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: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: January 1, 2011 11:37 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

I think there isn't much to change about divisions. I mean if they wanted to swap right now, there are many rivalries you would HAVE to keep in tact. Examples:


NFC NORTH except for Lions

The only teams that do not fit very well in their geographic locations and compared to other teams in their division:


I think the only problem (and this occurs in NBA and MLB a bit too) is the lack of West Coast teams, as they usally take a team or two from the central

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 1, 2011 10:30 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Just for fun, this is what I could see a potentially re-aligned NFL looking like: I moved HOU, KC, and TEN to the NFC, with AZ, SF, and SEA moving to the AFC. I could see IND and TEN being swapped, as both are relatively close to all of the Central teams in the NFC and AFC. What does anybody think?

AFC West
San Diego
San Francisco

AFC Central

AFC East
New England
New York Jets

NFC West
Kansas City
New Orleans
St. Louis

NFC Central
Green Bay

NFC East
New York Giants
Tampa Bay

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 1, 2011 10:18 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Brett, you make some very good points, and I wanted to add a few things to what you said. I can also remember back in 2001 trying to figure out exactly how the NFL would split into 8 divisions, and I was actually stunned when the listings came out and they were almost exactly what I had predicted. They basically did split all the divisions by geography, with just a few cases where they let tradition take precedence. I think they did the logical thing and took the 6 existing divisions and tried to pull a team or two out of each to craft the new South divisions, rather than just throwing all 32 teams in a pot and starting from scratch with the new divisions.  It was perfectly logical to take Seattle from the AFC West, since they were the newest team, and they really had to move an AFC team to the NFC since there were nowhere near 4 teams that could be considered "West" in the NFC. Taking Arizona and Indianapolis out of the East divisions also made sense, sense both franchises moved in the 80s, so neither really fit in the East, and neither had a very long history in their current city. Likewise TB never really belonged in the NFC Central, so they logically fit in the South. The only divisions that really had to be "blown up" were the NFC West and AFC Central. ATL, NO, and CAR clearly never really belonged in the West, so with the presence of SEA and AZ to join SF and STL, it made perfect sense to form the new NFC South out of ATL, NO, CAR, and TB. The only real question mark in the NFC is Dallas, but I don't see any other real logical way to split the teams. You could put Dallas in the South, and bump TB, CAR, or ATL to the East, but I don't really see any good argument for any of those 3 teams over the other, so I don't know how you would choose which one. If there wa no real reason not to, I never saw any reason why they wouldn't just keep the NFC East as NYG, PHI, WASH, and DAL.

It is interesting that you, as a Ravens fan, would have preferred to stay with TEN and JAX, rather than PIT, CLE, and HOU. That thought never really occurred to me, since the PIT/BAL rivalry has become such a big deal over the last 9 years. I figured in 2002 that it made perfect sense for HOU, JAX, and TEN to be in the new South, and they could have gone 2 different ways. Either IND in the North, MIA to the South, and BAL in the East, or what they actually did, which was IND in the South, MIA in the East, and BAL in the North. I don't think it would have ever occurred to me to put BAL in the South, but I guess it would have made a certain amount of sense. I alway just figured the BAL/CLE history made it natural for them to stay with PIT and CIN, and sense IND, TEN, HOU, and JAX were all either new franchises or in new cities since 1984, it made sense for those 4 teams to form the new division. As a Colts fan, I don't think I really had a preference for staying in the East or moving to the North or South. Sure, it was a benefit to have the new expansion Texans in the Colts' division, and IND's 16-2 record against HOU is very nice, but remember that JAX and TEN had the best records in the NFL in 1999 and 2000, so it wasn't like the Colts were blessed by being put into Cupcake Central.

I actually took what Chili said and decided to try and see what the current 32-team NFL would look like with either 6 or 8 divisions, and it wasn't easy. Pretty much any way I tried to split the teams up created even more geographical weirdness and strange groupings than the league has now. I was coming up with division groupings like DAL, HOU, NO, KC, and STL. For 4 8-team divisions, the logical way to do it would be to just merge the NFC West with AFC West, South with South, etc. But there would still be the constant problem of Dallas in the East, and if you don't put Dallas in the East, who do you switch them with? Then there is KC and STL still being in the West, 1000 miles or so away from their nearest rivals, but I don't really see any way around that, since there are just 6 teams in the league that are truly "West". There are going to be problems and people upset with any NFL alignment, but quite honestly I think the current setup is the least of all possible evils, so I don't really see any need for it to be changed.

