Archive for December, 2011

NFL TV Maps for Week 17 for Tri State Area

December 29, 2011

Both CBS and Fox have doubleheaders this Sunday to conclude the regular season.  At 1pm all local CBS affiliates will show the NY Jets @ Miami with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf.  However, it should be noted that KDKA Pittsburgh would pull out of coverage of early games at approximately 4:12pm in time to do a commercial break & then the start of the Steelers game.  All local Fox affiliates will show Carolina @ New Orleans with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.  At 4:15 all local Fox affiliates will show Tampa @ Atlanta with Dick Stockton and John Lynch while all local CBS affiliates show Pittsburgh @ Cleveland with Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots.  And the NFL Red Zone Channel will offer its customary continuous live whip around the league all afternoon.  The Sunday Night game on NBC is Dallas @ NY Giants with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.  As per usual this info from the506.com and subject to change.  Happy New Year and enjoy the games!

NFL Conference Standings & Playoff Scenarios Week 17

December 27, 2011

Below are the current conference standings in the NFL along with the Week 17 playoff scenarios.  I will attempt to explain the scenarios for the 6th seed in the AFC as eloquently and succinctly as possible.  You may also note a fundamental change in assumptions when I lay out the projected TV schedule for wildcard weekend; while I have not seen confirmation of this anywhere, I am proceeding under the hunch that the NFL let NBC have both games in the Dallas v NY Giants matchup this season while making a deal with Fox that Fox would get the NFC East winner involved wildcard game.  It was the only true “win and in” game on the schedule that is not potentially affected by other games, so it was the logical game to move to NBC.  If it had not been this game it could’ve been Baltimore at Cincinnati, but even it could have been rendered moot by about 5 other games all breaking a certain way.  You will also notice this post does not have the TV maps for Week 17; as of 5 minutes ago the506.com was not updated with that information yet; when it is I will either append that info to this post or make a separate posting.  All 16 games are on Sunday and both CBS & Fox will have doubleheaders.  Without further preamble, here is the playoff picture, starting in the AFC:

1. New England (clinched bye seed) (12-3)

2. Baltimore (clinched playoff spot) (11-4) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Pittsburgh)

3. Houston (clinched #3 seed) (10-5)

4. Denver (8-7) (record in common games tiebreaker with Oakland for division rank)

5. Pittsburgh (11-4)

6. Cincinnati (9-6)

Pittsburgh @ Denver Saturday January 7th at 8pm on NBC (Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth). Cincinnati @ Houston Sunday January 8th at 1pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms). Lower winning seed @ New England Saturday January 14th at 8pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms). Higher winning seed @ Baltimore Sunday January 15th at 1pm on CBS (Greg Gumbel & Dan Dierdorf)

In the Hunt

7. Oakland (8-7) (strength of victory tiebreaker on Tennessee & New York)

8. Tennessee (record against opponents common with New York)

9. New York

Mathematically Eliminated

10. San Diego (7-8)

11. Buffalo (6-9) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Kansas City)

12. Kansas City

13. Miami (5-10)

14. Cleveland (4-11) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Jacksonville)

15. Jacksonville

16. Indianapolis (2-13)

There are 4 battles in the AFC this week: the fight for the last wildcard spot, the fight for the AFC West title, the fight for the North title and a bye seed, and for the #1 seed.  The battles for the #6 seed and for the West title & #4 seed are the most important, and to a certain degree interwoven.  Let’s look at the #6 seed situation first:

Cincinnati has a one game lead going into the final game, so for them its rather simple; a win or a tie at home against Baltimore and they have it.  Oakland, Tennessee, and New York are alive if the Bengals lose, and there are certain combinations of ties that work, and don’t work, for all of those teams.  First a quick lesson on tiebreaking procedures outside a division.  If you have a 3 or 4 team tie, and all of the involved teams did not play each other, you go thru a progression, starting with conference record.  If one team has a better record, they win.  On the other hand, if one (or 2) teams have a worse record, they are dropped, then you start from scratch with the remaining tied teams, going back to head-to-head and forward from there.  If Cincinnati loses Sunday, their conference record would be 6-6.  If New York or Oakland or Tennessee win on Sunday, their conference records would be 7-5, so in multi-team ties the Bengals are dropped and you start from scratch.  Adding another level of complexity is that Oakland can still win the West division if they have a better Sunday than Denver.  So here are the scenarios, who wins, and why:

