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WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

Posted on: December 28, 2009 5:23 pm
 

I have to say that dealing with the below scenarios last night, particularly DENVER that has 16 possible clinching scenarios if you include ties and 10 without ties to get in, was one of the toughest week 16 follow-up nights in memory.   Having 8 teams within one game of each other at either 8-7 or 7-8 and 7 of those teams still have a chance to clinch a Wild Card spot has certainly created some chaos among teams, media and fans.

It should be noted that although you will see current playoff standings listing DEN and Jets as Wild Card teams ( http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/standi
ngs/playoffrace
 ), only the JETS and Ravens actually control their own destiny to capture playoff spots.  This is because the Playoff Race page is listing results "If the Season Ended Today".  As it stands among the 8-7 teams, the tiebreaker between NYJ, BAL, HOU and DEN, which becomes NYJ, BAL and DEN after HOU drops out on conf record, they do not have enough games (need four) to qualify among their common opponents (NE, CIN, IND, OAK) as BAL has not played OAK yet and NYJ has not played CIN.  Detail below.  If they each win, you'll see below that NYJ would have the common opponents tiebreaker advantage at 4-1 vs. 3-2 for DEN and 1-4 for BAL.   After that...it would revert to BAL, HOU and DEN and HOU would drop out again on conf record and BAL beat DEN H2H to claim the #6 seed.

Common opponents for BAL DEN NYJ
BAL record against NE: 0/1 (0.000) (games left 0)
BAL record against CIN: 0/2 (0.000) (games left 0)
BAL record against IND: 0/1 (0.000) (games left 0)
BAL record against OAK: 0/0 (NaN) (games left 1)
BAL overall record: 0/4 (0.000)

DEN record against NE: 1/0 (1.000) (games left 0)
DEN record against CIN: 1/0 (1.000) (games left 0)
DEN record against IND: 0/1 (0.000) (games left 0)
DEN record against OAK: 1/1 (0.500) (games left 0)
DEN overall record: 3/2 (0.600)

NYJ record against NE: 1/1 (0.500) (games left 0)
NYJ record against CIN: 0/0 (NaN) (games left 1)
NYJ record against IND: 1/0 (1.000) (games left 0)
NYJ record against OAK: 1/0 (1.000) (games left 0)
NYJ overall record: 3/1 (0.750)


AFC

  CLINCHED:   Indianapolis -- South division and homefield advantage.
              San Diego -- West division and first-round bye.
              Cincinnati -- North division.
              New England -- East division.
  ELIMINATED: Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Buffalo, Tennessee.

Baltimore, the Jets, Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston can also make the playoffs
if they tie this week with various other things happening. Jacksonville and
Miami cannot make the playoffs with a tie.

 BALTIMORE RAVENS
  Baltimore clinches a playoff spot:
   1) BAL win

 NEW YORK JETS
  NY Jets clinch a playoff spot:
   1) NYJ win

 DENVER Broncos
  Denver clinches a playoff spot:
   1) DEN win + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie
   2) DEN win + NYJ loss or tie + PIT loss or tie
   3) DEN win + NYJ loss or tie + HOU win
   4) DEN win + BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie
   5) DEN win + BAL loss or tie + HOU win
   6) PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + JAC loss
   7) PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + NYJ loss
   8) PIT loss + BAL loss + JAC loss + NYJ loss
   9) PIT loss + HOU loss + JAC loss + NYJ loss
  10) MIA loss or tie + NYJ loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + JAC loss or tie

 PITTSBURGH Steelers
  Pittsburgh clinches a playoff spot:
   1) PIT win + HOU loss or tie + NYJ loss or tie
   2) PIT win + HOU loss or tie + BAL loss or tie
   3) PIT win + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

 HOUSTON Texans
  Houston clinches a playoff spot:
   1) HOU win + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie
   2) HOU win + NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie
   3) HOU win + BAL loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

