (2-10), @ Bengals (2-10), vs. Ravens (8-4), vs Steelers (9-6)
Cleveland Browns - The Browns should be able to get to 7-7 but even if they run the table they still need a handful of unlikely things to happen. The most logical scenario has them winning the next two weeks by being eliminated in the process. 
         
13 South 5-7-0 vs. Colts (6-6), vs. Texans (5-7), @ Chiefs (8-4), @ Colts (6-6)
Tennessee Titans - Ok, so the whole dam AFC South is technically still alive. You could look at this two ways I guess. 1) How seriously can you take the playoff prospects of a team on a five-game losing streak? 2) Even without Vince Young, this team has playoff caliber talent and they are due to start winning.
    ELIMINATED AFC TEAMS    
14 West 3-9-0 Who cares who they play, they are out.
Denver Broncos - Step 1, Find a coach. Step 2, Figure out out what you are going to do with Tim Tebow. Step 3, Figure out a way to claim Josh McDaniels was insane and sue to get back Peyton Hillis and Brandon Marshall.
         
15 East 2-10-0 Who cares who they play, they are out.
Buffalo Bills - Step 1, Find some players that can play defense. Step 2, Find a coach who can coach defense. Step 3, Find some more players who can play defense.
         
16 East 2-10-0 Who cares who they play, they are out.
Cincinnati Bengals - Step 1, Clean house and get a new roster of players. Step 2, Clean house and get a new roster of coaches.

nfc

Seed Team NFC DIVISION LEADERS Record Remaining Opponents
1 South 10-2-0 @ Panthers (1-11), @ Seahawks (6-6), vs. Saints (9-3), vs. Panthers (1-11)
Atlanta Falcons - With two games remaining against the Panthers it's now all about home field positioning. It's looking more and more like the NFC path to the Super Bowl will go through Atlanta.
         
2 North 9-3-0 vs. Patriots (10-2), @ Vikings (5-7), vs. Jets (9-3), @ Packers (8-4)
Chicago Bears - The Bears have a brutal schedule to close out the season with three of their final four games against opponents with a combined 26-8 record and an always tough divisional game against the Vikings who everyone knows is much more talented then their record shows. The Bears are just a game in front of the Packers and the season finale at Green Bay could determine NFC North winner.
         
3 East 8-4-0 @ Cowboys (4-8), @ Giants (8-4), vs. Vikings (5-7), vs. Cowboys (4-8)
Philadelphia Eagles - With only one remaining opponent above .500 the Eagles are certainly thinking playoffs. The Week 15 at the Giants could very well determine the NFC East. They need to be careful not to take anything for granted however as the Cowboys who they play twice and the Vikings are playing much better since their coaching changes then their overall records suggest.
         
4 West 6-6-0 @ Saints (9-3), vs. Chiefs (8-4), vs. 49ers (4-8), @ Seahawks (6-6)
St. Louis Rams - The Rams are 2-2 in the division after beating Arizona, and 6-6 overall however they are tied with Seattle for the division lead. They've already beaten the Seahawks once and if they mind their p's and q's, there is a good chance that a sweep in the season finale would likely give them their first playoff berth since 2003.
    NFC WILD CARD SPOTS     
5 South 9-3-0 vs. Rams (6-6), at Ravens (8-4), at Falcons (10-2), vs. Buccaneers (7-5)
New Orleans Saints - The Saints are on a five game winning streak but their schedule is pretty tough down the stretch. There is a possibility that the NFC South could be up for grabs in Week 16 at Atlanta (who won the teams' first matchup.) If they want to keep the pressure on Atlanta they need to keep winning.
         