Cincinnati, Oakland, Tennessee, and New York are all 9-7:  The Bengals are dropped due to a weaker conference record.  Oakland wins the 3-way tie based on a superior “strength of victory” as the teams they have defeated over the course of the season have a better combined record.  Entering this week by my math Oakland’s advantage is +6 wins on New York (playing an opponent with two more wins) and +7 on Tennessee (playing an opponent with 2 fewer wins).  That is too large an advantage to be erased by the final day’s outcomes around the NFL, so Oakland wins this tie.

Cincinnati, Oakland, & New York are all 9-7: Again the Bengals conference record drops them.  Then Oakland beat New York head-to-head, so the Raiders have this tie.

Cincinnati, Oakland, & Tennessee are all 9-7: The Bengals are dropped because of their conference record.  Tennessee wins this tie with Oakland on record against common opponents; by beating Houston in Week 17 the Titans would be 4-1 in those games vs 3-2 for Oakland.

Cincinnati, Tennessee, & New York are all 9-7: Drop the Bengals.  Tennessee also wins this tie on record against common opponents, again with a margin of 4-1 vs 3-2.

Cincinnati & Oakland are 9-7: Oakland on conference record

Cincinnati & New York are 9-7: This is the only combination that works for New York, again on conference record.

Cincinnati & Tennessee are 9-7: This is the Bengals back door scenario; if New York loses and Oakland either loses or wins the West the Bengals defeated Tennessee and win a head-to-head tie with the Titans.  Or of course if everyone loses and the Bengals are alone at 9-7 that works for them.

As I alluded to above, teams that need Oakland to NOT be a part of a certain tie have two ways to achieve that.  They can have the Raiders lose or tie their game with San Diego.  Or, they can have the Raiders win & by doing so win the West division.  Obviously, if they win the West they’re not in the wildcard situation.  To win the West Oakland must finish ahead of Denver, who they enter the week tied with, due to Denver having a 1 game advantage against common opponents.

As far as the North division and a bye seed, and the #1 overall seed in the AFC are concerned, those have many fewer moving parts and are therefor very straightforward.  Baltimore wins a tie with Pittsburgh on head-to-head sweep, so the Steelers must have a better weekend than the Ravens.  The Patriots have the #1 seed if they win or tie.  However, if they lose and the Ravens win Baltimore wins this tie on strength of victory; the Ravens advantage is an iron-clad +12.  If the Patriots lose and Pittsburgh wins and wins the North, the Steelers have this tie on head-to-head.

Now for the NFC:

1. Green Bay (clinched #1 seed) (14-1)

2. San Francisco (clinched division) (12-3) (conference record on New Orleans)

3. New Orleans (clinched division) (12-3)

4. New York (8-7) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Dallas)

5. Detroit (10-5)

6. Atlanta (9-6)

Atlanta @ New Orleans Saturday January 7th at 4:30pm on NBC (Tom Hammond & Mike Mayock).  Detroit @ New York Sunday January 8th at 4:30pm on Fox (Joe Buck & Troy Aikman). Higher winning seed @ San Francisco Saturday January 14th at 4:30pm on Fox (Kenny Albert, Moose, & Goose).  Lower winning seed @ Green Bay Sunday January 15th at 4:30pm on Fox (Joe Buck & Troy Aikman).

