Blog Entry

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:30 pm

Well, we made it through another tiebreaker season.  Thanks to all for your participation, well-thought out comments and feedback.   Atlanta losing on Monday night certainly made for an interesting group of scenarios for the #1 seed in the NFC, but Philadelphia laying an egg on Tuesday night simplified many things in the NFC.   Full scenarios are listed below.

- ATL will be #1 seed UNLESS they lose and either NO or CHI wins
- ATL will be #2 seed if they lose and NO loses and CHI wins
- ATL will be #5 seed if they lose and both NO and CHI win
- NO can only be a #1 or #5 seed and will be #1 if they win and ATL loses
- If NO not #1 seed, they will be #5 and play AT NFC West winner (STL or SEA) Wild Card weekend (Saints beat both teams this year at home)
- CHI is the #2 seed unless ATL and NO both lose and CHI wins...then CHI would be #1 seed
- PHI is the #3 seed and will host the #6 seed (either GB, NYG or TB) on Wild Card weekend
- The STL-SEA winner (or STL in case of a tie) will host ATL or NO (whichever doesn't win the South) on Wild Card weekend
- GB will know by game time if their opponent (CHI) is locked into #2 seed (CHI would need ATL and NO losses in 1pm ET games to have chance at #1 seed).
- If GB wins, they will play at PHI on Wild Card weekend as the #6 seed.
- If TB wins early, GB knows they will need to win to get into playoffs and TB will root for GB and NYG losses to get a trip to PHI.
- TB game only matters to NYG if the Giants tie WAS.
- NYG can only get in as #6 seed and would play at PHI for a third game this season against the Eagles with a WIN and GB loss
- If TB, GB and NYG all win or all lose, GB will play at PHI on Wild Card weekend based on GB winning strength of victory tiebreaker among the three teams at 10-6 or 9-7.   At 10-6, GB would have a minimum wins by defeated opponents of 74 while NYG and TB would have maximums of 65 and 59 wins respectively.  At 9-7, GB would have a minimum wins by defeated opponents of 63 while NYG and TB would have maximum of 61 and 49 wins respectively. 


  CLINCHED:    Atlanta - playoff spot.
               Chicago - NFC North division and a first-round bye.
               Philadelphia - NFC East division.
               New Orleans - playoff spot.
  ELIMINATED:  Carolina, Detroit, Washington, Dallas, Minnesota, Arizona,
               San Francisco.

 ATLANTA Falcons
  Atlanta clinches NFC South division and a first-round bye:
   1) ATL win or tie
   2) NO loss or tie
  Atlanta clinches homefield advantage:
   1) ATL win or tie
   2) NO loss or tie + CHI loss or tie

  Chicago clinches homefield advantage:
   1) CHI win + ATL loss + NO loss or tie

  New Orleans clinches NFC South and homefield advantage:
   1) NO win + ATL loss

 GREEN BAY Packers
  Green Bay clinches a playoff spot:
   1) GB win
   2) GB tie + NYG loss or tie + TB loss or tie
   3) NYG loss + TB loss

  NY Giants clinch a playoff spot:
   1) NYG win + GB loss or tie
   2) NYG tie + GB loss + TB loss or tie

 TAMPA BAY Buccaneers
  Tampa Bay clinches a playoff spot:
   1) TB win + NYG loss or tie + GB loss or tie
   2) TB tie + NYG loss + GB loss

  St. Louis clinches NFC West division:
   1) STL win or tie

 SEATTLE Seahawks
  Seattle clinches NFC West division:
   1) SEA win


Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:31 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios


Thanks for those links.  I liked Falconbrooks ideas - #2 was basically what I meant when I previously discussed additional games based on the previous years standings.  However, I had never considered #1, where a full-round robin occurs with half of one divisions teams against half another divisions teams.

If I get time, I will post more on this subject, but I'll probably move it into your blog.  I think it is more appropriate there.

I had also considered a 17-game sched with interconf rivalries, like you mention.  But what I was uncomfy with was when those rivalries came up on the regular interconf  rotation.  I'm not sure I like playing an intercof opponent 2x like a division opponent.  For one thing, I think given the nature of the rotations, it might be hard to avoid playing 2x in the same stadium at some point during the 8-year rotation.  Just something to think about.

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2011 5:45 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

It seems like Chili's entire account was wiped out - could be because of something inappropriate he said in a different forum.

I have a feeling he will resurface under a different name. He made a good point about how, under any radical realignment, Fox, for example, could retain rights to Redskins home games while CBS retained rights to the Ravens home games.

What if the NFL just expanded to 17 games? Then the 17th game could be an out-of-conference rival that you play every year. NFC would host one year, AFC the next. The out-of-conference division rotation would be exactly the same as it is now. This means that every 4th year, "out-of-conference" rivals will have 2 games instead of 1.

