NFL Standings After Week 14 & Clinching Scenarios

On the surface not a lot changed this week in the standings, with Philadelphia becoming the new leader of the NFC East the only significant alteration. But below the surface some things became more, or less, clear than they were a week ago. Here are the current standings and outlooks, starting in the AFC:

1. Indianapolis (clinched #1 seed)
2. San Diego
3. Cincinnati
4. New England
5. Denver
6. Jacksonville
0 games back of 6th: Baltimore, Miami, New York
On life support: Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Houston
Planning for 2010: Buffalo, Oakland, Kansas City, Cleveland

Things are not clinched in the North and West and some doubt remains in the East, but odds are the top 4 seeds are not changing and Denver is an advantaged position for the top wild card. Things get murky quickly when you look at the 6th seed. There are 4 teams at 7-6 with 3 others at 6-7. None of the 7-6 teams control their destiny is the fun part. The Jaguars currently hold the spot but if Baltimore loses a game down the stretch and Miami does not their newly gained head-to-head win puts them ahead. The Ravens need Jacksonville to lose a game at which point they would have tiebreaking on Miami based on record against common opponents (at 10-6, not at 9-7 if the loss was the Steelers game). Miami needs the Ravens to lose, and the Jets have 5 conference losses including a loss to the Jaguars and got swept by Miami meaning they need everyone to lose. Of the teams at 6-7 all of them have worse tiebreaking than the 7-6 teams so they need tons of help. The Steelers would need the Jaguars to lose 2 of their 3 remaining games, would need Baltimore to lose a non-Steeler game (they lose that tie at 9-7 on division record) and would need the Jets to lose once if the Dolphins and them are the only teams at 9-7 or if the Dolphins lost twice they would need the Jets to lose twice or have their one loss be the Bengals game and hope they won that tie on strength of victory plus they would need Houston to lose once or if Houston won out to also have Tennessee win out so they could beat the Titans in a multi-way on conference record or straight-up on head-to-head. Or let Baltimore or Jacksonville be ahead of them but get all that other stuff and have Denver lose 2 of their 3 remaining games. Houston essentially needs the above said things for Pittsburgh plus Tennessee lose a game, and Tennessee needs the above stuff plus Pittsburgh losing a game. At 9-7 those 6-7 South teams could win a head-up tie with Miami as they play the Dolphins down the stretch and would have to beat them on the way to 9-7 but their losses to the Jets and weak conference records preclude winning other ties.

As for the NFC:

1. New Orleans (clinched a 1st round bye)
2. Minnesota (clinched playoff spot)
3. Philadelphia
4. Arizona
5. Green Bay
6. Dallas
1 game back of 6th: New York
On life support: San Franciscon, Atlanta
Planning for 2010: Carolina, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, Detroit, Tampa, St. Louis

The main piece of the puzzle here is the East division and 2nd wildcard spot (it would take a collapse for Green Bay to blow a wildcard). Obviously Philadelphia is in the best position, but if Dallas wins out they would win the East having swept the Eagles in that event. Conversely, if the Cowboys lose a game down the stretch the Giants would control their destiny having swept the head-to-head against Dallas. It takes a lot of losing by 2 of the East teams to bring the wildcard back within the grasp of San Francisco or Atlanta, but at 9-7 the 49ers would have an 8-4 conference record and win the tiebreaking. They are also alive for the West having swept Arizona but it would take the Cardinals losing 2 of their last 3 to have a chance. Atlanta lost to all the relevant East teams so they need Dallas to lose out and New York to lose at least twice to have a chance.

Here are the official clinching scenarios for Week 15:

AFC

CLINCHED: Indianapolis – AFC South and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
San Diego clinches AFC West division title with:

1) DEN loss OR
2) SD win or tie + DEN tie

San Diego clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SD win + DEN loss or tie + NE loss or tie

San Diego clinches a playoff spot with:

1) SD win or tie OR
2) NE loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + MIA loss or tie OR
3) NE loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + NYJ loss or tie OR
4) MIA loss or tie + NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR
5) MIA loss or tie + NYJ loss or tie + JAC loss or tie OR
6) MIA loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + JAC loss or tie OR
7) NYJ loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + JAC loss or tie

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Cincinnati clinches AFC North division title with:

1) CIN win OR
2) CIN tie + BAL loss or tie OR
3) BAL loss

Cincinnati clinches a playoff spot with:

1) CIN tie + MIA loss + NYJ loss + JAC loss
NFC

CLINCHED: New Orleans – NFC South and a first-round bye
Minnesota – playoff spot

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) NO win + MIN loss or tie OR
2) NO tie + MIN loss

MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Minnesota clinches NFC North division title with:

1) MIN win OR
2) MIN tie + GB loss or tie OR
3) GB loss

Minnesota clinches a first-round bye with:

1) MIN win + PHI loss or tie OR
2) MIN tie + GB loss or tie + PHI loss

ARIZONA CARDINALS
Arizona clinches NFC West division title with:

1) ARI win + SF loss or tie OR
2) ARI tie + SF loss

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Philadelphia clinches a playoff spot with:

1) PHI win or tie + NYG loss or tie OR
2) PHI win + DAL win or tie

GREEN BAY PACKERS
Green Bay clinches a playoff spot with:

1) GB win + DAL loss OR
2) GB win + NYG loss or tie OR
3) GB tie + NYG loss

And finally, the start time of two games, one each in Week 15 and Week 16, has been modified for the sake of the network with the doubleheader. On December 20th Green Bay @ Pittsburgh has been moved to 4:15 for Fox and on December 27th Denver @ Philadelphia has been moved to 4:15 for CBS. The originally slotted NBC games have not been altered and remain Minnesota @ Carolina this Sunday and Dallas @ Washington next Sunday. The Week 17 schedule grid will not be set in stone until Tuesday the 29th so that games of relatively maximum importance can be showcased at 4:15 on CBS and Fox and at night on NBC.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: