Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Steelers’

NFL Playoff Scenarios for Every Seed

In NFL on December 26, 2016 at 10:44 AM

I don’t talk about the NFL too much, but it’s always fun for me to analyze the playoff scenarios since there aren’t one-game playoffs and it’s much easier to tie on multiple levels with 16 games than 82 games.

I couldn’t figure this out last night without visiting a number of sites and wasting a lot of time, so I just wanted to let people know all the different playoff scenarios, not just who’s in and who’s out.

Discussions overlap, but I try to indicate which seed I’m talking about in the sections for the respective conferences.

The Tampa Bay scenario needed its own section, but if they make it they’ll be the sixth seed in the NFC. It’s probably more likely for the Buccaneers to play in snow on Sunday (which is a home game) than make the playoffs, but I thought it was interesting. You can skip it if you just want realistic scenarios.


We know all the AFC playoff teams, but we don’t know the order very well.

1 – The Patriots have the #1 seed at the moment, but the Raiders could still get that if the Dolphins beat the Patriots and the Raiders beat the Broncos. The Raiders would win the tiebreaker based on common games.

2&5 – Even though Oakland still has a chance at the #1 seed, they could fall to the #5 seed with a loss and a Chiefs win (over San Diego).

3&4 – We already know that Pittsburgh will have the #3 seed and Houston will have the #4 seed.

6 – I mentioned how the Chiefs can move up to #2 (which comes with a bye), but they can also fall to #6 with a loss to San Diego and a Miami win over New England.


In the NFC, 8 teams are still alive for six spots.

1 – The Cowboys have clinched the #1 seed, but #2 is still up in the air.

2 – If the Falcons beat the Saints, they clinch the #2 seed. If they do not and the Lions (who currently have the #3 spot) beat the Packers next week, the Lions can take the #2 seed (regardless of whether they win tonight). If there is a tie, the Lions would win based on common games.

This might be common sense to most NFL fans, but just to explain, a team must win its division to be eligible to get higher than the #5 seed. The Giants can finish with a better record than the Falcons; but since the Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and the Falcons have clinched the NFC West, the Falcons are guaranteed a higher seed than the Giants.

So other than the Lions, the only other team who can take the #2 seed is the Seahawks. This is because if Seattle beats San Francisco, the Seahawks would finish 10-5-1, which puts them ahead of Atlanta if the Falcons lose to the Saints.

3 – If the Seahawks win, the only way an NFC North team can finish higher is if the Lions win tonight and next week (which would push Seattle down to #3). If the Seahawks lose, either Lions/Packers winner gets the #3 spot.

The reason the Lions haven’t clinched the division is that the Packers (at worst) both tie them and gain the tiebreaker with a win next week. (This is more applicable to the lower seeds, but…) Neither team has clinched the playoffs because (1) either can finish 9-7 and (2) the Redskins by beating the Giants would finish 9-6-1.

4 – Seattle will finish #4 at worst because the Seahawks HAVE clinched their division.

5 – The Giants have clinched the #5 seed. The worst they can finish is 10-6. The only team who can get to 10-6 and yet not win its division is the Lions, whom the Giants beat.

6 – So that last part is one scenario in which we resolve the #6 seed. (Basically it would mean the Lions win tonight and lose next week.) A Giants win over the Redskins would also guarantee the Lions a playoff spot even if Detroit loses both games.

A Giants win over the Redskins would also guarantee the Packers a playoff spot even if the Packers were to lose.

With a win by the Redskins, however, the Packers would be eliminated with one loss and the Lions would be eliminated with two losses. Either way, eliminating the Green Bay/Detroit loser would put Washington in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay

(The only way I could make this seem like it might be interesting to an average person was to talk to myself.)

Wait a minute. A win by the Giants makes the NFC North loser safe, and a win by the Redskins potentially puts the Redskins in place of the NFC North loser. How in the world does that leave room for Tampa Bay?

Well, I didn’t say what happens if NO ONE wins the Giants/Redskins game.

So the Bucs must win, and that game must end in a tie? That’s unlikely (the tie alone is about a 300-1 chance), but I guess stranger things have happened. Is that all?

Not even close.

In my opinion, 8-6-2 should beat 9-7 (8/14=57% and 9/16=56%), but ties count as half-wins, so it doesn’t. This means that there could be a three-way tie including Washington. To help Tampa Bay, the tie must include the Packers, which means Green Bay must beat Detroit. Also, the Lions need to lose tonight, but we’ll get to why at the end.

The Redskins would then lose the tiebreaker to Green Bay and Tampa Bay based on having the worst conference record of the 3. In this case, you start over the tie breaking procedure at the beginning with the two remaining teams. Head to head doesn’t work, neither does common opponents. You need to go to strength of victory (which means beating teams with better records… for some reason, they don’t care as much about losing to teams with bad records, which the Buccaneers did more of).

But don’t the Packers have a better strength of victory than the Buccaneers?

Why, yes they do, but if only four more games (other than the ones we covered) go the right way for the Bucs, that will change: San Francisco (whom the Bucs beat) beats Seattle, Indianapolis beats Jacksonville, Dallas beats Philadelphia, and Tennessee beats Houston. The last three games matter because the Packers beat the would-be losers of those games (and also beat the Lions way back in week 3).

This was a race where a horse won despite 999-1 odds, but it only happened because he was the only horse to finish the race. The other horses were doing so badly, the rider of the winner was able to get back on his horse and complete the course. The Bucs are facing about 30,000-1 odds according to ESPN.


