NFL Playoff Picture Week 14 & TV Maps Tri State Area

*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

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