In the Hunt

7. Dallas (8-7) (alive in NFC East race only)

Mathematically Eliminated

8. Seattle (7-8) ([head-to-head on Arizona for division rank] head-to-head-to-head on Philadelphia & Chicago)

9. Chicago (conference record drops Philadelphia from tie, then record against opponents common with Arizona)

10. Arizona (head-to-head on Philadelphia)

11. Philadelphia

12. Carolina (6-9)

13. Washington (5-10)

14. Tampa Bay (4-11)

15. Minnesota (3-12)

16. St. Louis (2-13)

The competitive races in the NFC are for who wins the East and gets the #4 seed, who gets the #2 seed and the bye that goes with, and to sort out who is seeded 5th & 6th.  All of these races are between two teams and very straightforward.  New York & Dallas are tied and playing each other this Sunday night; the Giants won the first meeting and can therefor afford a tie game whereas Dallas must win.  San Francisco has a better conference record than New Orleans and therefor gets the #2 by beating St. Louis Sunday; the Saints need to have a better Sunday than the 49ers to jump in front.  Detroit has a 1 game lead on Atlanta for the #5 seed but if the Lions lose at Green Bay and Atlanta beats Tampa, the Falcons jump in front based on a head-to-head victory.  Normally I would tell both teams to not sweat that detail too much, but this year I see a definite advantage in being #5 and playing the “winner” of the East as opposed to being #6 and facing a trip to New Orleans or San Francisco in the wildcard round.

In summary, the AFC is the more interesting conference to watch this week, particularly in the late afternoon when the 4 AFC North and AFC West games will be played.  Below are the official playoff scenarios from NFL.com:

NFC

CLINCHED:

Green Bay Packers — North Division and home-field advantage through NFC playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers — West Division.

New Orleans Saints — South Division.

Detroit Lions — Wild-card spot.

Atlanta Falcons — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Arizona, Carolina, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SF win

2) SF tie + NO loss or tie

3) NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

1) NO win + SF loss or tie

2) NO tie + SF loss

NEW YORK GIANTS

Giants clinch NFC East Division with:

1) NYG win or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas clinches NFC East Division with:

1) DAL win

AFC

CLINCHED:

New England Patriots — East Division and a first-round bye.

Houston Texans — South Division.

Baltimore Ravens — Wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Miami, San Diego

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) NE win or tie

2) BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye with:

1) BAL win

2) BAL tie + PIT loss or tie

3) PIT loss

Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) BAL win + NE loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie

2) PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs  with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie + NE loss

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division with:

1) DEN win

2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie

3) OAK loss

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Oakland clinches AFC West Division with:

1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie

2) OAK tie + DEN loss

Oakland clinches a wild-card spot with:

1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie

2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Cincinnati clinches a wild-card spot with:

1) CIN win or tie

2) NYJ loss or tie + OAK loss or tie

3) NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

NEW YORK JETS

Jets clinch a wild-card spot with:

1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie

2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

TENNESSEE TITANS

Tennessee clinches a wild card spot with:

1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie

2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie

3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win

NFL Standings, Playoff Scenarios, & Week 16 TV Maps

December 21, 2011

There is one final Thursday Night game this week on the NFL Network and its Houston @ Indianapolis with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock.  The “regular” schedule this week is on Saturday because of Sunday being Christmas Day.  At 1pm all local Fox affiliates will show St. Louis @ Pittsburgh with Dick Stockton and John Lynch.  At 1pm CBS in Youngstown and Wheeling will show Cleveland @ Baltimore with Spero Dedes and Rich Gannon.  CBS Pittsburgh is contractually obligated to not show a 1pm game, so at 4:05pm they will show San Diego @ Detroit with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf.  At 4:15pm all local Fox affiliates will show Philadelphia @ Dallas 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 Saturday.  There is no night game Saturday; NBC’s game is in the usual time slot Sunday (Christmas) night and its Chicago @ Green Bay with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.  There is one final Monday Night game this season and its Atlanta @ New Orleans with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden.  As always this info from the506.com and subject to change.  Enjoy the games.

