NFL Conference Standings & Tri State TV Maps Week 10

*UPDATE* A couple changes to the local Fox map.  At 1pm Wheeling will be showing St Louis @ Cleveland.  And at 4:15pm Youngstown will show Detroit @ Chicago.

The action starts this week with our first NFL Network Thursday Night game of the season with Oakland @ San Diego.  As for Sunday afternoon all local CBS affiliates will do a 1pm game Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts.  Fox has the doubleheader and at 1pm the 3 local markets are scheduled for 3 different games.  Pittsburgh has New Orleans @ Atlanta with Kenny Albert, Moose, and Goose.  Youngstown has St. Louis @ Cleveland with Ron Pitts and Jim Mora, Jr.  Wheeling has Washington @ Miami with Chris Myers and Tim Ryan.  At 4:15pm all local Fox affiliates are scheduled to show the NY Giants @ San Francisco with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.  And of course the NFL Red Zone Channel will offer its customary continuous live whip around the league all afternoon.  The Sunday Night game on NBC is New England @ NY Jets with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth and the Monday Night game on ESPN is Minnesota @ Green Bay with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden.  As usual this info from and subject to change.

And now for the current conference standings, with records and explanations for tiebreaking, starting with the AFC:

1. Baltimore (6-2) (division record on Cincinnati)

2. Houston (6-3)

3. New England (5-3) (division record ranks them and New York ahead of Buffalo, then head-to-head on New York)

4. San Diego (4-4) (division record ranks them and Kansas City ahead of Oakland, then record against opponents that will be common by end of season ranks them ahead of Kansas City)

5. Cincinnati (6-2)

6. Pittsburgh (6-3)

7. New York (5-3) (head-to-head on Buffalo)

8. Buffalo

9. Kansas City (4-4) (head-to-head on Oakland for division rank, then record against opponents common on Tennessee)

10. Tennessee (record against opponents common on Oakland)

11. Oakland

12. Denver (3-5) (conference record on Cleveland)

13. Cleveland

14. Jacksonville (2-6)

15. Miami (1-7)

16. Indianapolis (0-9)

The simple assumption to currently make is that the 3 top teams in the East and the North are fighting for a total of 4 playoff spots, with Houston winning the South and someone winning the West.  That’s entirely too simple something will probably come along to change things.  For starters Tennessee could still certainly win the South or enter the wildcard picture, although head-to-head losses to both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati could certainly hurt them.  Its hard to see 2nd place in the West getting a wildcard, as it would take two teams most likely going 6-2 or better down the stretch, and even that might not be enough.  This coming Thursday night game is probably somewhat more important for Oakland just because they already have two division losses.  Denver is technically still very alive in the West being only 1 game behind the other 3 teams.  In the East the 3 good teams all have 1 win and 1 loss playing each other, with a difference being that Buffalo’s record is not (yet?) padded with a win against Miami.  In the North all 3 teams have 6 wins; the Steelers haven’t taken their bye yet and in order to win the division they’ll need Baltimore to lose two more games down the stretch (and of course be ahead of Cincinnati).  For the Bengals 4 of their 8 remaining games are with the Steelers and Ravens, so they obviously have their destiny in their hands.

And the NFC:

1. Green Bay (8-0)

2. San Francisco (7-1)

3. New York (6-2)

4. New Orleans (6-3)

5. Detroit (6-2)

6. Chicago (5-3) (head-to-head on Atlanta)

7. Atlanta

8. Dallas (4-4) (conference record on Tampa)

9. Tampa

10. Philadelphia (3-5) (head-to-head on Washington)

11. Washington

12. Seattle (2-6) (head-to-head on Arizona for divisional rank, then conference record on Minnesota & Carolina)

13. Minnesota (head-to-head victories over both Carolina & Arizona)

14. Arizona (head-to-head over Carolina)

15. Carolina

16. St. Louis (1-7)

As I said last week Chicago is in a remarkably strong position for a 3rd place team because they have beaten a large number of the teams they would potentially be in the wild card queue with, and last night’s win against the Eagles simply grew that list.  Finishing ahead of Detroit would obviously strengthen their position greatly, but being in a losing tie with the Lions could actually make things worse.  I didn’t check the vagaries of the schedule to see if this is literally true, but theoretically the 49ers could mathematically clinch the West before the Thanksgiving night Harbaugh Bowl.  The Giants are in a strong position to win the East but Dallas also controls their destiny having both games with New York remaining to be played.  The South is very competitive again this season; I have a sneaking suspicion it could be decided, at least in part, by who fails to avoid getting tripped up by a Carolina team that is playing better than their 2-6 record would indicate.

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