Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NFC Playoff Table--Week 10

The NFC playoff picture got a lot more jumbled on Sunday. As you can see, there are two new additions to the table—Green Bay (*$#!) and San Francisco. Both of them, however, enter without many tiebreakers, with San Francisco’s victory over the Vikings (*$#!) being the only one, and difficult schedules. Green Bay still has to go to Chicago, face a newly healthy Seattle and play the two best teams in the AFC East. And San Francisco has one of the hardest schedules remaining, with five games against teams leading their division, and two more against playoff contenders.

The other two contenders in the NFC West, Seattle and St. Louis, don’t have nearly as tough a road as San Francisco. Seattle doesn’t face a single .500 NFC team the rest of the way, and their sweep of St. Louis pretty much guarantees them the division. St. Louis’s schedule is harder, but they have the opportunity to obtain tiebreakers over wild card competitors Carolina and Minnesota, although both games are on the road.

The teams in the NFC East and South, while all over .500, also all face at least four more teams from the NFC playoff race, mainly consisting of teams from the two divisions. The Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Saints, Panthers and Falcons are going to play each other a lot over the final seven games, and they’re going to cannibalize each other, ruining overall and NFC records. I’d be surprised if, aside from the division winners, more then one team emerged from the fray with a record of 10-6 or better.

That means that 9-7 will likely be good enough to make the playoffs, so long as it’s the right 9-7. The key, more then anything, will be the conference record, which is why the 9-7 teams from the NFC South and NFC East are going to have problems getting in. They’re remaining schedules are heavy with NFC teams, and all of them sit at 5-4 or better overall, but only Philadelphia has a winning conference record. So if they finish at 9-7, their NFC record will likely take a hit from their three losses, putting them at a disadvantage for the tiebreaker.

Their disadvantage is the Vikings’ advantage. While the team has not been playing well of late (that is what I like to call an “understatement”), they still sit at 4-3 in the NFC. If they get to 9-7, they will have to go 5-2 to close the season, meaning that, at worst, their conference record would be a solid 7-5. And if one or both of those two losses are the “right” kind of loss (against the Jets or Dolphins), they’ll have a 9-3 or 8-4 conference record to go with tie breakers over Seattle and Carolina and possibly St. Louis. That should be enough for them to get in. Of course, in order for that to play out, they’ll have to play well enough to finish 5-2, which is a whole ‘nother story (Viva la Tarvaris Revolucion!)

[As always, the playoff table is done a bit due to formatting issues.]







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Here it is! As before, .500 teams are in bold and non contenders from the NFC are italicized. Da Bears are not in the table because they aren't contenders for the Wild Card.

Team

Record

NFC Record

Tiebreakers

Tiebreaker Games Left

Division Games Left

Opponents Left

MIN

4-5

4-3

SEA, CAR

STL

@GB, @DET, @CHI

NYJ, ARZ, MIA

NYG

6-3

5-2

ATL

@CAR, NO

DAL, PHI, WAS

@JAX, @TEN

PHI

5-4

4-3

GB, SF

CAR, ATL

@WAS, @NYG, @DAL

TEN, @IND,

DAL

5-4

3-3

CAR

NO, @ATL

@NYG, PHI,

IND, TB, DET

NO

6-3

5-1

PHI, NO

@DAL, @NYG, SF

@ATL, CAR

CIN, WAS

ATL

5-4

3-3

NONE

DAL, @PHI

NO, CAR, @TB

@BAL, @WAS,

CAR

5-4

3-3

NONE

STL, @PHI, NYG

@ATL, @NO

@WAS, PIT, BYE

SEA

6-3

5-2

NYG, STL

GB,

@SF, @AZ, SF

@DEN, SD, @TB

STL

4-5

3-3

GB

@CAR, @MIN

SF, AZ

CHI, @OAK, WAS

GB

4-5

3-4

NONE

@SEA, @SF

DET, MN, @CHI

NE, NYJ

SF

4-5

3-3

MN

@NO, GB

SEA, @SEA, @STL, AZ

DEN

1 comment:

cheswick said...

Tbird - as usual, a stout analysis of the playoff picture. Although it appears the Vikes, as of now, are still in a favorable position for that wildcard, I'm not counting on it. One month ago, that remaining schedule looked mighty fine. But now, well, you and I and every other sober Vikes fan knows the team is fully capable of losing every single one of those games.

Divisional games are never easy. You know the Pack at Lambeau is going to be tough. Detroit sucks but they could hang 300 yards passing on Smoot and his slacker DB buddies. A loss to the Bears seems automatic.

The Jets? Miami? The Vikes have certainly proved they can lose to anyone! Arizona? Yeah, maybe the Vikes have a good shot there. Course, we've said THAT before!

Keep your seatbelt on as it's going to be a very bumpy ride the rest of the way.