And now for the playoff picture, starting with the AFC:

Playoff Seeds:

1. New England (clinched division) (11-3)

2. Baltimore (clinched playoff spot) (10-4) ([head-to-head on Pittsburgh for division rank] head-to-head on Houston)

3. Houston (clinched division)

4. Denver (8-6)

5. Pittsburgh (clinched playoff spot) (10-4)

6. New York (8-6) (record against opponents common with Cincinnati)

New York @ Houston Saturday January 7th at 4:30pm on NBC (Tom Hammond & Mike Mayock).  Pittsburgh @ Denver Sunday January 8th at 4:30pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms).  Lower winning seed @ New England Saturday January 14th at 8pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms).  Higher winning seed @ Baltimore Sunday January 15th at 1pm on CBS (Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf).

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati

8. Tennessee (7-7) (record against opponents common with Oakland {head-to-head with San Diego for division rank])

9. Oakland

10. San Diego

11. Kansas City (6-8) (alive for AFC West title only)

Mathematically Eliminated

12. Miami (5-9) (head-to-head with Buffalo)

13. Buffalo

14. Cleveland (4-10) (head-to-head with Jacksonville)

15. Jacksonville

16. Indianapolis (1-13)

New York currently has tiebreaking advantage on Cincinnati because of a 1/2 game better record against common opponents.  However, should they both win out to 10-6 that half game would get erased, kicking the tiebreaking down to strength of victory.  If my calculations are correct New York’s defeated opponents (adding in wins the final two games) currently have 6 more wins than Cincinnati’s defeated opponents.  That could change however with two weeks to go.  If both teams stumble it could let Tennessee or Oakland back into the mix.  If the Jets loss was their Week 17 game with Miami, then the Titans and Raiders would have a better conference record than both New York and Cincinnati.  Denver could also end up a wildcard, but they would have to win this week, then lose Week 17 while seeing the Raiders win both remaining games (plus have New York and Cincinnati lose a game).  The Chargers also have a wildcard scenario, but it takes more help.  Even to win the division they need to win both remaining games while having Denver lose twice.  Kansas City is also alive for the division, but must win twice, have Denver lose twice, and have the team that wins the Week 17 San Diego v Oakland game first lose their game this weekend.

At the top of the conference last week was obviously a beautiful one for New England.  They officially clinched the division while seeing all 3 teams they are vying for a bye seed and homefield advantage all lose.  Baltimore and Pittsburgh both clinched wildcard spots, with the Ravens remaining in control of the division.  The Ravens are also in control of the getting the 2nd bye seed with two wins unless New England loses a game and Houston wins out, which would rob the Ravens of the chance to use their head-to-head advantage on the Texans.  If the Ravens lose a game then Houston would get the 2nd bye seed as they have head-to-head on Pittsburgh, again unless New England loses a game.  2nd place in the North cannot do worse than the #5 seed.

NFC:

Playoff Seeds

1. Green Bay (clinched division & bye seed) (13-1)

2. San Francisco (clinched division) (11-3) (conference record on New Orleans)

3. New Orleans (clinched playoff spot)

4. Dallas (8-6)

5. Atlanta (9-5) (head-to-head on Detroit)

6. Detroit

Atlanta @ Dallas Saturday January 7th at 8pm on NBC (Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth). Detroit @ New Orleans Sunday January 8th at 1pm on Fox (Joe Buck & Troy Aikman).  Higher winning seed @ San Francisco Saturday January 14th at 4:30pm on Fox (Kenny Albert, Moose, & Goose).  Lower winning seed @ Green Bay Sunday January 15th at 4:30pm on Fox (Joe Buck &  Troy Aikman)

In the Hunt

7. Seattle (7-7) ([head-to-head on Arizona for division rank] head-to-head on Chicago after conference record drops New York from tie)