 JACKSONVILLE Jaguars
  Jacksonville clinches a playoff spot:
   1) JAC win + PIT loss + BAL loss + DEN loss + HOU loss
   2) JAC win + PIT loss + BAL loss + DEN loss + NYJ loss
   3) JAC win + PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + NYJ loss
   4) JAC win + PIT loss + DEN loss + HOU loss + NYJ loss 
   5) JAC win + NYJ loss + DEN loss + HOU loss + BAL loss

 MIAMI Dolphins
  Miami clinches a playoff spot:
   1) MIA win + NYJ loss + BAL loss + HOU loss + JAC loss or tie

Comments

Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2010 4:44 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

I am not sure where I heard it but somoene suggested that they Just seed the teams 1-12 or (16, which I prefer) and do it that way and then the Saints  would have compteded against each other for home field!



Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2010 4:44 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

I am not sure where I heard it but somoene suggested that they Just seed the teams 1-12 or (16, which I prefer) and do it that way and then the Saints  would have compteded against each other for home field!



Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2010 4:36 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

I say use the 2 division pairing schedule.  I am trying to come up with something!



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2010 6:17 am
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

Wayne said...
Shoud they NFL adopt a 18 game schedule, they hopefully will PAIR(with the 2nd,3rd, or 4th place team) Wayne, I am interpreting this to mean...
Shoud the NFL adopt an 18 game schedule, they will hopefully PAIR the 1st place teams with the 2nd , 3rd, or 4th place teams from the other divisions (in addition to the 1st place teams they are already paired with). Am I interpreting you correctly?


In a related post in the NFC blog, Jeff said...If they do expand the schedule to 18 games, then I'd like to see it identical to the way it is now, but have all 1st place teams also have to play the 2nd place teams in addition to the 1st place teams that they already play.     
      
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;   Jeff      Wink

Jeff, Wayne, do you guys have any particular reasons for wanting the 18 game schedule this way? Personally, I happen to like the format suggested by Matt and Noob a lot better. I don't like the format you suggest because.....

There would be too much incentive for an eliminated team to finish in 3rd place instead of in 2nd place. Not only would a 3rd place team play two 3rd place teams instead of two 2nd place teams, but now it would also play two 4th place teams instead of two 1st place teams .

This is too much added incentive to finish in 3rd place instead of 2nd place. Think of Carolina and Atlanta this season. It would be the difference between playing Washington and Detroit next season, instead of Dallas and Minnesota. Not to mention the already noticeable difference between playing Chicago and the Giants, instead of Green Bay and Philadelphia.
If 1st and 3rd place teams play each other, and 2nd and 4th place teams play eachother, then it takes away the incentive mentioned above. However, it's overkill because now 2nd place teams get to play 4th place teams, while 3rd place teams get to play 1st place teams. - Not exactly fair to the 3rd place teams!

Matt's and Noob's suggestion (which I like better), is to have each division paired with 2 other divisions. The 14 conference games would consist of 6 games within the division, and 8 games against two other full divisions. One drawback to this idea is that last place teams will have the same schedule as 1st place teams. Another drawback is if, say NE and Ind win their divisions for three straight years, then there will be one year when they don't play each other. (The 2nd or 3rd of these years, or the year following these years).

What do you guys think? Is there another format we haven't considered?

I plan to consolidate all the 18 game schedule comments into one blog on my personal blog home. If I haven't done this yet, feel free to post on my "suggestions for topics" blog.

www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/view/18

999794

- Brett



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2010 5:16 am
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

 
Wayne - looks like you did a lot of really good thinking to figure these out. I think you left out a few cases though...let me see if I can fill in the gaps (below, #7, #8, #11, #13, and #14).

In addition to thinking in terms of paired and unpaired teams , it helps to think in terms of paired and unpaired divisions . Not thinking in terms of the latter might account for the missed cases.


2 minor corrections to the 4-way Wild Card ties:

1) For "4 paired teams" (below, #12) - it would be 5 common games, not 4.
2) "At least 1 unpaired team" does not guarantee zero common opponents. There are 3 distinct cases (below, #13, #14, and #15).


