Archive for November, 2012

NFL Standings & Playoff Picture After Week 12

November 27, 2012

The current standings in the AFC:

1. Houston (10-1)

2. Baltimore (9-2)

3. New England (8-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Denver]

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis (7-4)

6. Pittsburgh (6-5) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Cincinnati]

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati

8. Miami (5-6)

9. San Diego (4-7) [conference record tiebreaking on Tennessee & New York {head-to-head tiebreaking on Buffalo for division rank}]

10. New York [record against opponents that will be common with Tennessee]

11. Tennessee [conference record tiebreaking on Buffalo]

12. Buffalo

13. Cleveland (3-8) [record against opponents that will be common with Oakland]

14. Oakland

Mathematically Alive

15. Jacksonville (2-9)

Mathematically Eliminated

16. Kansas City (1-10)

Projected Playoff Schedule:

Indianapolis @ Denver Saturday January 5th at 4:30pm on NBC

Pittsburgh @ New England Sunday January 6th at 4:30pm on CBS

Lower wildcard winner @ Houston Saturday January 12th at 4:30pm on CBS

Higher wildcard winner @ Baltimore Sunday January 13th at 4:30pm on CBS

Lower seed @ Higher seed Sunday January 20th at 6:30pm on CBS

The four division leaders continue to separate themselves from the pack; all of them can clinch a playoff spot this weekend.  Pittsburgh’s loss to Cleveland drops them into a tie with the Bengals for the last playoff spot but both teams control their destiny with a rematch looming two days before Christmas.  There also remains a large pack of teams within two games of the 6th spot with Miami the only team that managed to distinguish themselves with a win last week.  A team to keep an eye on would be San Diego.  They don’t completely control their destiny, but their next two games are with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, followed by three winnable games at the end of the season.  And if they did get to 9-7 that would be an 8-4 conference record.  Norv Turner’s Chargers have made late season runs in the past, but this could also be the season the whole thing implodes, especially given the way they lost Sunday, allowing Ray Rice to convert a 4th & 29.

NFC

1. Atlanta (10-1)

2. San Francisco (8-2-1)

3. Chicago (8-3)

4. New York (7-4)

5. Green Bay (7-4)

6. Seattle (6-5) [conference record drops Tampa from tie, then head-to-head on Minnesota]

In the Hunt

7. Tampa [head-to-head on Minnesota]

8. Minnesota

9. Washington (5-6) [{head-to-head on Dallas for division rank} head-to-head on New Orleans

10. New Orleans [strength of victory tiebreaker on Dallas]

11. Dallas

12. St. Louis (4-6-1)

Mathematically Alive

13. Detroit (4-7) [conference record on Arizona]

14. Arizona

15. Carolina (3-8) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Philadelphia]

16. Philadelphia

Projected Playoff Schedule

Green Bay @ New York Saturday January 5th at 8pm on NBC

Seattle @ Chicago Sunday January 6th at 1pm on Fox

Higher wildcard survivor @ San Francisco Saturday January 12th at 8pm on Fox

Lower wildcard survivor @ Atlanta Sunday January 13th at 1pm on Fox

Lower seed @ Higher seed Sunday January 20th at 3pm on Fox

Chicago has moved back into 1st place in the North.  Washington greatly improved their standing with their Thanksgiving win over Dallas; if they can beat New York Monday night they move into one game of the division lead.  The 2nd wildcard remains a fluid situation; if New Orleans had won Sunday they would’ve been the 6th seed, but instead they are several spots out.  Minnesota lost to both Tampa and Seattle this season, but they still have both games remaining with the Packers, the first game being this Sunday.  Of course, that could also be a death knell should they lose those games.  If the regular refs had been working all season the Packers would be leading the North as the #3 seed and Tampa would be in the playoffs instead of Seattle.