8. Chicago (conference record on Arizona and New York)

9. New York (head-to-head on Arizona) (alive for NFC East title only)

10. Arizona

11. Philadelphia (6-8) (alive for NFC East title only)

Mathematically Eliminated

12. Carolina (5-9) (head-to-head on Washington)

13. Washington

14. Tampa Bay (4-10)

15. Minnesota (2-12) (conference record on St. Louis)

16. St. Louis

Atlanta and Detroit will claim the wildcard spots with one more win each.  If either should lose both remaining games then they can let other teams into the mix.  Seattle if they get to 9-7 would be in the best shape.  Arizona would also be in good shape unless Chicago were also 9-7.  Chicago would be in good shape if the tie did not involve Seattle.  Dallas could theoretically be the wildcard if they didn’t win the division, but they would have to beat Philadelphia, then lose to New York while also having Detroit win at least one game, have Chicago lose at least one game, have Atlanta lose twice, and have the team that wins the Week 17 Seattle v Arizona game first lose their Week 16 game.  New York cannot be the wildcard because if they end up 9-7 they win the East.  For Philadelphia to win the East they must win twice and have New York lose to the Jets this Saturday, then beat Dallas Week 17.  Dallas wins the East if they beat the Giants Week 17, regardless of what they do this weekend, or by winning this weekend along with the Giants losing.

At the top of the conference Green Bay will be the #1 seed unless they lose twice and San Francisco wins twice.  The 49ers have the tiebreaking advantage on New Orleans for the 2nd bye seed.  The Saints could lose the division to Atlanta if they lose to the Falcons this coming Monday Night, then lose Week 17 while the Falcons win their final game.

Copied below are the official clinching scenarios for this coming weekend from nfl.com:

NFC

CLINCHED:

Green Bay Packers — North Division and first-round bye.

San Francisco 49ers — West Division.

New Orleans Saints — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Carolina, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs:

1) GB win or tie

2) SF loss or tie

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye:

1) SF win + NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

New Orleans clinches NFC South Division:

1) NO win or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas clinches NFC East Division:

1) DAL win + NYG loss or tie

2) DAL tie + NYG loss

ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches a wild-card spot:

1) ATL win or tie

2) DAL loss or tie + CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie

3) NYG loss or tie + CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie

DETROIT LIONS

Detroit clinches a wild-card spot:

1) DET win or tie

2) CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie + SEA loss or tie + DAL loss or tie

3) CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie + SEA loss or tie + NYG loss or tie

4) CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie + SEA loss or tie + ATL win or tie

AFC

CLINCHED:

Houston Texans — South Division.

New England Patriots — East Division.

Baltimore Ravens — Wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Miami, Jacksonville.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches a first-round bye:

1) NE win + HOU loss or tie

2) NE win + PIT loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

3) NE tie + HOU loss

4) NE tie + PIT loss + BAL loss

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:

1) NE win + HOU loss or tie + PIT loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division:

1) BAL win + PIT loss

Baltimore clinches a first-round bye:

1) BAL win + PIT loss + HOU loss

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division:

1) DEN win + OAK loss or tie

2) DEN tie + OAK loss + SD loss or tie

Denver clinches a wild-card spot:

1) DEN win + NYJ loss + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie

NFL Playoff Picture & Week 15 TV Coverage Maps

December 13, 2011

The NFL Network has two games this weekend, starting on Thursday night with Jacksonville @ Atlanta, then on Saturday night Dallas @ Tampa Bay.  Both games at 8:30pm.  Sunday afternoon Fox has 1 game and all local affiliates are currently scheduled to show Carolina @ Houston with Ron Pitts and Charles Davis at 1pm.  At 1pm all local CBS affiliates will show Cincinnati @ St Louis with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf.  At 4:15pm Youngstown will show Cleveland @ Arizona with Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker while Pittsburgh and Wheeling will show New England @ Denver with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.  And as usual the NFL Red Zone Channel will offer its customary continuous live whip around the league all afternoon Sunday.  The Sunday Night game on NBC is Baltimore @ San Diego with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth and the Monday Night game on ESPN is Pittsburgh @ San Francisco with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden.  As always this info from the506.com.

