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 12, 2010
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:29 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

To Chili <BR><BR>
First of all, I do apologize if some of the comments I have made have sounded rude or mean-spirited. Some of that was probably just my often poor attempts at humor and/or sarcasm. I am all for a spirited discussion, and while I may not agree with many of the points you have made or proposals you have suggested, I will admit that you have brought up some interesting things relating to the 4-team divisions that I may not have considered otherwise. I apologize also for the confusion between myself and the other Jeff that was actually posting in defense of your position regarding the Giants' SOS. Now, to new business...<BR><BR>
I think the thing we disagree on the most is that I believe that the current setup of the league works extremely well. I like the fact that the schedule rotation is set up so that every team in the league will play every other team in a certain amount of time. I believe that if the league were to change to four 8-team divisions, as you have proposed, that it would be virtually impossible to keep that aspect of schedule rotation intact. I like the fact that for any star player, that plays in the league for at least 10-12 years, will have the opportunity to face every team in the league at least 2-3 times, and the fans in all 32 NFL cities will also have the opportunity to see those players in person. This may seem like a small thing, as what difference does it really make to the world of the NFL as a whole if, for example, fans in Buffalo never got to see Jerry Rice or Barry Sanders, or if fans in Pittsburgh never got to see Brett Favre or Deion Sanders, or if fans in Detroit never got to see Rod Woodson or Junior Seau. These are all hypothetical casess thrown out off the top of my head, not actual examples of players who never visited a certain city, but under the old 5-team divisions there were all kinds of instances of certain teams not facing each other for long periods of time simply due to random chance causing them to miss each other in the schedule rotations. In this current era of free agency and constant roster turnovers, this may be an antiquated notion of mine, since many notable players such as Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Darren Sharper, Thomas Jones, etc. may change teams several times in their careers, so they won't necessarily play every team and in every city over the course of their careers, but I still like the principal of this setup. <BR><BR>
I also like the way the current schedule sets teams up to play everyone in the opposing conference every 4 years. I am a Colts fan, so I'll use them as an example. In 2002 the Colts lost to the Redskins and the Giants, so when 2006 came around I was anxiously awaiting the chance for the Colts to avenge those losses. Likewise, the 2003 Colts had their early undefeated season ended at home by the Carolina Panthers, so when 2007 came around and the Colts beat Carolina, I took an extra ounce of satisfaction out of that victory, despite the fact that the Panthers were not a great team that year, and I believe they were led in that game by a fresh-off-his-couch Vinny Testaverde. Similarly, I couldn't wait for the Colts to get revenge on the Seahawks and Cowboys for beating the Colts in 2005 and 2006. This may seem like a silly thing, and I may be the only person in the world who thinks about stuff like this, but I find that it is just one of the many things I like about the current schedule format and rotation.<BR><BR>
I pointed out a few days back that it would be hard to put the league back into 6 divisions from 8, not that it would be impossible, but that it would create a lot of strange circumstances as far as which teams were placed into which divisions. My point about 32 not dividing equally into 6 was not to say that it would be impossible for a league to have unequal divisions, just that I don't believe it is an ideal setup. Yes, the league did operate from 1970 to 1994 with unequal division, and again from 1999 to 2001, but I firmly believe that if there are 32 teams, a number which does evenly divide into 4 or 8, that there is no reason not to have teams divided up evenly. I believe that the fact that the league did choose to realign into 8 division in 2002 shows that whomever the decision makers are in the league office agree with me in this regard. They could have simply placed the Texans into the NFC Central (or West) and continued on with 6 divisions of 5 or 6 teams each, but since they chose to make such radical changes to the league's existing format in 2002, I certainly don't see any reason for them to go back to the way it was before.<BR><BR>
