Posted on: December 1, 2009 1:18 am

WEEK 13 Scenarios

Based on New Orleans' victory over New England, here are the updated official NFL tiebreaker scenarios that will be released tomorrow:


New Orleans clinches South division:
1) NO win or tie
2) ATL loss or tie


Minnesota clinches North division:
1) MIN win + GB loss

Minnesota clinches playoff spot:
1) MIN win
2) MIN tie + NYG loss + ATL loss or tie


Indianapolis clinches a first-round bye:
1) IND win + DEN loss or tie + NE loss or tie + CIN loss


Posted on: November 30, 2009 2:47 am

Looking Toward Week 13

Let's get an early start on Week 13.

First, to recap Week 12, we had the following occur:
- INDY CLINCHED THE AFC SOUTH division title with their win and JAX loss.
- NEW ORLEANS could not clinch the NFC South title since ATL won and can still catch the Saints in the division even with a Saints win this Monday Night.

MINNESOTA CAN CLINCH the NFC NORTH division title with:
- WIN at Arizona + GB loss vs. Balt

NEW ORLEANS CAN CLINCH the NFC SOUTH division title with:
- Two WINS (this week and next)
- One WIN + One TIE (over this week and next)
- One WIN (either week) + ATL loss or tie vs. Phil

(still looking at N.O. clinching a playoff berth with One Win + ATL win...and MINN clinching with win + GB win...will confirm either way after game tomorrow or sooner)

Quick look shows INDY CAN CLINCH a FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF BYE with a WIN + SD loss + CIN loss + DEN loss/tie + NE loss to MIA (will confirm in the a.m.)
- WIN gets Indy to 12-4 at worst and 8-4 at worst in conference.
- INDY needs DEN loss or tie since they play DEN in 2 weeks and Broncos could have conf record advantage as well w/o loss or tie.
- SD and CIN both losing gets rid of one of them since they play each other...but keep in mind CIN can still beat INDY since they could still get to 9-3 in conference and beat Indy on that basis.
- INDY would have common opponents advantage over SD (4-1 vs. 3-2)
- NE loss to MIA is key since it would be a conference loss getting NE to 8-4 at best AND would give INDY the common games tiebreaker among INDY, NE and SD (4-1 vs. 3-2 for others). 
- If there is a 3-way tie among IND, CIN and NE, CIN would have to win out after losing this week to tie Indy at 12-4 and that would make them #1 with 9-3 conf record and would pit INDY vs NE for #2 and Bill Belichick helped decide that for Indy.  ;-)


Posted on: November 27, 2009 4:17 am

Thanksgiving Tiebreaker Tidbits

Here's what we know based on Thanksgiving Day games:

- DET (2-9 overall, 1-8 NFC) is eliminated from playoff contention with a PHIL WIN OR TIE against WASH.  They could have been eliminated with a NYG win but that didn't happen.  Detroit now can't catch GB (due to H2H sweep) and would lose H2H to GB as well in 3-way tie with CHI at 7-9.  PHIL has conference record advantage over DET and win would guarantee they get to 7-9 at worst.  DET can't use any other team to jump over PHIL except for WASH who DET beat H2H.  However, if PHIL beats WASH, the Skins can't catch them in the division.  And even if PHIL ties WASH, that would give PHIL a H2H advantage over WASH (1-0-1 vs. 0-1-1).  Furthermore, a PHIL tie would require them to lose every remaining game, thus giving the Giants their 7th win and their 5th conference win which would best DET.  If PHIL ties NYG, that gives PHIL the divisional advantage and gets them to 6-8-2 which is the same as 7-9 and they would beat DET in the same tiebreakers fashion as if they had won this week.

- GB (7-4 overall, 6-3 NFC) now holds the #5 seed with their win but will drop back to #6 if PHIL beats WASH due to conference record (6-3 for GB vs. PHIL's 6-2).  NYG's loss to DEN aided the Packers immensely in the Wild Card race on overall record, but both teams have 3 conference losses.

- GB does control it's own destiny for the #5 seed however, since PHIL plays DALL and if GB wins out and PHIL wins out to tie them, that would give PHIL the NFC East title and GB has tiebreak over DALL due to H2H win.