And now for the playoff picture, starting in the AFC.  Just because I’m that bored, I am going to add projected exact start times and network and announcer assignments for the playoff games:

Playoffs as of Today

1. Houston (10-3) (conference record on New England & Baltimore [head-to-head on Pittsburgh for division rank]) (clinched division)

2. Baltimore (record against opponents common with New England)

3. New England

4. Denver (8-5)

5. Pittsburgh (10-3)

6. New York (8-5)

New York @ New England Saturday January 7th at 8pm on NBC (Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth) Pittsburgh @ Denver Sunday January 8th at 4:30pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms). Higher winning seed @ Baltimore Saturday January 14th at 8pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms) lower winning seed @ Houston Sunday January 15th at 1pm on CBS (Greg Gumbel & Dan Dierdorf)

In the Hunt

7. Tennessee (7-6) (conference games winning % on Cincinnati & Oakland)

8. Cincinnati (conference record on Oakland)

9. Oakland

10. San Diego (6-7)

Playing for 2012

11. Buffalo (5-8) (head-to-head on Kansas City) (mathematically eliminated)

12. Kansas City (mathematically eliminated)

13. Miami (4-9) (conference record on Jacksonville & Cleveland) (mathematically eliminated)

14. Cleveland (head-to-head on Jacksonville) (mathematically eliminated)

15. Jacksonville (mathematically eliminated)

16. Indianapolis (0-13) (mathematically eliminated)

All four teams at the top of the conference won last weekend.  Houston clinched their division and the other 3 are all very close to clinching their division (New England) or at least playoff spots.  What is essentially in play at this point is the West division and the 2nd wildcard.  The Jets have a 1 game lead and therefore obviously the spot is theirs if they win out.  However, if they should lose a game, particularly their game with Miami in Week 17, their tiebreaking is unsound and would then be at risk of having Tennessee, Cincinnati, or Oakland grab the spot.  In the West division the Broncos are in similarly good shape being 1 game up on the Raiders and 2 on the Chargers.  They can afford to lose either to the Pats this weekend or to the Bills on Christmas Eve so long as they win one of the two and win the Kansas City game Week 17 the division is theirs.  Losing to the Chiefs can let Oakland back in the race, and losing all 3 games down the stretch lets the always johnny-come-lately Chargers back into the race.  San Diego’s tiebreaking is not good, so they need to flat pass the Broncos to win the division.  They have better hope of winning a tiebreaker for the wildcard should it fall to 9-7, especially if the one of the two necessary Jets losses is the Miami game.

NFC

1. Green Bay (13-0) (clinched division & 1st round bye)

2. San Francisco (10-3) (conference record on New Orleans) (clinched division)

3. New Orleans (clinched playoff spot)

4. New York (head-to-head on Dallas for division)

5. Atlanta (8-5) (head-to-head on Detroit)

6. Detroit

Detroit @ New Orleans Saturday January 7th at 4:30pm on NBC (Tom Hammond & Mike Mayock) Atlanta @ New York Sunday January 8th at 1pm on Fox (Joe Buck & Troy Aikman).  Higher winner at San Francisco Saturday January 14th at 4:30pm on Fox (Kenny Albert, Moose, & Goose) lower winner at Green Bay Sunday January 15th at 4:30pm (Joe Buck & Troy Aikman).