Now to your proposal to move to four 8-team divisions, I have to admit, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, but I don't really see all the huge problems with the current setup which you seem to, so I don't really see any possibility that the league would adopt this approach any time in the near future. I would be a strong proponent of keeping the league's tradition of all division teams playing each other twice. I would greatly oppose any setup where in an 8-team division teams only played 7 or 10 or 12 division games. I believe they must play 14, to prevent an inequity where the two teams competing for the division title only play once, and of course one team would have to have home-field advantage for that game. Playing 14 of 18 games within the division would then lead to only 4 non-division games, which I would believe then lead to more of the same schedule inequalities for teams battling for wild card spots that you dislike in the current format. There are certainly many different ways the league could choose to draw up schedules for a hypothetical 4 division league, and I'm not saying that I would be violently opposed to any or all of them, just that I think one can find positive or negative aspects for any potential format, and personally I think I would prefer the current setup over any radically changed one.<BR><BR>
Your main argument for the 8-team division, "THE CLASH OF THE TITANS", I feel is a good idea in theory, but I think the current format has more than enough of these games already. Having games like GB-NYG, CHI-NYG, BAL-WASH, BAL-PHI, PIT-NE, PIT-IND, NE-IND twice a season may seem awesome, but what you would be taking away is the number of quality inter-division and inter-conference games that take place every year under the current system.  In 2010, we saw NE-GB, NE-CHI, NE-MIN, NYJ-GB, NYJ-CHI, NYJ-MIN, NE-PIT, NE-BAL, NYJ-PIT, NYJ-BAL, NE-IND, NE-SD, IND-NYG, IND-PHI, IND-DAL, IND-KC, IND-SD, PIT-ATL, PIT-NO, BAL-ATL, BAL-NO, PH-ATL, PHI-CHI, PHI-GB, NYG-CHI, NYG-GB, NO-MIN, NO-DAL. Now I included teams like MIN, DAL, and even SD in that list, teams that were not as good as expected in 2010, but still made for entertaining games with some of the teams listed. By going to the 4 division format, yes, there would be more big-time games in the division, but only at the expense of the number of quality matchups taking place outside the division.<BR><BR>
I would have absolutely no problem with the Colts being put in a division with NE and PIT, as well as NYJ and TEN, but that would seem a little unfair to teams like BUF and CLE to have to compete with all those powerhouse teams every year, while based on the trends of the past 7 years, in many of those years San Diego would have a virtual cakewalk to the division title in the 8-team AFC South/West that you proposed. Again, as a Colts fan I would have no problem with it, but as an NFL fan it would seem to create just as much, if not more inequality as under the current system.  As a Colts fan, I am used to playing all the other AFC first-place teams every season, and I would love it if the new 18-game format featured even more of these 1-1 matchups. Next year, the Colts will play ATL, NO, TB, and CAR from the NFC, and I would love the 2 extra games to be inter-conference matchups against teams with the same division ranking the prior year, so 2011 could see IND-PHI and IND-CHI, for example. <BR><BR>
The proposals I've seen some people make, that the 2 extra games will be used to make it so the 1st and 4th place teams in a division play all the same teams, as do the 2nd and 3rd place teams, I think would be a huge mistake by the NFL. 4th place teams should get to play at least a slightly easier schedule than 1st and 2nd place teams, and I would have no problem with that inequity being made a little bit steeper with the move to an 18-game schedule. Again, as a Colts fan that would make for more difficult games and schedules for my team, but I would welcome the additional challenge.