Imagine these games taking place every season:

New England - Philadelphia
NY Jets - NY Giants
Baltimore - Washington
Buffalo - Carolina

Pittsburgh - Green Bay
Cleveland - Detroit
Cincinnati - Minnesota
Indianapolis - Chicago
Kansas City - St. Louis

Miami - Tampa Bay
Jacksonville - Atlanta
Tennessee - New Orleans
Houston - Dallas

Oakland - San Francisco
San Diego - Arizona
Denver - Seattle

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2011 3:18 am

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Anybody know what happened to Chili? I guess he must have said RIVALRIES or CLASH OF THE TITANS or THE MINI-DIVISIONS STINK in all caps one time too many for someone in charge around here. Now anyone reading these comments will wonder why I have been arguing with myself for the last week. Laughing

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2011 11:53 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

All the previous links are working, except for the very last one. Here is a working link to my blog homepage:

(for lack of a better name):

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2011 11:42 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Vito, unfortunately all the comments from last year appear to be spread over multiple blogs. Also, within in each blog, the comments on an 18 game schedule are mixed in among other topics. I really meant to consolidate the 18-game schedule comments into a single blog, but I never got around to doing it.

After the season last year, I created my own blog to continue our discussions. The main reason I did this was following the 2008 season, Joe's 2008 blogs were deleted. I naturally expected that to happen again last season, however the 2009 blogs remain available.

: see my post (page 2) on Jan 6, at 6:17am (EST?) kind of summarizes a few other posts.
But I guess read through the most recent pages.

see Falconbrook's post on Jan 18, at 8:02pm (a very clever alternative to anything anyone else has suggested).


(I think I will have to logout and see if the links to my blogs work for you guys. It may be a separate web address for public access).

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:13 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

The Pittsburgh Steelers used to be in the same division with the Giants

Yea, things can we switched around

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2011 3:13 pm


ONE other point.   The NFC North works so well because of the Rivalries

Green Bay and Minnesota are both small markets

When I looked at the old divisions, it appeared the NFL was careful to cluster Minnesota with Green Bay and Chicago - even at the expense of keeping Dallas in the Eastern Division.

"What works" is often the best guide.

I think the NFC North works.     
; I think the Chicago Cubs-Cardinals rivalry really works.    Those fans travel, almost for every game.   Those should be the blueprints

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2011 3:05 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Jeff and Vito

the 4-team divisions offer little flexibility

The situation with Dallas is still there.     I believe the fans, who didnt want to move divisions in 1970, would now welcome a move.

Arizona is sitting out there, and there is sentiment to pair them with Dallas.

I'm not sure that LA would get the team that moved.   That is a question.   I would be surprised if the Vikings moved, even though it has been discussed.

I think Jacksonville can be saved.   They are getting much better which always helps.    Two games a year with Tampa and Miami has to help


Baseball now has an uneven schedule in which they "pair" interleague rivalries.   The NY teams play each other six times a year, every year.   &
nbsp; There are pairings all around the league.    Some teams get two pairings

MAYBE the NFL should do that with the 2 extra games when they move to 18 games

So, Jacksonville would play Tampa and Miami once EVERY YEAR

Arizona could play San Diego and Dallas once EVERY YEAR

Buffalo needs help, they really should be paired with Pittsburgh and Cleveland

We could have an Oakland-SF game once EVERY YEAR

It's an idea for the two additional games.     The interleague pairings have worked really well in baseball.    Obviously, some teams get left out a bit because they are geographically far flung.    However, who would not want to see New England-Indy once EVERY YEAR

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:43 pm


Reviewing the history, I believe it is fair to say that in the 1960s, NFL was more concered with the challenge presented by the AFL more than getting the divisions right.

In the 50s, it appears they liked the dynamics of 6-team divisions.

I started off with theorical ideas on the dynamics of 4-team divisions - and I believe each combination has undesirable consequences.

1)   One strong team - three weak teams     There is virtually no competition and everyone knows all season long who is going to win.  Plus, the strong team ends up with 6 easy games, plus the easy games from the rotation.

2)  Two strong teams - two weak teams     
Might seem like this would be the most desirable combination.   However, where is the competition?   Two teams are going for the division lead, and most times the other ends up with the wildcard.    Honestly, I don't find this combination very interesting.

3)  Three strong teams - one weak team   This combination yields the best rivalries and the best division games.   However, this kind of division creates tough schedules year-after-year.   &
nbsp;  The weak team is pounded with no relief.     In years in which this division gets paired with other strong divisions, the schedules are brutal.

4)  Four weak teams     
  No need to discuss it.

The 4-team divisions MAGNIFY the situation with the schedules.

In addition, one might think the rotation evens things out, but it doesn't.    The rotation really creates CYCLES of tough schedules and weak schedules.

Also, those cycles sometimes do not even out, because teams change by the time the cycles play themselves out.   This can lead to further magnification.   &nb
sp; The SoS is not a perfect measurement, because now the SoS is on the exact same cycles.

The 4-team divisions have unintended consequences which are always happening.   If it isn't one thing, its another.

Larger Divisions are far better.   If one adds in the potential for RIVALRIES, then its even better.   

Plus Coaches prepare differently or Division games.   The game plans are better.    The game is more sophisticated.

A greater number of Division games is better.    And I believe we all forgot that in 2002, they REDUCED the amount of division games in order to go to 4-team divisions which believe have been a DISASTER.


Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:22 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

If the Jags moved to LA, I would advocate moving them into the NFC West, and putting the Rams in the AFC South.  I don't see KC moving as there was significant interest in keeping the old AFL West teams (OAK, DEN, SD, KC) together when determining the 8-division alignment - which means there's no room for LA in the AFC.  Plus, Indy/StL/Nashville make a nice geographic nucleus for a division.

I think there would be a push for realignment in this case, so that LA could form rivalries with SF & Phoenix.  So maybe the NFL will buck their history of not caring about geography.

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