6 East 8-4-0 @ Vikings (5-7), vs. Eagles (8-4), @ Packers (8-4), @ Redskins (5-7)
New York Giants - After losing to the Eagles in Week 16,their upcoming two game stretch against the Eagles and Packers is HUGE. The Giants may not be able to survive if they have a slip up against the Vikings or Redskins.
    NFC OUTSIDE LOOKING IN    
7 North 8-4-0 @ Jaguars (7-5), vs. Broncos (3-9), vs. Colts (6-6), @ Chiefs (8-4)
Green Bay Packers - The Packers' final three opponents are against division leaders who have a combined 26-9 record play this weeks game against a scrappy Detroit team who always seems to be in games at home. Circle the season finale vs. Chicago as that could be an all or nothing game.
         
8 South 7-5-0 @ Redskins (5-7), vs. Lions (2-10), vs. Seahawks (6-6), @ Saints (9-3)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ouch, that was a tough one against Atlanta. A win last week would have put them right in the thick of things in the NFC South. As it is now, the Bucs ate three games back, having been swept by Atlanta and down 1-0 to New Orleans. This young team has been a pleasant surprise this year, but with two elite teams in their division, it looks like no cigar.
         
9 West 6-6-0 @ 49ers (4-8), vs. Falcons (10-2), @ Buccaneers (7-5), vs. Rams (6-6)
Seattle Seahawks - Seattle isn't any good but they play in the NFC West, the worst division in the NFL. The Seahawks are tied for the division lead, but may find themselves as underdogs in their remaining four games. At this point, if you told the Seahawks that at 7-9 they woul dbe playing for the division title in St. Louis in the season finale, they would probably sign for that.
         
10 North 5-7-0 vs Giants (8-4), vs. Bears (9-3), @ Eagles (8-4), @ Lions (2-10)
Minnesota Vikings - It doesn't look like 9-7 will be enough to get it done but can't you just see the Vikings winning their last six games behind Favre and rumors starting that he will be coming back? Oh boy.....
         
11 East 5-7-0 vs. Buccaneers (7-5), @ Cowboys (4-8), @ Jaguars (7-5), vs. Giants (8-4)
Washington Redskins - At 5-7 the Redskins are not yet mathematically eliminated but they would have to run the table and hope for help. This team is rebuilding the Mike Shanahan was and to be honest didn't have that bad of a year for a transition year. Things will get better in Washington over time, not worse. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Washington.
         
12 East 4-8-0 vs. Eagles (8-4), vs. Redskins (5-7), @ Cardinals (3-9), @ Eagles (8-4)
Dallas Cowboys - Since the change in head coach Dallas has shown that it can compete and play fairly well. While Bum Phillips will never be mistaken for Vince Lombardi, the guy got a bum rap (no pun intended) as the players simply gave up on him. Don't expect huge changes in personnel as their is much talent to win already under contract going forward. Dallas still has to play the Eagles twice and will have a lot to say about the Eagles destiny.
         
13 West 4-8-0 vs. Seahawks (6-6), @ Chargers (6-6), @ Rams (6-6), vs. Cardinals (3-9)
San Francisco 49ers - At this point San Francisco can only hope to finish 8-8 and pray that both the Seahawks and Rams go in the crapper. After twelve games most people expected the 49ers to be 8-4, not 4-8. This team needs to figure out what they are doing out at the quarterback position and who their coach and leader will be going forward.
         
14 West 3-9-0 vs. Broncos, (3-9), @ Panthers (1-11), vs. Cowboys (4-8), @ 49ers (4-8)
Arizona Diamondbacks - If they can get Kurt Warner to come out of retirement, perhaps they can keep Larry Fitzgerald. Short of that, they guy isn't long for the desert. Mathematically they aren't eliminated yet, but it's just a formality.
    ELIMINATED NFC TEAMS    
15 North 2-10-0 Who cares who they play, they are out.
Detroit Lions - The Lions really don't have any choice other than to find out if Matthew Stafford can be the guy. It doesn't really matter how good he is or could be if he can't stay on the field. Detroit will be somewhere at the top of the draft board again this year. They'll take another great athlete and give it another shot next year. There really isn't any reason they should be a better than .500 team next year.
         
