NFL Standings After Week 14

Here are the playoff pairings and conference standings, starting in the AFC:

BYES

1. New England (clinched playoff spot) (11-2)

2. Pittsburgh (10-3)

WILDCARD WEEKEND

6. New York  @ 3. Kansas City (8-5) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Jacksonville)

5. Baltimore (9-4) (head-to-head tiebreaker on New York) @ 4. Jacksonville

IN THE HUNT

7. San Diego (7-6) (conference record on Indianapolis & Miami)

8. Indianapolis (conference record on Miami)

9. Miami

10. Oakland (6-7) [“In the Hunt” in division race]

MATHEMATICALLY ALIVE

11. Houston (5-8) (divisional tiebreaking on Tennesse, conference record on Cleveland) [“Mathematically Alive” in division race]

13. Tennessee [“Mathematically Alive” in division race]

MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED

12. Cleveland (conference record on Tennessee)

14/15. Buffalo/Denver (3-10) (conference record tied, next tiebreaker would be record in common games, didn’t bother to calculate)

16. Cincinnati (2-11)

Looking at the teams in the hunt, it is hard to picture how the Colts would end up a wildcard, as if they win out they would beat Jacksonville and win the South division, and 9-7 isn’t likely to work.  The Jaguars could be in the mix at 10-6 if their only loss is the Colts game.  San Diego also could be in the mix for a wildcard at 10-6 if Kansas City wins out.   Oakland is still alive in the West because if they win out and get to 9-7 they would be 6-0 in division games.  It would take the Chiefs losing 2 of 3 and the Chargers losing once more, but its possible.  Miami does have a chance at a wildcard, however they need either Baltimore to lose out, or lose both remaining conference games and be a multi-way tie the Dolphins win, or they need the Jets to lose to Buffalo and one other game (at Pittsburgh, at Chicago).  The NFL doesn’t seem to be releasing official clinching scenarios until Wednesday, but looking at the numbers I assume the Jets, Steelers, and Ravens could all clinch playoff spots this week and that Jacksonville could clinch the South if they beat the Colts.

As for the NFC:

BYES

1. Atlanta (11-2)

2. Chicago (9-4 (head-to-head on Philadelphia)

WILDCARD WEEKEND

6. New York (9-4) @ 3. Philadelphia (head-to-head on New York for division lead)

5. New Orleans (10-3) @ 4. St. Louis (6-7) (head-to-head on Seattle for division lead)

IN THE HUNT

7. Tampa Bay (8-5) (conference record on Green Bay)

8. Green Bay

9. Seattle (6-7) [“In the Hunt” for division race]

12. San Francisco [“In the Hunt” for division race}

MATHEMATICALLY ALIVE

13/14. Arizona (4-9) (same conference record as Dallas will have head-to-head matchup on 12/25) [“Mathematically Alive” for division race]

MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED

10. Minnesota (5-8) (conference record on Washington & San Francisco

11. Washington (conference record on San Francisco)

13/14. Dallas (see above wrt tie w/ Arizona)

15. Detroit (3-10)

16. Carolina (1-12)

This conference has officially become what we suspected for weeks; 7 good teams fighting for 5 playoff spots with a sideshow attraction known as the NFC West.   Tampa and Green Bay are at the obvious disadvantage of being a game behind.  Also, the Packers cannot win the North merely by beating Chicago as the Detroit loss means they wouldn’t win the tiebreaker; they need the Bears to lose one of their other two games.  Whoever wins this Sunday’s Giants/Eagles game obviously claims the advantage there; the Eagles could get a near mortal lock.  I will wait for tomorrow’s official word from the NFL, but I assume Atlanta and New Orleans are the only teams that can clinch a spot this weekend.  If you are curious to know how Arizona is still alive, given the best they can do is 7-9 with a 2-4 division record, the scenario they need is as follows: 1) win their remaining games, 2) San Francisco beats the Rams but loses their other 2 games and, 3) the Seattle v St. Louis game ends in a tie.  If that all happens, the Cardinals would be 1st at 7-9, with St. Louis and Seattle 6-9-1 and San Francisco 6-10.  The 49ers are more realistically alive, especially if they win out to 8-8 they would win any ties.  If St. Louis beats Seattle they can win.  If Seattle beats St. Louis they need the Seahawks to lose one of their other games; Seattle plays Atlanta and Tampa the next 2 weeks.

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