In the Hunt

7. Chicago (7-6) (conference record on Dallas)

8. Dallas

9. Seattle (6-7) (head-to-head on Arizona)

10. Arizona

Alive Only Mathematically

11. Philadelphia (5-8)

Playing for 2012

12. Carolina (4-9) ([head-to-head on Tampa for division rank] head-to-head on Washington) (mathematically eliminated)

13. Washington (conference record on Tampa) (mathematically eliminated)

14. Tampa (mathematically eliminated)

15. Minnesota (2-11) (conference record on St. Louis) (mathematically eliminated)

16. St. Louis (mathematically eliminated)

San Francisco’s upset loss at Arizona gives the Saints a better chance at grabbing the 2nd first round bye, but they do need to finish ahead of the 49ers as it currently stands.  That result also keeps the Cardinals slim wild card chances alive; Seattle and Arizona play each one more time if the winner of that game wins out to 9-7 and has either Detroit or Atlanta lose two of three down the stretch they can steal a playoff spot.  Arizona would also need Chicago to lose twice to be at 8-8 or would need Chicago to be tied with Detroit & behind Detroit in the North division standings at 9-7.  For Chicago to have tiebreaking on Detroit they need the Lions to lose Week 17 to Green Bay while winning at Lambeau in Week 16, and also against the Vikings Week 17.  Or they could have the Lions stay ahead of them but have Atlanta lose a game as they beat the Falcons.  Since New York and Dallas play again Week 17 the best that 2nd place in the East can be (barring a tie) is 9-7; if New York is in the wildcard pool they’re not winning many tiebreakers, but Dallas could in the right combinations; in fact that is one potential complication for Seattle getting a wildcard.  To summarize, if things break right, the NFC could be a wild scramble for one or both wildcards.  Or Detroit and Atlanta could have good finishes and make the race boring.  In the East it can also be noted that if the eventual winner of the Week 17 rematch loses both games beforehand, and the eventual loser also loses at least one of the two preceding games, the Eagles can win the division at 8-8.

And now for the official clinching scenarios in Week 15 from NFL.com:

NFC

CLINCHED:
Green Bay Packers — North Division and first-round bye
San Francisco 49ers — West Division
New Orleans Saints — wild card spot

ELIMINATED:
Carolina, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington

GREEN BAY PACKERS
Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs:
1) GB win or tie
2) SF loss or tie

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans clinches South Division title:
1) NO win + ATL loss or tie
2) NO tie + ATL loss

AFC

CLINCHED:
Houston Texans — South Division

ELIMINATED:
Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Miami, Jacksonville

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches East Division title:
1) NE win
2) NE tie + NYJ loss or tie
3) NYJ loss

New England clinches a wild card spot:
1) NE tie
2) CIN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie + TEN loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore clinches a wild card spot:
1) BAL win or tie
2) NYJ loss + OAK loss or tie
3) NYJ loss + TEN loss or tie
4) OAK loss or tie + TEN loss or tie

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Pittsburgh clinches a wild card spot:
1) PIT win or tie
2) OAK loss or tie
3) TEN loss or tie
4) DEN loss
5) NYJ loss

NFL Playoff Picture Week 14 & TV Maps Tri State Area

December 6, 2011

*UPDATE* Once again the Fox map locally has been altered.  Fox Pittsburgh & Wheeling will now show New Orleans @ Tennessee with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman at 1pm.  Youngstown will wait until 4:05pm to show San Francisco @ Arizona with Dick Stockton and John Lynch (the DeBartalo factor).

This weekend’s schedule starts Thursday at 8:20pm on the NFL Network with Cleveland @ Pittsburgh with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock.  Sunday afternoon all local Fox affiliates will show at 1pm Philadelphia @ Miami with Chris Myers and Tim Ryan.  CBS has the doubleheader; at 1pm all local affiliates will show Houston @ Cincinnati with Marv Alberts and Rich Gannon and at 4:15pm will show Oakland @ Green Bay with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.  And of course the NFL Red Zone Channel will offer its customary continuous live whip around the league all afternoon Sunday.  The Sunday Night game on NBC is the NY Giants @ Dallas with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth and the Monday Night game on ESPN is St. Louis @ Seattle with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden.  As always this info from the506.com and subject to change.

For the conference standings I am going to use a similar format as the past couple weeks, with the exception that I am going to put the 7 loss teams into a “mathematically alive” category.  In the AFC this is moreso because two of them are alive in the West division race, but in the NFC because last week’s losing by several teams has brought the specter of a 9-7 wildcard into reality.

