Thursday, November 02, 2006

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 9)

Alright - it is never to early to start looking at playoff scenarios. Since I only care about 1 team and they are in the NFC there will be little to no talk about AFC scenarios. The rule is that you either have to be .500 or close to .500 and a playoff team from last year to warrant any consideration. Here we go...

The Basics (for all of you girls, soccer fans and American males who live under rocks)

  • There are 4 Divisions in the NFC and 16 teams (4 in each division for the math challenged).
  • 6 teams make the playoffs
  • The 4 division winners + the 2 remaining teams with the best records regardless of what division they come from.
  • The Division winners with the best records get a bye.
  • Basic tiebreakers are Overall record, Head 2 Head (if applicable) then NFC record.
  • and that should cover the basics, without getting into tie breaker scenarios.
Current Playoff Scenarios (records in () are overall, NFC, divisional)

NFC East - NY Giants (5-2, 5-1, 3-0) - currently hold a 1 game lead over Dallas and Philly, but have beaten both of them on the road already. As it stands the Giants have put themselves in pefect position but there is a lot of season left and this is a tight division. Upcoming key game is home to Chicago in Week 10.
NFC North - Chicago (7-0, 6-0, 3-0) - 3 game lead over 2nd place MN is nearly a lock to win the division already. The Bears are really playing for homefield advantage throughout. Key game is @NYG in Week 10
NFC South - New Orleans (5-2, 4-1, 2-1) - the surprise team of the NFC is tied with Atlanta but the Saints beat the Falcons earlier to maintaint the lead. This division is also very tight as the Saints, Falcons and Panthers all have a shot to win this one.
NFC West - Seattle (4-3, 4-2, 2-0) - The defending NFC Champ has lost 2 in a row but has won @St. Louis who they are tied with for the division lead. Key game is STL in Week 10.

Wild Card (overall and NFC record)

IN - Atlanta (5-2, 3-2) - Overall record of 5-2 puts them in the WC drivers seat, but 3-2 NFC record needs some work or tie-breakers will not be pleasant to the dirty birds. H2H Tiebreaker - none
IN - Minnesota (4-3, 4-1) - This begins the run of 4-3 teams. MN would currently be the last WC team based on their 4-1 NFC record. Next 4 games are all very winnable games @SF, GB, @Mia, AZ. H2H Tiebreaker - Car, Sea

OUT - St. Louis (4-3, 3-2)
- 2 game losing streak has currently put them looking up at the playoff teams. With KC, Sea, Car as upcoming games the Rams are in danger of losing 5 straight and falling off this list. Key games are @ Sea Wk10 and @ Car Wk11. H2H Tiebreaker - none
OUT - Dallas (4-3, 2-2) - The Cowboys had a big win @ Carolina this week to stay in the thick of things. Like MN, Dallas has a handful of "easier" games in the coming weeks to strengthen their playoff resume. H2H Tiebreaker - Car
OUT - Philadelphia (4-4, 3-3) - Would the real Philly team please stand up? The Eagles looked like a SuperBowl contender after their 4-1 start, but 3 straight losses have turned their playoff plans into hopes. They have their bye week to figure things out and for their fans hopefully will return to their form of the first 5 weeks. H2H Tiebreaker - none
OUT - Carolina (4-4, 2-3) - The Panthers have been very "Eagle-like" this season starting 0-2, 4-0, then 0-2. 4-4 is OK but what really hurts the Panthers is that they have lost any H2H tiebreakers with MN and Dal. H2H Tiebreaker - none

One team always waits until about this time of year then rattles off a bunch of wins to get their name in the Wild Card scenarios (see Washington and Minnesota from 2005). Green Bay looks to be the only team in that category this year. Their next 4 games will either put them out or make them a team to recon with. My vote is that it will put them closer to the Brady Quinn sweepstakes than it will to Wild Card weekend. They play @Buf, @MN, NE, @Sea.

So that basically leaves us with 10 teams fighting for 6 spots. That sounds good for MN, but when you say that really you have 6 teams fighting for 2 WC spots that makes it sound a bit more daunting. This week is big for the Vikings. SanFran will not be in a tie breaker scenario with MN so the H2H is meaningless but pusing their NFC record to 5-1 would be exactly what they need to maintain their WC hold.


Anonymous said...

PLAYOFFS?PLAYOFFS?? The Queens just got destroyed and you're talking playoffs...thats a lot of kool-aid!!

Tom said...

yes, I do partake in Kool Aid consumption throughout the week. But please keep in mind this was not predictions, just a list of current playoff standings. If season ended today MN would be the final WC spot.

Kool Aid Drinkers