16 South 1-10-0 Who cares who they play, they are out.
Carolina Panthers - And the 1st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft is, Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford.... If anyone other than Bill Cowher is the Head coach of this team in 2011 it will be a surprise. He's been rumored to be waiting to be the next head coach for years, it's where he lives and apparently the job he's been waiting for.

NFL Tie-Breaking Procedures Explained

The NFL Tie-Breaking Procedures can be intimidating to some as beyond the obvious, it can become very complicated. Often the number of combinations and permutations of possible outcomes exceeds the amount of brain capacity that is worth spending on figuring the possible outcomes. After all,if we didn't know all this stuff we would just have to wait and see what happened and that wouldn't change the way anything turned out.

But for those of you who are curious and have to know who is in, who is out and what has to happen for their favorite team to make the playoffs I hereby present some bathroom reading to help you get a better understanding on how this all works.

The six postseason participants from each conference will be seeded as follows:

1. The division champion with the best record.

2. The division champion with the second-best record.

3. The division champion with the third-best record.

4. The division champion with the fourth-best record.

5. The Wild Card club with the best record.

6. The Wild Card club with the second-best record.

The following procedures will be used to break standings ties for postseason playoffs and to determine regular-season schedules.

NOTE: Tie games count as one-half win and one-half loss for both clubs.

TO BREAK A TIE WITHIN A DIVISION

If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.

Two Clubs

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.

4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

5. Strength of victory.

6. Strength of schedule.

7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.

8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.

9. Best net points in common games.

10. Best net points in all games.

11. Best net touchdowns in all games.

Three or More Clubs

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated during any step, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format).

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.

4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

5. Strength of victory.

6. Strength of schedule.

7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.

8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.

9. Best net points in common games.

10. Best net points in all games.

11. Best net touchdowns in all games.

TO BREAK A TIE FOR THE WILD-CARD TEAM OR AMONG DIVISION WINNERS

If it is necessary to break ties to determine the two Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.

1. If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tie breaker.

2. If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.

Two Clubs

1. Head-to-head, if applicable.

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.

4. Strength of victory.

5. Strength of schedule.

6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.

7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.

8. Best net points in conference games.

9. Best net points in all games.

10. Best net touchdowns in all games.

11. Coin toss.

Three or More Clubs

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.

2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.

5. Strength of victory.

6. Strength of schedule.

7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.

8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.

9. Best net points in conference games.

10. Best net points in all games.

11. Best net touchdowns in all games.

12. Coin toss

When the first Wild-Card team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second Wild-Card, i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. In situations where three or more teams from the same division are involved in the procedure, the original seeding of the teams remains the same for subsequent applications of the tie breaker if the top-ranked team in that division qualifies for a Wild-Card berth.

OTHER TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES

1. Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tie-breaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the applicable division or Wild-Card tie breakers. As an example, if two clubs remain tied in any tie-breaker step after all other clubs have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to step one of the two-club format to determine the winner. When one club wins the tie breaker, all other clubs revert to step 1 of the applicable two-club or three-club format.

2. In comparing division and conference records or records against common opponents among tied teams, the best won-lost-tied percentage is the deciding factor since teams may have played an unequal number of games.

3. To determine home-field priority among division titlists, apply Wild-Card tie breakers.

4. To determine home-field priority for Wild-Card qualifiers, apply division tie breakers (if teams are from the same division) or Wild-Card tie breakers (if teams are from different divisions).

TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURE FOR DRAFT

If two or more clubs are tied in the selection order, the strength-of-schedule tie breaker is applied, subject to the following exceptions for playoff clubs:

1. The Super Bowl winner is last and the Super Bowl loser next-to-last.

2. Any non-Super Bowl playoff club involved in a tie shall be assigned priority within its segment below that of non-playoff clubs and in the order that the playoff clubs exited from the playoffs. Thus, within a tied segment a playoff club that loses in the Wild-Card game will have priority over a playoff club