It's easier for me to think in terms of actual teams - so allow me to use the following framework: The 2009 AFC schedule based on the 2008 final AFC standings - but pretend that...
  • Mia and Ten also played Bal and Den.
  • NE and Ind also played Pit and SD.
  • NYJ and Hou also played Cle and KC.
  • Buf and Jac also played Cin and Oak.
This should give us the 18 games per team in the format that you've suggested.

For reference: Here is the final 2008 AFC Standings.
(2009 AFC schedule: East played South, and North played West).

East - North - South - West
Mia  - Pit    -  Ten   -  SD
NE   -  Bal   -  Ind   -  Den
NYJ  - Cin   -  Hou   -  Oak
Buf  - Cle   -  Jac    -  KC


A few notes on how to interpret the table below:
- Each example is just one of the many associated with the corresponding # of COMMON GAMES.
- COMMON GAMES exist between all pairs and groups of teams, whether or not the teams are tied.
- Frequencies describe how frequent the corresponding # of COMMON GAMES are.
- Frequencies do not describe how likely it is for pairs or groups of teams to be tied.


COMMON GAMES table for Wayne's proposed 18 game schedule:

Division:

 1) Mia-NE:                 
;     16 common games.                          frequency: 2/6 = 1/3.
 2) Mia-NYJ:         
;     &nbs
p;      12 common games.     
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;   frequency: 4/6 = 2/3.
 3) Mia-NE-NYJ:    
            10 common games.                          frequency: all 3-way ties.
 4) Mia-NE-NYJ-Buf:            8 common games.                          frequency: all 4-way ties.

Conference:

 5) Mia-Ten:           
;         13 common games.     
;              
;     &nbs
p; frequency:  16/96 = 1/6
 6) Mia-Hou:    &nb
sp;                 9 common games.                          frequency:  16/96 = 1/6
 7) Mia-Pit:    &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;             7 common games.     
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;         frequency:  32/96 = 2/6
 8) Mia-Cin:                   
;  10 common games.     
;                     frequency:  32/96 = 2/6

 9) Mia-Pit-Ten    
               6 common games.                         frequency:  64/256 = 1/4
10) Mia-Cin-Ten    
           10 common games.                          frequency:  64/256 = 1/4
11) Mia-Pit-Hou                Mia(4), Pit(3), Hou(5).                 
;     frequency: 128/256 = 2/4

12) Mia-Pit-Ten-SD   &nb
sp;        5 common games.     
;          
;           frequency:   32/256 = 1/8
13) Mia-Pit-Ten-Oak   &n
bsp;     Mia(3), Pit(4), Ten(3), Oak(5).          frequency: 128/256 = 4/8
14) Mia-Cin-Ten-Oak        10 common games.     
;                    frequency:   32/256 = 1/8
15) Mia-Pit-Hou-Oak           0 common games.     
;                    frequency:   64/256 = 2/8


Common opponents for selected examples:
Common opponents for   #7:   (NE, Bal, Ten, Ind, SD, Den)
Common opponents for   #8:   (NYJ, Buf, Pit, Bal, Hou, Jac, SD, Den)
Common opponents for #11:   (NE, Ten, Ind)
Common opponents for #12:   (NE, Bal, Ind, Den)
Common opponents for #13:   (Bal, SD, Den)
Common opponents for #14:   (NYJ, Buf, Pit, Bal, Hou, Jac, SD, Den)

Notes:
- If the teams are tied in #5, #6, and #7, the tiebreaking procedure would not reach the "common games" step...not unless the head-to-head game ended in a tie.
- With an 18 game schedule (with 2 added conference games), only one third of all conference 2-way ties will not have a head-to-head game.
- Currently, half of all 2-way conference ties do not have a head-to-head game.
- For 3-way and 4-way ties, it might be interesting to see the frequency of sweeps, side-by-side with the frequency of common games.