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: January 1, 2011 9:08 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios


I read a few of the comments.  Hope you have all moved past the personal jibes.
   Concerning realignment, in my opinion, I don't think it's necessary.  For every example you make of a team getting shafted, you can look back at one or two games and point out where that team blew an opportunity.  Case in point, the Saints can complain about being a fifth seed travelling to a weak 4th seed, the west division winner.  But I will point out those same Saints blew a home game to the Cleveland Browns and missed a gimme field goal against the Falcons at home that would've won the game.  And just look at the AFC west where the Raiders may very well go 6-0 in the division, but are already out of the playoffs.
   For about six weeks, every team controls its own destiny. For another four weeks, the vast majority of teams control thier playoff fate.  So no boo-hooing about the seeds, you had your chance to make the show, win your division, get a bye and be the one seed just like every other team.  And if you think the Saints are whining about not having a home game, I'd rather travel to Seattle or St. Louis than face Philly or Atlanta in the Superdome for the first game.  You play with the hand you dealt yourself.
   And I don't want to hear another word about realignment as long as the Cowboys can remain in the NFC East playing the big markets of NY, Philly and D.C. simply because Jerry Jones has the pull to do it.  And I'm a Cowboys fan.  You could nearly ride a bike from Dallas to New Orleans, and Arizona is basically a home game for the 'Boys, but money rules.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: January 1, 2011 8:51 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

One of the reasons why the Ravens and the Steelers are a big rivalry is the Ravens used to be the Browns. The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and changed there name to the Baltimore Ravens. The current Browns team came into the NFL as an expansion team 1999

Since: Nov 27, 2007
Posted on: January 1, 2011 8:37 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios


I don't want you to get the wrong idea on why so many people are jumping on him.  It's not for his ideas in general.  In fact, I am one of his biggest critics, yet you can see in at least one of my posts that I agree with the basic premise that more teams messes with the playoff seedings and fewer divisions would allow for more accurate seeding.  I agreed with him that it was a drag that an NFC West team would make it in ahead of a Giants or Packers team.  He just greatly exaggerated the effects and made it an apocalyptic event. However, if you go back to the beginning, you will understand why everyone jumped on him.  His statements about the Colts being good because the AFC South has been so terrible for so many years and about the Falcons and Saints only being good because they played the NFC West are what really got people jumping.  They aren't the only ones, just the most prominent ones.  You can point out the records of the AFC South since it was created.  You can point out that the Saints are the defending Super Bowl champs and are probably good whether they played the NFC West or not.  None of it matters. He is right because "he said so".  Everyone in here is wrong and "closed-minded" and snobs who think they are better than everyone else just because they disagree with him.  Even if you point out that he shouldn't let everyone's disagreement with him stop him from submitting his ideas to the competition committee, you are still an idiot who knows nothing.  I cut off discussions with him not just because you can't have a discussion with him, but also because I found myself questioning how old this kid is.  If you are sticking up for him because you feel sorry for him, don't.  He brought quite a bit of it on himself, and the rest he didn't bring on himself, is just from people either sick of hearing him complain about 8 divisions "just not working" over and over again, or if they say something he is going to get too confrontational.   I hope you learns from you.  I really do.  LIke I said, he does have some valid points, he just probably needs to mature a little more.

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 1, 2011 6:51 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

Let me throw this one in

How about transferring Baltimore into the NFC East???

Surely, rivalries with the Redskins and Philly would be great

And Baltimore has a historic tie to the NFC

Sorry guys but the mini-divisions are not good.     Generically, 3 strong teams and one weak team doesn't work well.   

1 strong and 3 weak gives the strong team 6 easy division games, and if that division is paired with a weak division that year, that one strong team has a really weak schedule

AND two strong teams and two weak teams isnt that great either.    Half the second place teams get wildcards

Mathematically, it doesnt work well     Everything, both strong and weak, gets magnified

The fans are what is important   AND after watching this since 2002, I am convinced things would be FAR better with larger divisions.