And here are the various playoff clinching scenarios for this coming weekend:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches NFC South Division:

1) ATL win + TB loss or tie

2) ATL tie + TB loss

Atlanta clinches a playoff berth:

1) ATL win + SEA loss or tie

2) ATL tie + SEA loss + MIN loss

HOUSTON TEXANS

Houston clinches a playoff berth:

1) HOU win or tie

2) MIA loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

3) MIA loss or tie + CIN loss or tie

4) PIT loss + CIN loss

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division:

1) BAL win + CIN loss

Baltimore clinches a playoff berth:

1) BAL win

2) BAL tie + CIN loss + MIA loss or tie

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches AFC East Division:

1) NE win

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division:

1) DEN win

2) DEN tie + SD loss or tie

3) SD loss

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NFL Playoff Picture After Week 11

November 20, 2012

Here are the standings in the AFC:

1. Houston (9-1)

2. Baltimore (8-2)

3. New England (7-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Denver]

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis (6-4) [conference record tiebreaker on Pittsburgh]

6. Pittsburgh

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati (5-5)

8. San Diego (4-6) [conference record on Tennessee & New York {division record tiebreaking on Buffalo & Miami}]

9. New York [record against opponents that will be common with Tennessee]

10. Tennessee [head-to-head tiebreaker on Buffalo {head-to-head tiebreaker on Miami for division rank}]

11. Buffalo

12. Miami

Mathematically Alive

13. Oakland (3-7)

14. Cleveland (2-8)

Playing for 2013

15. Jacksonville (1-9) [conference record tiebreaker on Kansas City]

16. Kansas City

Projected Playoff Schedule:

Indianapolis @ Denver Saturday January 5th at 4:30pm on NBC

Pittsburgh @ New England Sunday January 6th at 4:30pm on CBS

Lower wildcard winner @ Houston Saturday January 12th at 4:30pm on CBS

Higher wildcard winner @ Baltimore Sunday January 13th at 4:30pm on CBS

Lower seed @ Higher seed Sunday January 20th at 6:30pm on CBS

This past weekend’s games served to solidify the top 4 seeds in the conference, with all division leaders having leads of 2 or 3 games on their closest pursuer.  Despite losses the Steelers and Colts maintain a lead on the pack for the wildcards, with only Cincinnati able to draw within one game.  There is a mess of teams at 4-6 with any of them having a puncher’s chance to warm up down the stretch and get to 9-7, which given that the AFC is a whole is -10 against the NFC, that could certainly be good enough to make the playoffs.

NFC

1. Atlanta (9-1)

2. San Francisco (7-2-1)

3. Green Bay (7-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Chicago for division lead]

4. New York (6-4)

5. Chicago (7-3)

6. Minnesota (6-4) [conference record tiebreaker on Seattle & Tampa]

In the Hunt

7. Seattle [conference record tiebreaker on Tampa]

8. Tampa

9. Dallas (5-5) [record against opponents that will be common with New Orleans]

10. New Orleans

11. Washington (4-6) [conference record tiebreaker on Detroit & Arizona

12. Detroit [conference record tiebreaker on Arizona]

13. Arizona

Mathematically Alive

14. St. Louis (3-6-1)

15. Philadelphia (3-7)

Playing for 2013

16. Carolina (2-8)

Projected Playoff Schedule

Chicago @ New York Saturday January 5th at 8pm on NBC

Minnesota @ Green Bay Sunday January 6th at 1pm on Fox

Higher wildcard survivor @ San Francisco Saturday January 12th at 8pm on Fox

Lower wildcard survivor @ Atlanta Sunday January 13th at 1pm on Fox

Lower seed @ Higher seed Sunday January 20th at 3pm on Fox

A couple playoff positions changed this week; the Packers winning coupled with the Bears losing moved Green Bay into the lead of the North, while the 49ers win over the Bears also moved them into the 2nd bye seed by a half game.  Also, Minnesota moved into a playoff spot by not playing, as Tampa’s win moved them into the tie with the Vikings and Seahawks.  As an illustration of how fluid these scenarios can be, this helped the Vikings as they used their better conference record to win this tie, instead of losing a head up tie with the Seahawks based on an on-field result.  The teams at 4-6 I have listed “in the hunt” but again given the NFC’s +10 margin in cross-conference games, these teams need to win out to 10-6 to have a realistic chance.  The Lions are in an especially weak spot given they are last in the 2 division by two full games with bad divisional tiebreakers.