I could explain things in more detail but then this might be 3 pages long. If anyone has a question, ask.

If you want a "Common Games" table for the current 16 game schedule, let me know.





Since: Nov 20, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2010 10:09 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

Joe NFL said:

Matt and Wayne:

Joe indeed did write the current 8 year rotation back before the 2002 season and the NFL went from 31 to 32 teams.  Not sure exactly when Joe did write it.  By the way, when did you write this Joe?  As for a new cycle beginning in 2010, that's probably more true because it seems the NFL is going to add 2 games to the 16 game regular season schedule.  Joe acknowledged last year, in a reply to a post of mine, that for the TOTAL rotation of the current schedule to play out perfectly, then it would take a full 24 NFL seasons and that would run from 2002 until 2025.  The 8 year rotation from 2002 to 2009 guaranteed that every NFC team would play every AFC team at each other's stadiums.  Except for some strange instances where Katrina made the Saints' 2005 AFC home team opponents play outside the Superdome and the 2009 Tampa Bay home game vs. the Patriots being played in London.  There may have been a few other games this wy as well.  I don't remember right now.  If you want me to and even you don't want me to, I can show you how the schedule is supposed to play out from 2002 to 2025.  We know that this won't happen, but it is what would happen if the world never changed and the NFL kept things the way they've been since 2002.  Oh yeah, by the way, the reason the NFL did this 8 year rotation was because somehow the Tamp Bay Bucs had never been to Buffalo to play a game.  They've been in the league since 1976 and nary a game played in Buffalo.  That was rectified with this 8 year rotation plan when the finally went to Buffalo on Sept. 20th, 2009.  Week 2 of this season.  If things stay relatively like they are now, even with an 18 game schedule, then Tampa won't go to Buffalo-land again until 2017.     
      
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;     &
nbsp;     
  Jeff     &
nbsp;     
  Surprised

guys...it's all part of a formula for future schedules.  Home and Away is included to guarantee equitable distribution of teams among stadiums over time.

original one i wrote for 32-teams ended with 2009 season...it was an 8-year rotation from 2002-2009.  2010 starts new cycle.




Since: Dec 17, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2010 8:48 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

Brett:

I have the common games breakdown in the Calm before the Storm Blog:  Dated Dec 11,2009
Shoud they NFL adopt a 18 game schedule, they hopefully will PAIR(with the 2nd,3rd, or 4th place team)

Division Opponents:
2 Teams paired 16 games: 4 division, 4 vs division where they play all opponents, 2 each for the division where they currently only play 1 opponent, 4 other conference

2 teams NOT paired 12 game  (NO CHANGE)
3 teams     10 games(NO CHANGE)
4 teams     
  8 games(NO CHANGE)


Wild CARD
2 teams where the play all teams in another division

PAIRED: 13 games: 6 divisional, 3 Playing all opponents in another division, 2 each for the divisions where currently playing 1 opponent 

2 NON-Paired team  9 games (NO CHANGE:   6 divisional 3 play all opponents in another division  NONE with currently playing single opponent


3 Teams tied:

3 PAIRED: 6 games   2 divisional  2(1 each with tied divisions  2 not tied division


2 PAIRED and 1 NON-PAIRED team  10 games   4 divisional  4 (2 each with tied division  2 untied division


NOTE: It is impossible to not a least 1 being paired

4 Team tied

4 PAIRED Teams  4 games(i.e. 1st place clubs also playing 2nd place club wich is paired


NOTE: at least 1 unpaired team   ZERO 






Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2010 5:10 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

nflrules aleady discussed why the 1-team per division for the tie-break was instituted: it was so a third-place team in a division would not get a WC over the second place team. This almost happened in 1990/1 when 3 WC spots began to be awarded ,so the rule was changed then. No other reason.

The biggest weakness with SoV, is that it involves the outcomes of games that had nothing to do with the tied teams.


