Week 12 is past us, as Thanksgiving is behind us. The NFL season is already beginning to look towards playoffs. And unlike last year, the Saints won't get to just worry about seeding, we have to worry about getting in. Below I did some research for either A)informational purposes. B) entertainment (since football is just a game [punches self for saying that]). C) Craps and giggles. D) Meat structure with possible cheese and some bread.
So if you want to, read on and see how the Saints playoff situation looks with just 5 games left to change anything.
First off, we need to know the standings (which I'm sure you have memorized like your wife's anniversary [it's next Saturday since I know you forgot]). So let's take a look at them...
The Current standings via yahoo sports.
|Atlanta Falcons||9||2||0||.818||276||209||6-0-0||3-2-0||2-0-0||6-1-0||Won 5|
|New Orleans Saints||8||3||0||.727||265||197||4-2-0||4-1-0||3-1-0||7-2-0||Won 4|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||4||0||.636||219||223||3-2-0||4-2-0||2-2-0||5-2-0||Lost 1|
|Carolina Panthers||1||10||0||.091||140||276||1-5-0||0-5-0||0-4-0||1-7-0||Lost 5|
Now, as EVERYONE knows, the Saints are one game back of the Falcons thanks to a loss at da dome (grumbles and shakes fist angrily in the direction of FPK's locale). However, a mere tie will not win it as that one game was also a loss to said dirty birds (continues shaking angry fist). However to get into more detail, we need the NFL rules regarding playoffs and seeding. Rules come via NFL.com
TO BREAK A TIE WITHIN A DIVISION
If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.
Well the good news is that we have #13 all wrapped up in a nice..err bow. That joke comes via JND, and was too awesome for me to not
exploit use, and point out for others to see. Anyway, back to brass tacks. These rules mean that even if the Saints beat the Falcons, the Falcons are in a better situation to win the division, if not outright sweep it. Here is the schedule for the two teams after week 12.
Week 13: @Cincinnati* (2-9) @Tampa* (7-4)
Week 14: Rams* (5-6) @Carolina** (1-10)
Week 15: @Ravens* (8-3) @Seattle* (5-6)
Week 16: @Atlanta (9-2) New Orleans (8-3)
Week 17: Tampa* (7-4) Carolina** (1-10)
For reference, the asterisks on the Saints side are teams the Falcons have played and beat. Same for the asterisks on the Falcons side. ** means beat them twice. Now looking at the schedule, we still have the divisional game with the Falcons to turn this around. So in this hypothetical situation that I have constructed, we win out and the Birds lose just the one to us.
Immediately, we know that because of the first loss, this win would tie up the head to head which means we will move on to #2 on the list. Which is divisional record. In this same hypothetical, the two teams would still be tied thanks to their 5-1 records. So we immediately move on to #3, which is common games. This year, the NFC South plays: Steelers, Ravens, Browns, Bengals, Cardinals, Seahawks, 49ers, and the Rams. The final two games change on rank of last year. Continuing the hypothetical, where we win out, the Saints will have a common game record of 6-2, while the Falcons will have a common game record of.....7-1. Both records exclude division record. Ouch.
For arguments sake, lets pretend their loss to the Eagles was a loss to the 49ers (should have been *grumbles*). Now we move to #4 which is conference record. Good news here too! Saints have conference record of 9-3, as would the Falcons (either under the 49ers assumption or the real life loss to the Eagles). So we move on to #5 which is Strength of Victory. Now we are starting to move into the absurd here, so it will be harder to gauge these. But there you have it, unless the Falcons lose at least more than one game..the Saints are doomed to Wild Card even at 13-3. Meanwhile the Rams @ 5-6 are in first place (stops writing to rant to self about how Goodell sucks then continues).
Now, Saints are 13-3. Can't win the division. I have no doubt the Saints will get a wild card spot at 13-3. However, lets say they get less than that. Lets look at other scenarios, and what we would need to make sure a playoff spot is open even if Drew Brees does his best Jake Delhomme impression.
Rules for Wild card tie via same nfl link above.
TO BREAK A TIE FOR THE WILD-CARD TEAM
If it is necessary to break ties to determine the two Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.
So, lets take a quick look at other teams and their standings looking to get a coveted spot.
All of these teams (sans the obvious and possibly the Skins [but the way the NFL is who knows]) have playoff potential so lets pretend we have the same record as one of these clubs come week 17, how will we get the nod over them?
If it's the Bucs (please God no) then our divsional record will be beneficial here, especially that Week 17 matchup.
None of these teams played us this year so we can't apply the head to head rule for any. In these cases, conference record is key. So that Brown's loss becomes a little easier to overcome. So lets find out the losses of the Eagles, Giants, Skins, Bears, and Packers.
As of today, the Eagles have 3 conference losses, so we beat them.
The Giants have 2 losses from the AFC and 5 wins, so our record of 8-2 trumps based on percentages 8/10>>5/7. So we will move on to the next item of common games.
The Skins are 4-4 in the conference. We win, you have no playoff hopes. These sentences are a waste of bandwidth.
The Bears are 6-3 in the conference. We win based on percentages. 8/10 >>6/9. However this matchup will be fine so long as we watch our conference record.
Finally the Packers. Pack has a record of 5-3 (courtesy of the Falcons believe it or not). So our record of 8-2 trumps everyone here and we would get the # 5 seed heading in to face the Eagles in the Wild Card round if Week 17 were today...Yikes. So, it's a good thing we have this 16 games thing.
This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.