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 5, 2011 4:27 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios



the other Jeff I was getting annoyed at

Brett I really was seeking to dramatize my points, not really get emotional about

I thank the person attempting to support the points.  However SoS doesn't tell the whole story if the entire division is sitting there with a strong or weak schedule.    So the measurement has some limits

I just thought that after the tiebreaker scenarios were done, I could bring up some thoughts  -   which some people thought amounted to grave offensives against humanity itself

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 10:36 am

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Most of the the comments are from the Colts fan, Jeff (since 2010), but the most recent post by "Jeff" was from a different Jeff. This Jeff is a Packers fan and has been contributing here since 2007. Also his recent post on the SoS of the Giants was meant to back up your points on SoS with some facts - to that end, he did a nice job in support of you. When you re-read his post, remember that the boldface comments are YOUR comments and he is just responding to them.

People are tired of you because you attach so much feeling to your posts. While you make a few excellent points, they get muddled by your whinny attitude. Turn it down a notch or TWO.

Oh and the "farce" you are referring to. That is a farce on the NFL's desire to have an equal number of teams in every division. It's making fun of the CURRENT alignment - something you should revel in.

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 5, 2011 10:21 am

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios


Thank you for your comments

1)   I really wish you would be a bit nicer in your comments.   Over the past two weeks I have detected some nastiness

2)   I based the SoS for next year on the projected schedule which Joe listed.    We are all aware it is subject to change

3)   I stand by my statements on SoS of the Giants, especially during the 2002-2006 time frame.   Perhaps, schedules tend to be evaluated based on the records of the teams of the PREVIOUS SEASON.

In addition, there is no doubt that the NFC East during the time of 2002-2006 was especially tough.     

Mathematically, if the entire division is getting slammed with a tough SoS at the beginning of the season, then clearly the entire division is not going to end up with good records at the end of the season.    The numbers, especially WITHIN a division, affect each other.


I am beginning to see that your entire position is based on a defense of the Colts.     I think EVERYONE familiar with the strength of the teams REGARDLESS OF THE RECORDS would agree that the NFC East has been a whole lot tougher than the AFC South.

My point has always been that "easy schedules lead to better records"   &nbs
p; You have only come back with the information on the records, and then you say "see, the records prove the schedules were not easy."    That is a logical fallacy because the schedules are different to begin with.


Fine, if your Colts are so good, you should have no objection to putting them in a Division with Pittsburgh and New England and have the Colts play those teams twice a year.     I think you like playing easier teams.     
; Those teams are playing easy teams, getting wins and their records are better than they would be otherwise.     Then, you are taking those inflated records from within the division of the Colts and saying that the Colts have a high SoS.    But the whole LOGIC is those numbers are inflated.

The same thing is happening with the Giants, but in a TOUGH division, the numbers get deflated.    The Giants had tough schedules and tough opponents in those years.   Anyone who knows what they are talking about would agree.

I think 4 Divisions of 8 Teams solves these issue.     You are just trying to make a farce of the discussion by talking about 11 divisons, and addressing none of issues presented.

And yes, I am aware that 32 does not divide evenly into 6.    Another one of your lovely jems which adds nothing to the discussion.    Were you aware that for decades the NFL had divisions with different numbers of teams?

Overall, football is a game.     And they are always changing the rules to address various issues.     The Mini-divisions STINK     There is always something happening which is undesirable.    Whether it is SoS, strong divisions, weak divisions or the rotation causes a magnification of the normal cycles.     My position is UNINTENDED things are happening and WE CAN DO BETTER.


Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 3:38 am

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

As Jeff, the Colts fan (not the Packers fan), first pointed out...

When the NFL expands to 33 teams (likely to a Los Angeles team), the NFL will surely re-align to 11 divisions of 3 teams each. Also, to ensure competitive balance...

No division will have more than one Super Bowl winner since 1995.
No division will have more than one head coach named Mike.
No division will have two teams currently in the same division.

Here, below, is what this should look like (pending SF, Car, and Oak don't hire a Mike head coach). Comments are welcome.
(I couldn't come up with a creative name for each division.)

NY Giants (2007)
NY Jets
Atlanta (Mike Smith)

Pittsburgh (2005, 2008) (Mike Tomlin)

New England (2001, 2003, 2004)

Baltimore (2000)
Washington (Mike Shanahan)


Tampa Bay (2002)

Indianapolis (2006)


St. Louis (1999)
Kansas City

Dallas (1995)
San Diego


New Orleans (2009)

Green Bay (1996) (Mike McCarthy)
San Francisco

Denver (1997, 1998)
Los Angeles (expansion franchise)

Teams in boldface would have been division champions this year (had the schedules been the same and had the same results).
(1) NY Jets would have been the lone wildcard team (and received an automatic bid to the Super Bowl).
(2) New England, (3) Atlanta, (4) Baltimore, (5) Pittsburgh, and (6) New Orleans would have had 1st round byes.