And lastly, there is actually one team that can clinch a playoff spot this coming weekend; the Houston Texans.  Their scenarios to clinch this week are as follows:

Texans win + Titans loss or tie + Dolphins loss or tie + Jets loss or tie + Bengals loss + Chargers loss or tie OR

Texans win + Titans loss or tie + Dolphins loss or tie + Jets loss or tie + Bengals loss or tie + Steelers loss

Current NFL Standings After Week 10

November 13, 2012

In the coming weeks I hope to use this space to resume what I did last season, and offer the current standings in both the AFC and NFC 1-16 and any analysis that seems pertinent.  Please note that my methodology to break ties that go beyond conference record is to use record in common games even when what has been played thus far is less than the minimum of 4 games for both teams; I am using record against opponents that will be common by the end of the season assuming that at least 4 such games will be played (in a two team tie where the two teams are in different divisions and will NOT play each other the schedule rubric means that 5 such games will be played). As such, my rankings will at this point in the season sometimes differ from what is posted on NFL.com. It is also important to note that multi-team ties that involve multiple divisions AND two or more of the teams are from the same division, division ranking takes precedent.  That is, a team that is ranked for example 3rd in its division cannot be ranked higher than the team that is ranked 2nd in that division.  I will start in the AFC

Playoff Teams

1. Houston (8-1)

2. Baltimore (7-2)

3. New England (6-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Denver]

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis (6-3) [conference record tiebreaker on Pittsburgh]

6. Pittsburgh

In the Hunt

7. San Diego (4-5) [conference record on Miami and Cincinnati]

8. Miami [head-to-head on Cincinnati]

9. Cincinnati

10. Tennessee (4-6)

11. Oakland (3-6) [record against opponents that will be common by season’s end with New York {head-to-head for divisional rank with Buffalo}]

12. New York [head-to-head on Buffalo]

13. Buffalo

Mathematically Alive

14. Cleveland (2-7)

15. Jacksonville (1-8) [conference record tiebreaker with Kansas City]

16. Kansas City

There are six teams in the conference with 6 or more wins, they are the current playoff teams, and they have at least a two game lead on the rest of the conference.  New England, Houston, and Denver also have two game leads in their division; Denver can grow that lead if they finish a sweep of San Diego this Sunday, while Baltimore will look to strengthen its lead on the North Sunday night against a Steeler team that may be missing its quarterback.  The Steelers, conversely, can take the division lead with a win.  The AFC as a whole is -9 against the NFC in cross-conference play, which means a team or two making the playoffs at 9-7 is a distinct possibility, a fact that certainly gives hope to the gaggle of teams currently with 3 or 4 wins.  That currently describes 7 teams; one would think that a couple of them might be able to put together a strong 2nd half and contend for a playoff spot.

NFC

1. Atlanta (8-1)

2. Chicago (7-2)

3. San Francisco (6-2-1)

4. New York (6-4)

5. Green Bay (6-3)

6. Seattle (6-4) [head to head tiebreaker on Minnesota]

In the Hunt

7. Minnesota

8. Tampa Bay (5-4)

9. New Orleans (4-5) [conference record drops Detroit & Arizona from tie, then strength of victory tiebreaker compared to Dallas]

10. Dallas [conference record on Detroit & Arizona

11. Detroit [conference record on Arizona]

12. Arizona

13. St. Louis (3-5-1)

14. Philadelphia (3-6) [division record tiebreaker on Washington]

15. Washington

Mathematically Alive

16. Carolina (2-7)

Given that the NFC is +9 against the AFC, it makes sense that there would be a couple teams above .500 that would currently miss the playoffs; Minnesota and Tampa would currently suffer that fate.  The tie San Francisco took last weekend makes this coming Monday’s game with the Bears very important; a loss means it’ll be a tough road to get a bye seed, and it would leave them a scant 1/2 game ahead of Seattle for the division.  If there had never been a referee lockout early in the season, the Packers would be leading the North and the Seahawks would be out of the playoffs but in the hunt, an impact I will try to keep an eye on as the season unfolds.  Atlanta is seemingly comfortable in the South despite last week’s loss to New Orleans, but everything else in the NFC is still a jumble.  Given again their +9 cross-conference record its very likely that 10-6 at minimum will be needed to make the playoffs, and even that might not be a guarantee, at least outside winning the East division.  I have the Eagles and Redskins listed as in the hunt (they play each other this Sunday) given that winning out gets them to 10-6, but I would consider either of them winning out to the playoffs unlikely at this juncture.