Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NFL Playoff Race - Final Results

Last year I posted weekly updates of the NFL playoff races, mainly so I could look back and see what transpired over the last seven weeks of the season. Now that the season is over, it's interesting to see how the playoffs developed over the last 7 weeks.

Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
1. Atl (7-2) Atl (8-2) Atl (9-2) Atl (10-2) Atl (11-2) Atl (12-2) Atl (12-3) Atl (13-3)
2. NYG (6-3) Phi (7-3) Chi (8-3) Chi (9-3) Chi (9-4) Chi (10-4) Chi (11-4) Chi (11-5)
3. Chi (6-3) Chi (7-3) Phi (7-4) Phi (8-4) Phi (9-4) Phi (10-4) Phi (10-5) Phi (10-6)
4. Sea (5-4) Sea (5-5) Stl (5-6) Stl (6-6) Stl (6-7) Stl (6-8) Stl (7-8) Sea (7-9)
5. NO (6-3) NO (7-3) NO (8-3) NO (9-3) NO (10-3) NO (10-4) NO (11-4) NO (11-5)
6. GB (6-3) GB (7-3) NYG (7-4) NYG (8-4) NYG (9-4) NYG (9-5) GB (9-6) GB (10-6)

Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
1. NYJ (7-2) NYJ (8-2) NYJ (9-2) NE (10-2) NE (11-2) NE (12-2) NE (13-2) NE (14-2)
2. Bal (6-3) Bal (7-3) Bal (8-3) Pit (9-3) Pit (10-3) Pit (10-4) Pit (11-4) Pit (12-4)
3. Ind (6-3) Jax (6-4) KC (7-4) KC (8-4) KC (8-5) KC (9-5) KC (10-5) Ind (10-6)
4. Oak (5-4) KC (6-4) Jax (6-5) Jax (7-5) Jax (8-5) Ind (8-6) Ind (9-6) KC (10-6)
5. NE (7-2) NE (8-2) NE (9-2) NYJ (9-3) Bal (9-4) Bal (10-4) Bal (11-4) Bal (12-4)
6. Pit (6-3) Pit (7-3) Pit (8-3) Bal (8-4) NYJ (9-4) NYJ (10-4) NYJ (10-5) NYJ (11-5)

Week 17 Notes

Amazingly, the NFC teams were the same as in Week 11. The Giants and Rams made it into the race since then but choked away their spots, losing to the teams that replaced them.

In the AFC, no change from week 15 other than Indy leapfrogging KC. Really a rather dull race there; Jacksonville never really had a chance.

From week 10, only 16 of the 32 teams were in the playoffs (8 in each conference), so those early games are pretty damn important. Essentially the good teams separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the first half of the season. After that it's just positioning. So scheduling all these divisional games later had a negative impact, because divisional races are not close; there's usually two good teams and two not so good teams. Better to schedule the conference games later in the season and have the best teams fighting for spots that way.

Week 16 Notes

I was in Cuba at this time, so no notes.

Week 15 Notes

Jacksonville loses to Indy and drops from 4th to 7th. New England are set for the top seed in the AFC while Atlanta has it in the NFC. The NFC West is a joke.

Week 14 Notes

No change in the NFC, with Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and Seattle all still in contention. The Jets loss pushes them to 6th but they still have a 2-game cushion with just 3 games to go.

Week 13 Notes

All 6 NFC teams won, as did Green Bay putting them 7th. The #1 and #2 AFC seeds from week 12 lost to their replacements in the two night games.

Week 12 Notes

Atlanta is 9-2?! A division leader is below .500 which may force changes to the playoff structure down the line if they finish 7-9 (they did). The final spot in the NFC is between Tampa Bay and New York. The tiebreaker would normally be record in common games, but they haven't played even 2 common games, so I went with strength of victory, which is clearly in New York's favour.

No big changes in the AFC this week, other than KC taking the third seed.

Week 11 Notes

Not many changes, just some division leaders switching places. Important to note that right now, the Colts are not in the playoffs and the Jacksonville/Oakland game I'm planning to see next month could be critical after al (it wasn't)l.

Green Bay takes the final spot based on strength of victory over Tampa Bay.

Week 10 Notes

A bunch of tiebreakers are used, some of which are a bit unfair as the number of conference games differs (for example, Baltimore is 6-2 while Indy is 4-2, hence the Ravens take 2nd). This is only for entertainment purposes, or to plan a playoff roadtrip two months hence, so don't take it too seriously.

Pittsburgh-Indianapolis and Green Bay-Chicago would be good wild card matchups while the 4th seed in both conferences is really weak. (Interesting that GB/Chicago ended up as the Championship game).

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