At least H2H, common games and record vs division/conference use only games that teams actually particiapated in. In the past (net points in common games and division/conference games have had higher priority than they do now. While this has the advantage that the involve only games that the tems in questuion played in, the league clearly felt that this gave way to running up scores, and also made it difficult to 'officially' eliminate teams, even if they required a point swing in triple-digits.

So SoV and SoS were move up the food chain for those reasons.

Remember that the tie-breakers are not really there to determine which was the better team, no more thana shoot-out decides the better team in Soccer. They are merely there to break a tie.

All NFLers will tell you that the way to win a tie-break is to win one wmore game than everybody else.




Since: Dec 26, 2009
Posted on: January 5, 2010 12:33 pm
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues

I believe the reason for selecting one Wild Card team at a time is so that head-to-head games become important in more situations. By selecting one Wild Card team at a time, it allows for a potential head-to-head game between Baltimore and Houston to decide which team is the 2nd Wild Card team.
I'd say the reason is to give a team ranked 3rd in a tough division a chance to make the playoffs in a three way tie. Assume that this regular season (in a parallel universe) only BAL, DEN and PIT have finished 9-7. (NYJ and HOU have lost in week 17.)

Under the current format to earn #5 seed, BAL would have eliminated PIT within the division and would have eliminited DEN on H2H. Then to earn #6 seed, PIT would have eliminated DEN on H2H.

If both wildcard were selected in a single step, then DEN would get #6 seed, as PIT was elinimated in an earlier step.



Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2010 12:01 am
 

WEEK 17 AFC SCENARIOS - Chaos continues


Ryan,
Like the Bills play @ Bal and @ Cin and so does Miami, but the Jets and Patriots play opposite.  Why is it like that? If every East team played at Bal and at Cin, and played home games against Pit and Cle, then Bal and Cin would have 4 home games against East teams while Pit and Cle would have 4 away games against East teams. This would be more unbalanced in the North than the current imbalance in the East (and North). It's a mix like this for every division to ensure that all teams have 8 home games and 8 away games.

Also in this example the Bills play Home vs. the AFC South Opponent from 2008-2011.  Why 4 years in a row? The Bills played every AFC South team in 2009. I agree though, that the Bills should alternate home and away with their AFC South opponent in 2010 and 2011 - this would be ideal if it happens to be the same AFC South team. I'm not sure why this isn't already the case - maybe thenflrules has an answer.

I know there is also trouble seeing there are 6 divisions in 8 years so there will be repeats.
I don't think this causes any trouble. On first glance it seems strange to have an 8-year cycle, but I'm pretty sure that the 1st year of the cycle had the Bills playing the West since they were due to play the West anyway. The 8-year cycle for the Bills and the East: West, South, North, West, South, North, West, South. The reason for 8 years is so that every AFC team would play every NFC team twice - once at home and once away.

Also, why do they reseed after one is knocked out.  For example, say NYJ, Hou, and Bal are 9-7.  NYJ in coference 7-5, Hou 6-6, Bal 5-7.  Normal Seeding would be NYJ 1st and then Hou and Bal face off, but I think that it should just be 1,2,3 becasue of the conference record.  I just don't gt it. First of all, NYJ and Bal were both 7-5 with Hou at 6-6. But in the event of 3 different conference records, I believe the reason for selecting one Wild Card team at a time is so that head-to-head games become important in more situations. By selecting one Wild Card team at a time, it allows for a potential head-to-head game between Baltimore and Houston to decide which team is the 2nd Wild Card team. If the NFL could break all ties with head-to-head games they would - it's just not possible.

By the way, they don't reseed after one team is "knocked out" - it's after one team is selected as a Wild Card. The original order changes only if the team with the worse conference record won a head-to-head game against the other team in the running for the 2nd Wild Card. To me, the head-to-head game should count more than a 1 (or 2) game difference in conference record - just as it would in a 2-way tie. It makes sense to me - but I can see how selecting one Wild Card at a time seems unnecessary to some people.

Maybe Joe can say more about why only one team is awarded a Wild Card at one time.

-Brett


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com