This week's matchups would have been
(7) Chicago vs. (12) Arizona,
(8) Green Bay vs. (11) San Diego,
(9) Tampa Bay vs. (10) Kansas City

2nd round:
Three lowest remaining seeds vs. (2) New England, (3) Atlanta, and (4) Baltimore
(5) Pittsburgh vs. (6) New Orleans.

Since: Nov 20, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:41 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

  said the things in bold:

I will reply in non bold.  :)

OK so, next year the Giants will get a break in SoS   Who knows what the schedule will really look like next year.  Though from what I heard, at one point this season, is that the 1st and 4th place teams in each division will each get the same schedule and the 2nd and 3rd place will get the same schedules.  We'll see.........hopefully we'll see in 2011.  We need there to be a football season later this year. 

However, I can assure you over the past 8 years, that has NOT been the case with the Giant having tough division opponents (compared to other divisions) AND getting the tough side of the division rotations.  Time for a little look at Giants SoS' from 2002 to 2010(the past 9 seasons).  I haven't looked at these yet, but I will be posting them now and seeing what it's been like.

2002---121-119-0(.504)  13th of 32     Giants were 7-9 in 2001 and came in 3rd place in the old NFC East
2003---133-122-1(.521)  12th of 32     Giants were 10-6 in 2002 and came in 2nd place in the new NFC East and were the 5 seed for the playoffs
2004---123-133-0(.480)  29th of 32     Giants were 4-12 in 2003 and came in 4th place in NFC East
2005---125-131-0(.488)  T22nd of 32   Giants were 6-10 in 2004 and came in 2nd place in NFC East
2006---139-117-0(.543)  T1st of 32     Gia
nts were 11-5 in 2005 and came in 1st place in NFC East and were the 4 seed for the playoffs
2007---127-129-0(.496)  T21st of 32    Giants were 8-8 in 2006 and came in 3rd place in NFC East and were the 6 seed for the playoffs
2008---133-123-0(.520)  T15th of 32   Giants were 10-6 in 2007 and came in 2nd place in the NFC East and were the 5 seed for the playoffs
2009---134-120-2(.527)  10th of 32     Giants were 12-4 in 2008 and came in 1st place in the NFC East and were the 1 seed for the playoffs
2010---135-121-0(.527)  7th of 32     &nb
sp; Giants were 8-8 in 2009 and came in 3rd place in the NFC East

So yeah, it's been a rather tough 9 years when it comes to SoS for the Giants.  5 of the 9 years the Giants were in the upper half of toughest SoS' and the other year when they were tied for 15th, that's about a middling season for SoS. 

This is perhaps the first year in a long time they might get an easier schedule  If next year is indeed easier, then it will probably be their easiest since the 2007 season.  Most seasons where the Giants SoS is toughest is when they had a pretty derned good year the season before.  I will agree that the NFC East has been mostly a tough one for the Giants.  Especially the recent years and is probably why their SoS has been over .520 the past 3 years.  2004 was quite a bad year for the NFC East, as you can tell by the Giants finishing 6-10 and coming in 2nd in the NFC East.  Thought that you might like to see the actual year by year Chili, since they went to the 4 team divisional format.  
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;     &
;     &nbs
p;  Jeff

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2011 3:45 pm

Divisions Blow them Up


I just had another idea which I'm sure you will all love.

If the divisions are re-aligned and teams are "clustered", trophies can be created.

There can be a Texas Trophy for the winner of the Houston-Dallas games (tiebreaker can be Total Points)

A Florida Trophy for the winner of the 3 Florida teams which will play a total of 6 Florida games  (tiebreakers can be established)

A California Trohpy for the winner of the 3 California teams which play a total of 6 California games.