- It should be noted that NYG would likely have common opponents record advantage over GB if they tie on overall record and conference record (all of NYG's remaining games are NFC games and GB could lose to either BAL or PIT).  If both teams tied at 11-5 and 9-3 in conf, the Giants would have common opponents advantage at 4-1 vs. 2-3.  I say "likely" as it depends on which games each team wins, but very likely the Giants would end up on top in this scenario.

- GB is the only team in the League in 2nd place where there is a two-game separation between them and both the team ahead of them and the team behind them.  Trivial...and fairly meaningless...but points out the hold they have on 2nd place in the NFC North.

- GB still has a long way to go to win the NFC North since they were swept by MINN, meaning the Pack needs to beat the Vikings outright to win the crown.

- DALL (8-3 overall, 6-2 NFC) gained a 1.5 game lead over PHIL and a 2 game lead over NYG with their victory and NYG's loss.  The only downside to the DALL win was it was a non-conference win and they remain at 6-2 in the conference.  

- DALL controls its own destiny for the NFC East title and a #4 seed.  They would need an ARIZ loss or tie this week to control the #3 seed.  PHIL also controls its own destiny for the #4 seed with game against the Cowboys still looming and they would have division record advantage if they can win that game.

- OAK (3-8 overall, 2-6 AFC) is not eliminated this week, despite the loss to DALL.  They would be eliminated from a potential division crown if SD beats KC this week.

- DEN (7-4 overall, 5-3 AFC) bounced back nicely from recent woes with the NYG win.  The Broncos are now 1/2 game behind SD and the Chargers have their final divisional game this week hosting KC.  DEN has yet to play KC yet so the Chiefs will has something to say about the AFC West title.

- If SD loses to KC this week, DEN will control its own destiny for the AFC West crown due to divisional record advantage.

- DEN's biggest issue in tiebreakers is that they have H2H losses against two Wild Card foes PITT and BALT and have a worse conference record than JAX.

- NYG (6-5 overall, 4-3 NFC) really put themselves behind the 8-ball with their loss this week with the only redeeming factor being it was a non-conference loss.  The Giants are now 2 games behind the Cowboys but can still gain a sweep against them by winning at home next week.

- This loss allows ATL to catch the Giants this week in the Wild Card race, but the Giants still have H2H win over ATL.  However, ATL plays PHIL in 2 weeks and could use the Eagles to jump over the Giants if they're all tied at the end.

Should be a fun weekend of games.  I'll be at the KC at SD game so I'll tweet from there with any relevant updates at and obviously be back here for more blogs and banter.

Enjoy the leftovers.

Posted on: November 23, 2009 12:07 am

Looking Toward Week 12

Early week 12 tiebreaker notes:

NEW ORLEANS can clinch the NFC South title with:
- WIN + ATL loss or tie
- TIE + ATL loss

INDIANAPOLIS can clinch the AFC South title with:
- WIN + JAX loss

Key Week 12 Tiebreaker games include:
- PITT at BALT (Sunday Night)
- NYG at DEN (Thanksgiving Night)
- NE at NO (Monday night)

Posted on: November 17, 2009 5:47 pm

Let's Get the Party Started!

It's that time of year again where we dive into all of the various NFL playoff race possibilities...including division clinching scenarios, homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, wild card spots, seeding possibilities and the inevitable elimination scenarios and ultimately draft positioning.  This year I'm going to post tiebreaker updates to this blog on a regular basis, react to scenario questions both in the blog and in appropriate threads and work with the production team on providing the earliest and most up-to-date playoff scenarios available.

For some background, I handled the official tiebreakers for the NFL from the 1992 playoffs through the 1999 season and have worked with the League and their official stats source (Elias Sports Bureau) in compiling the official tiebreaker scenarios since leaving the League to join CBS SportsLine in 2000.  I have transitioned jobs from Executive Producer at CBS SportsLine (now to being the liaison for CBS Interactive to the CBS Entertainment Network and CBS TV Studios in Los Angeles...but I keep my fingers in sports through this venture and working with the CBS Sports division and various NFL teams and media outlets on playoff scenarios.  This allows to publish what is typically the FIRST look at what will be OFFICIAL NFL tiebreaker scenarios.  I'll try and blog my way through the you can get an insight into your favorite teams prospects (or maybe your mortal enemies) and get a better understanding how NFL Tiebreakers work and the interesting nuances that will surface.

Enjoy the ride...should be fun...and don't be shy with the questions as I often get extremely insightful feedback from fans and closet tiebreaker gurus that help me along the way.

Joe Ferreira

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