NFL Playoff Picture After Week 12

With a slightly different layout here is the playoff picture, starting in the AFC:

BYES:

1. New York Jets (9-2, head-to-head tiebreaker on New England in division)

2. Baltimore (8-3, head-to-head tiebreaker on Pittsburgh in division)

WILDCARD MATCHUPS

6. Pittsburgh (8-3) @ 3. Kansas City (7-4)

5. New England (9-2) @ 4. Jacksonville (6-5, head-to-head tiebreaker on Indianapolis for division)

IN THE HUNT

7. San Diego (6-5, conference record on Miami and Indianapolis)

8. Indianapolis (conference record same as Miami, nfl.com ranks Colts higher, next tiebreaker is record against common opponents)

9. Miami

10. Houston (5-6, head-to-head on Tennessee for divisional rank, then head-to-head on Oakland)

11. Tennessee (head-to-head on Oakland)

12. Oakland

PLANNING FOR 2011

13. Cleveland (4-7)

14. Denver (3-8)

MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED

15. Buffalo (2-9, head-to-head on Cincinnati)

16. Cincinnati

What I wrote last week about the AFC still seems to be largely true; New York, New England, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh all won which only strengthens their good positions to make the playoffs.  Though not currently leading their divisions I think you have to favor Indianapolis and San Diego to eventually win the South and West, and it would take 2 teams in one or the other of the divisions to have a hot finish to factor in the wildcard picture.  The team most likely to re-enter is Miami; they still have a remaining game with both the Jets and Patriots; winning out puts them within one game of whoever loses the New York/New England Monday Night showdown, and both of those teams have other loseable games remaining.  Its not a likely scenario, but it is possible.  Of course either Baltimore or Pittsburgh could lose a couple remaining games, but the Dolphins would need a clean pass or other scenarios as they lost to both teams.

NFC

BYES:

1. Atlanta (9-2)

2. Chicago (8-3)

WILDCARD MATCHUPS:

6. New York Giants (7-4, conference record on Green Bay, same conference record as Tampa nfl.com ranks the Giants ahead the next tiebreaker would be record against common opponents which would be Washington, Detroit, Carolina, and Seattle) @ 3. Philadelphia (7-4, head-to-head tiebreaker on New York for division)

5. New Orleans (8-3) @ 4. St. Louis (5-6, head-to-head tiebreaker on Seattle for division)

IN THE HUNT

7. Tampa Bay (7-4, conference record on Green Bay)

8. Green Bay

9. Seattle (5-6, conference record on Washington)

10. Washington

12. San Francisco (4-7 & listed in this column for divisional title purposes only)

PLANNING FOR 2011:

11. Minnesota (4-7, conference record on San Francisco)

13/14. Dallas/Arizona (3-8 & same conference record)

15. Detroit (2-9)

MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED:

16. Carolina (1-10)

For the record on the bottom of the table the Lions may also be mathematically eliminated; the best they can do is tie for 6th on the raw numbers and I do not believe they can win a tie in the division standings with Green Bay at 7-9 as they would have a worse record in common games. But I will hold off putting them in that category for now as they can still tie for 6th theoretically and the NFL, to my knowledge, did not yet release an official playoff scenarios list publicly.  As for the top of the standings, like the AFC, the basic analysis from last week remains unchanged although the order of teams has changed some.  Its still a matter of 7 teams fighting for the 5 spots that will go to good teams, and Washington missed a golden opportunity to get within 1 game of 6th losing the same week both Bays lost.  As for the West, St. Louis has the worst division record of the 3 teams fully alive but their one win was the only game to date against Seattle.  My hunch is this division will be “won” by a team that goes 8-8 with either 4 or 5 wins in division games, which would more so favor the Seahawks or 49ers.  I also suspect the “winner” of this division will be the largest home underdog in the history of the NFL Playoffs come January 8th or 9th.

 

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