If you figure out a way to pair up Kansas City and St. Louis, there can be a Missouri Trophy.

There can also be a Maryland Trophy, because Fedex Field is in Maryland, so Washington and Baltimore can battle it out.

Several colleges have trophies established for the games between RIVALS.    &nbs
p; I think one is a Tomahawk Trophy.


Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2011 12:13 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios


Thank you for your comments.

I envision the larger divisions leading to more division games, not the same.   Perhaps playing 5 teams within the division twice and two teams once.     This would allow seeding and allow strong teams to draw tougher schedules, and weaker teams to draw easier schedules.     This will give more wins to the fans in cities with weaker teams.

The point of larger divisions is a greater number of division games.    This also changes the games, because the coaches are more familiar with their division opponents.   The game plans become more sophisticated.


The other thing is I moved some teams around in my proposal.

So, Tampa Bay would have gotten the additional playoff spot.   Not the Giants.

I moved Baltimore into the NFC North-East where they would get the bye.    Atlanta and New England would get byes as they do now.    I had Tampa getting the bye in the new AFC South-West.

I was thinking with 4 divisions, all first place teams get byes.     All second place teams go to the playoffs and get to host the games on the wildcard weekend.    &nb
sp; Each Conference gets two wildcards.

This playoff structure would give Chicago, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Kansas City the second-places with hosting the games wildcard weekend.    Green Bay, Philly, the Jets and Indy would be the wildcards.    &
nbsp;  I'm just war-gaming to see how different things would be.

Since: Dec 7, 2010
Posted on: January 4, 2011 7:38 am

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Scheduling for 4 Divisions

I think your proposed schedule for 4 divisions is even more problematic then what we have right now. For now, you shared 16 games with your division winner, so you could always argue, that you had a fair chance to win you div at least. In your proposed scenario I could have only 7 common games with my division winner, making wild swings in SOS woithin the same division possible. Playing devisions like the NFCW is enough of an advantage, when it comes to wild cards, but when it blocks you out of fair division contention too, it becomes unbearable.

If you really want 4 divisions I would say you let them play an 8 team round robin home and away and then 4 teams from one other division  rotating around, although that would basically get rid of the conferences.

Then you put the top 2 team from a division into the playoffs and may add another 2 WC team tiebreaking for WCs would be H2H/DivRec/SOV/SOS.

With that schedule, you are basically forming 4 distinct divisions, with a artificial conference setup in the playoffs, so you might want to reorganize  that one too over time.

Scheduling for 6 Divisions

I think this is much fairer, although it should basically mandate a slow growth to 36 teams over the next years.

6 team div
home and home against own (10)
all teams of one division within conference (6)
2 teams within the other conference, slowly rotating

5 team div
as long as you have 32 teams you could put in 3 more games against the other 5 team division, slowly rotating.
Or you could add  interconference games whenever necessary under the assumption that these game grow fewer when the NFL grows to 36.

As soon as you get to 36 teams, you have a very nice schedule again, which a big set of common games, and relatively fair competition for the WC spots.

Of course it gets even better, when you just drop Buf and Jax and go to 5 team divsions  playing 8 games within the div and 10 more games against both other diviwsion in the conference.

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:43 am

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Alternative look to a 3-division NFC (below).

Given the current state of the Cowboys, would Jerry Jones really complain if his team is pulled from the East and put in the West with the Rams, Seahawks, 49ers, and Cardinals? Any potential revenue lost from separating the Cowboys from their current East rivals would likely be made up (or surpassed) as a result of more division championships and more home playoff games. A corallary to that would likely be more Super Bowls as well. What do you guys think?
NFC East
New York Giants
Tampa Bay

NFC Central
Green Bay
New Orleans / Dallas

NFC West
San Francisco
St. Louis
Dallas  / New Orleans

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