Tuesday, December 15, 2015

NFL Playoff Picture after Week 14


Now that was a great Monday night game! Two 5-7 teams battling it out for a chance to get smoked in the playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, Buffalo is out. These posts are meant to show how the playoff picture evolves over the final weeks of the season, but it really just shows how quickly the Bills get eliminated. That loss to Philly was a killer.

To make things a bit more useful, I'm adding the remaining games for each team in the hunt.

NFC

Week 11   Week 12    Week 13   Week 14   Week 15   Week 16   Week 17
Car 10-0  Car 11-0   Car 12-0  Car 13-0  at NYG    at Atl    vs TB
Ari  8-2  Ari  9-2   Ari 10-2  Ari 11-2  at Phi    vs GB     vs Sea
GB   7-3  Min  8-3   GB   8-4  GB   9-4  at Oak    at Ari    vs Min     
NYG  5-5  Was  5-6   Was  5-7  Was  6-7  vs Buf    at Phi    at Dal
Min  7-3  GB   7-4   Min  8-4  Sea  8-5  vs Cle    vs Stl    at Ari
Atl  6-4  Sea  6-5   Sea  7-5  Min  8-5  vs Chi    vs NYG    at GB
--------  --------   --------  --------  --------  --------  --------
TB   5-5  Atl  6-5   TB   6-6  TB   6-7  at Stl    vs Chi    at Car
Sea  5-5  TB   5-6   Atl  6-6  Atl  6-7  at Jax    vs Car    vs NO  
          NYG  5-6   Phi  5-7  Phi  6-7  vs Ari    vs Was    at NYG
          Chi  5-6   NYG  5-7  NYG  6-7  vs Car    at Min    vs Phi 
                     Chi  5-7

Seems like five of six teams are set in the NFC, with just the East champ to be decided. Seattle's dismantling of the Vikings gives them the coveted fifth seed and a trip to Washington, Philadelphia, or New York. Cardinals need a win over Philly or Green Bay to clinch the West, otherwise the final week will decide that championship, assuming Seattle wins their next two. Packers can still take the second seed by winning out and hoping Seattle beats Arizona. The four 6-7 teams are so ordered due to the following: Tampa Bay beat Atlanta twice and Philadelphia beat the Giants, while Tampa Bay beat the Eagles. Thus Buccaneers are the 7th seed. In the next step, it is Atlanta vs Philadelphia and the Falcons won that matchup back in Week 1, so they take 8th, and obviously Philly takes 9th. Also rather obvious is that the Buccaneers and Falcons have almost no chance at making the playoffs, but they are included for completeness.

AFC

Week 11   Week 12    Week 13   Week 14   Week 15   Week 16   Week 17
NE  10-0  NE  10-1   Cin 10-2  NE  11-2  vs Ten    at NYJ    at Mia
Cin  8-2  Cin  9-2   Den 10-2  Cin 10-3  at SF     at Den    vs Bal
Den  8-2  Den  9-2   NE  10-2  Den 10-3  at Pit    vs Cin    vs SD
Ind  5-5  Ind  6-5   Ind  6-6  Ind  6-7  vs Hou    at Mia    vs Ten
Pit  6-4  KC   6-5   KC   7-5  KC   8-5  at Bal    vs Cle    vs Oak
KC   5-5  Hou  6-5   NYJ  7-5  NYJ  8-5  at Dal    vs NE     at Buf
--------  --------   --------  --------  --------  --------  --------
Hou  5-5  NYJ  6-5   Pit  7-5  Pit  8-5  vs Den    at Bal    at Cle
Buf  5-5  Pit  6-5   Buf  6-6  Oak  6-7  vs GB     vs SD     at KC
NYJ  5-5  Oak  5-6   Hou  6-6  Buf  6-7  at Was    vs Dal    vs NYJ
Oak  4-6  Buf  5-6             Hou  6-7  at Ind    at Ten    vs Jax
Jax  4-6
Mia  4-6

A race for the two wild card spots and the South crown. New England all alone at the top after Denver and Cincinnati lost, while the Bengals take the second spot with the better conference record, though the two teams play in Week 16, both with backup QBs. The Colts win over Houston a few weeks back gives them the division for now but the two play again next week. KC has the best conference record of the 8-5 teams, with the Jets second. KC should win out, while both the Jets and Pittsburgh have one tough opponent each. If they finish tied and with identical conference records, the final playoff spot would come down to common games, and Pittsburgh owns that tiebreaker, mainly because they beat Oakland while the Jets lost to them. Oakland and Buffalo are essentially eliminated, but again are included for completeness.

Week 15 is pivotal and I'm excited to be seeing two key games: Chiefs at Ravens and Cardinals at Eagles. Check back for updates on those and the playoff picture next Tuesday.

Best,

Sean

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