LSU-Alabama Post-game

In College Football, General LSU on November 3, 2012 at 10:06 PM

I think my only other blog this week will be for the top 25. Feel free to check out my updated Alabama rivalry post or the Mississippi St. one. I personally like the Mississippi St. one better.

As a Tiger fan, I’ve never been more sickened by two games in a 10-month period in my life than LSU’s two losses to Alabama this year. I’ve been sickened by, for example, losing 9 games in the 1992 season, but I can’t think of two specific games as frustrating in that short a period of time. That period of time (that was one of 6 consecutive seasons without a winning record or bowl game for LSU) seemed to last a lot longer since it lasted from ages 7 to 13, by the way.

The cumulative losses to teams like Alabama and Florida still get at me, so something like this just re-opens old wounds. I’d be better able to blow it off if we had finished 14-0 last year of course. As I mention in the rivalry blog, there is a difference of opinion as to LSU’s main rival, but for me there is no question it’s Alabama. I’m not as crazy about it as the average Auburn fan probably is; but still, if they could win only one game, I’d pick that one.

Also, for some strange reason, I’m cursed with knowing a bunch of Alabama fans. I lived in Louisiana my whole life until moving to California in 2004, but I guess because someone thought alleged football championships would translate into a good education, a few people from my high school went there, and then some home-grown Bama fans (at least they have an excuse) went to my undergraduate school.

Of course the offense in the bowl game was just useless, and the coaching staff did nothing about it. It’s a miracle that LSU was within two scores until late in the fourth quarter in that one…. But at least I didn’t have much hope for a win as the game went into the second half. What made that really bad was the effect it had upon 13 games that otherwise would have comprised the best season in generations if not the best season in LSU history. And it also gave Alabama (and Nick Saban) another national championship to claim in a year in which LSU went to Tuscaloosa and beat the Tide no less.

Today’s game unfortunately forced me to have hope even though I had written it off as a loss before kickoff. LSU was moving the ball, getting first down after first down with the lead, and for some godforsaken reason, apparently it was decided to settle down and kick a field goal (which was missed… the reason LSU won the regular-season game last year was Alabama’s repeated settling for field goals they had a good chance of missing) with a minute and a half left. But if you can move the ball with pass plays when the defense knows you’re going to have a pass play, why not keep doing it when the defense is unsure and perhaps even expecting runs? You don’t have three boring runs in the middle of the field. And then on defense, how could they not be prepared for a screen pass? Alabama is like the Bill Cowher Steelers with that play. It’s mind-boggling. I was too frustrated to notice, but if the approach to defense changed for the winning Alabama drive, that was foolhardy too.

I just think the execution was there, and the coaching was not. Mettenberger was twice as good as he was in any previous game. A lot of people (myself included) said if he had a good game, LSU would have a good chance to win. So he had a game beyond my wildest expectations and we still come away with yet another loss to this team of all teams. There is no excuse not to capitalize on such an opportunity. Once again, something different needs to be done on offense. I think Les has the offensive experience to help make the team tough, but he just doesn’t have the knack for calling plays.

It’s sad that Kragthorpe hasn’t been able to be that person due to health problems, but we are lacking a quality offensive coordinator. The committee approach, if that’s still how LSU is approaching it, doesn’t work. Let Greg Studrawa sink or swim. If Miles has already done that, then we need to look elsewhere. I know (unlike Saban) he wants to show loyalty to people, but either this guy has the ability to do the job or he doesn’t. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings, he lucked into the job in the first place. I’m sure a lot of good candidates would be interested.

I’m also concerned that Miles listened to commentators about how he needed to be “the Mad Hatter” again. Maybe once, but not three times. If LSU kicks field goals instead of faking them (although they could have unsuccessfully faked the 54-yarder and I wouldn’t have complained), and kicks field goals instead of going for it, maybe they would have had 6 more points. LSU may have also had better opportunities on offense without the on-sides kick. If Alleman had missed them all the field goal attempts after the one in the first quarter, then they would have known not to play for the field goal on the second-to-last drive (which, as mentioned, they shouldn’t have done anyway).

I wanted to give a list of the LSU drives that didn’t result in a punt, points, or the end of a half.

2nd Quarter – 5 plays, 58 yards, ball went over on downs after fake field goal pass for negative yardage on 4th and 12.
2nd Quarter – 7 plays, 54 yards, missed FG from 54 yards.
4th Quarter – 6 plays, 39 yards, ball went over on downs after LSU went for it despite being in FG range (would have been about a 40-yard attempt).
4th Quarter – 11 plays, 54 yards, missed FG from 45 yards.

This is how you out-gain a team by 100 yards, have four more first downs than the opposition, convert 10 third downs to 1 (50% to 11%), force the game’s only two turnovers, and lose.

And just to make it worse, Notre Dame had to win a game in triple overtime after all Pitt needed to do to win the game was make a 33-yard field goal in the second OT. Pitt! Which lost to the Penguins of Youngstown St., a mediocre FCS team.

But I’m not cheering for Alabama even if that turns out to be the SEC’s only hope for the BCS title game. Gig’em Aggies and War Eagle and Go Fighting Catamounts! I’ll even sing the Georgia Bulldog song or do the Gator chomp during the SEC title game. At least it won’t be Tennessee, I don’t know the words to that song, and I don’t want to.