AFC

Playoff Position

1. Houston (9-3) (conference record drops Baltimore [head-to-head on Pittsburgh for division lead] from 3-way tie, then strength of victory on New England)

2. New England (conference record on Baltimore)

3. Baltimore

4. Denver (7-5) (division record on Oakland)

5. Pittsburgh (9-3)

6. Cincinnati (7-5) (conference record on New York, Tennessee, and Oakland)

The wildcard games would be Cincinnati @ Baltimore & Pittsburgh @ Denver. Houston would play the lowest remaining seed & New England the higher remaining seed divisional weekend

In the Hunt

7. Tennessee (conference record on New York & Oakland)

8. Oakland (head-to-head on New York)

9. New York

Mathematically Alive

10. Buffalo (5-7) (head-to-head on Kansas City [division record on San Diego for divisional rank])

11. Kansas City

12. San Diego

Playing for 2012

13. Cleveland (4-8) (head-to-head on Miami)

14. Miami

15. Jacksonville (3-9) (mathematically eliminated)

16. Indianapolis (0-12) (mathematically eliminated)

At the top with four teams at 9-3 its a very fluid situation for bye positions, and in the North, for simply winning the division.  The Bengals have fallen back into a tie for 6th, but they have excellent tiebreakers, with fewer losses in conference games than the teams they are tied with, except for the Titans, whom they beat head-to-head.  Denver is now taking a turn leading the West division; they split head-to-head with Oakland and both have two division losses.  If they win out Denver will maintain a 1 game lead in games against common opponents.  The Bills are not mathematically out yet, but they’re done.  They are 2 games behind with 4 games to go to teams that for the most part they do not have tiebreaking advantage with.

NFC

Playoff Position

1. Green Bay [clinched division] (12-0)

2. San Francisco [clinched division] (10-2)

3. New Orleans (9-3)

4. Dallas (7-5)

5. Atlanta (7-5) (head-to-head on Detroit [record against opponents common with Chicago for divisional rank])

6. Detroit

The wildcard games would be Detroit @ New Orleans and Atlanta @ Dallas, with Green Bay hosting the lowest seed & San Francisco the higher seed divisional weekend.

In the Hunt

7. Chicago

8. New York (6-6)

Mathematically Alive

9. Seattle (5-7) (head-to-head on Arizona)

10. Arizona

Playing for 2012

11. Philadelphia (4-8) ([head-to-head on Washington for division rank] conference record on Carolina [head-to-head with Tampa for division rank])

12. Carolina (head-to-head with Washington)

13. Washington (conference record on Tampa

14. Tampa

15. Minnesota (2-10) (conference record on St. Louis) (mathematically eliminated)

16. St. Louis (mathematically eliminated)

Frankly not much has changed from last week with the top 3 teams all winning and the 4 teams primarily competing for the other 3 spots all losing.  That losing did serve to bring Seattle and Arizona back into the race if they can win out, especially Seattle who at 9-7 would have an 8-4 conference record and win just about any ties.  The Lions are 2-5 after a 5-0 start and the Bears are not enjoying life with Caleb Hanie, and both still have to play the Packers again, so a 9-7 wildcard in the NFC is most certainly possible.

And below are the clinching scenarios for Week 14:

NFC

CLINCHED:
Green Bay Packers — North Division
San Francisco 49ers — West Division

ELIMINATED:
Minnesota, St. Louis

GREEN BAY PACKERS
Green Bay clinches a first-round bye:
1) GB win
2) GB tie + NO loss or tie
3) NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans clinches South Division title:
1) NO win + ATL loss

New Orleans clinches wild card spot:
1) NO win + DET loss
2) NO win + CHI loss

AFC

CLINCHED: None
ELIMINATED: Indianapolis, Jacksonville

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches East Division title:
1) NE win + NYJ loss

HOUSTON TEXANS
Houston clinches South Division title:
1) HOU win + TEN loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Pittsburgh clinches wild card spot:
1) PIT win + CIN loss + NYJ loss + TEN loss
2) PIT win + CIN loss + NYJ loss + DEN loss + OAK loss
3) PIT win + CIN loss + TEN loss + DEN loss + OAK loss