If they are hooked on equal divisons, 4 divisions of 8 teams each is the way to go.   Otherwise, 6 divisions with 3 wildcards     The additional wildcard might even things out a bit and reduce the effects of unequal schedules.     The divisions have become tied to the schedules.     And the wildcard competitors have vastly different schedules.    

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 1, 2011 6:33 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios


Im just throwing out ideas

You know why?   Because this is a blog

I find it silly for some people to show anger toward other ideas, or to demand "facts and logic"   Perhaps my mistake was actually trying to explain things, or trying to give examples which were not perfect

I find it ridiculous when some people complain about the comments of others.   Especially when they appear to take the attitude that somehow it was inappropriate to make some set of comments

No one is forcing these people to read

I also find these people to be the most closed-minded.  Often they have a superficial knowledge and somehow an outside-the-box idea challenges their own idea that they know what they are talking about.

I am not here to feed the egos of small-minded people.     AND that is what this is:    small-minded people giving others an attitude because they have convinced themselves they are smarter than someone else

Even if they were smarter, the attitude is pathetic and shows they are unable to process new ideas

so I don't care     &
nbsp;However, it is clear that their attitude is the  problem, not the content of a set of comments on a board

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 1, 2011 6:15 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

For those that don't know (or don't remember),

I was unpopular with some people in this group last season because I constantly nit-picked the tiebreaking language: accusing it of being inadequate in some instances, misleading in others, and overall poorly written (and for writing really long posts pertaining to this).

I guess this is similar to how Chili is repeatedly being critical of the current 4-division alignment. Anyways, I've reshaped my attitude towards the tiebreaking langauge (I truly have changed my attidude) and it's helped with my popularity and I think more people now respect my opinions. My advice to chili is to stick to the facts, and focus on making the argument as detailed as possible; take the focus away from "winning" the argument or attempting to make your side the prevailing side to the argument.

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 1, 2011 6:04 pm

FINAL Week 17 NFC Playoff Scenarios

I am getting into this alignment discussion late (and admitedly I have not read all the comments pertaining to it), but I want to stick up for Chili. I think some (if not most) of his points are equally valid.

I did my freshman english project at Maryland (back in the Fall of 1999) based on the upcoming 2002 realignment. The only requirements were that the topic be on something that was currently in the news and controversial with two distinct sides. It just so happened that Houston had just been announced as an expansion franchise and there was debate on how to realign the teams. I had to pick two potential realignments and make as strong a case as possible for both of them.

Naturally I chose one alignment based on geography and one based on existing rivalries. To that end, I will support Chili in saying that new rivalries, as strong as the existing ones, would develop. On top of that, the existing rivalries would not completely fade away (at least not for a generation or two). Additionally, at the time, even with the realignment based on existing rivalries, some rivalries had to be separated. (Arizona separated from their NFC East rivals, and Indianapolis separated from their AFC East rivals - just to name a few.)

In 2002, being a Baltimore fan not old enough to remember the Baltimore Colts, I was quite upset that Baltimore was separated from Jacksonville and Tenneessee; I considered these teams to be our biggest rivals, based on the many close and controversial games against these two teams from 1996 to 2001 (10 regular season games against each, plus playoff games including the wild one in Jan 2001 between Bal and Ten).

It's hard to imagine, but at the time, there was no Ravens-Steelers rivalry (Perhaps there was an old Baltimore Colts-Steelers/Bengals/Browns rivalry that I am unaware of). In Chili's defense, it didn't take that many years for the Ravens-Steelers to develop into one of the biggest rivalries in the NFL. And, had Baltimore been put in the AFC South, this rivalry might never have developed. If Miami was put in the same division as Jacksonville, this rivalry could heat up to a level that far exceeds any existing Dolphins' (or Jaguars') rivalries.

Jeff (Colts fan),
I strongly agree with most of your points. Just two comments:

(1)  Although probably everyone prefers divisions with equal amounts of teams, the fact that the NFL had unequal divisions from 1970 to 1994 (and again from 1999 to 2001) means that they would survive pretty well if they once again went back to 3 unequal divisions per conference.

(2)  Also, while it is possible to have 4 bad teams in a division of 5, it's less likely to happen than having 3 bad teams in a division of 4.
Additionally, in the case of 4 out of 5 being bad, there are extra division games between the bad teams to provide for additional wins among them. The extra division games would make it less noticeable if there really were 4 bad teams in the same division.

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