Tiebreaking between Atlanta and Tampa Bay

Buckeyenewshawk has now had a chance to crunch some numbers.  As I reported last night, a tie between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could come down to strength of victory.  It looks good if you are a Bucs fan.  Basically this distills down to one variable because both teams split with everyone in the South, if they get to 11-5 both teams would have swept the NFC North, if they get to 11-5 both teams would have gone 3-1 against the AFC West with the loss being Denver, and both teams lost their power matching against an NFC East team.  So it comes down to their power matching against an NFC West team.  Tampa beat Seattle who has 3 wins, and Atlanta would beat St. Louis in Week 17 who only has 2 wins.  So, because Seattle swept St. Louis in the regular season, including in a highly ignored game last Sunday, the Bucs have the tiebreaking edge.  Now, the one fly in this ointment is if St. Louis beats San Francisco this coming Sunday and Seattle loses both remaining games, that would even strength of victory and it goes to strength of schedule.  In that scenario, we just evened their NFC West power matchings, so it comes down to their NFC East power matchings.  Atlanta played Philadelphia and Tampa played Dallas.  As of right now Dallas is 0.5 game stronger than the Eagles, so Tampa still has the edge.  That could flip if Philly wins both remaining games, which includes beating Dallas Week 17.  Of course, if the Cowboys lose a game then Tampa and Atlanta are both in at 11-5 and this only matters for who is seeded 5th rather than 6th.

Things are more pliable if both teams lose a game.  Both of Tampa’s games are non-conference games.  If Atlanta loses the Minnesota game and wins the St. Louis game, Tampa will have a better record amongst common opponents.  If the Falcons win the Minnesota game but lose the St. Louis game, the Bucs have a better conference record.  So, bottom line is Tampa wins a tie with Atlanta unless St. Louis beats San Francisco, Seattle loses out,  and Philadelphia has a better final two weeks than Dallas.  Tampa will make the playoffs if they go 11-5 as the only way they don’t have the tiebreaker on Atlanta is if Dallas loses a game and is therefore worse than 11-5.

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