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NFC Playoff Picture and Scenarios (Week 14)

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  • Hello Everyone,

    It's that time of year again. The weather is getting colder, Christmas is around the corner, AND IT'S PLAYOFF SCENARIO time once again! Because the Seahawks are right in the middle of the NFC playoff pictures with the (hopefully) assent of the Moderators, I will post my NFC Playoff picture post in the Official Forums section. I will also post an accompanying AFC section for those interested in the NFL General forums here. As always the following letters may be found after some teams:

    UPDATE: 9PM PST 12/7/17 after Saints lose to Falcons on TNF.

    *--Clinched Home field
    z--Clinched no worse than 2nd seed (First round bye)
    y--Won Division (sometimes by a number if particular seed clinched)
    x--Clinched Playoff spot of any type
    e--Eliminated from Playoff Consideration

    With all of that said, let's get this started with a division by division look starting with the NFC East:

    Eagles 10-2 8-1 Conf 4-0 Div Remaining: @Rams, @Giants, Raiders, Cowboys
    Cowboys 6-6 5-4 Conf 3-1 Div Remaining: @Giants, @Raiders, Seahawks, @Eagles
    Redskins 5-7 4-6 Conf 1-4 Div Remaining: @Chargers, Cardinals, Broncos, @Giants
    Giants (e) 2-10 0-8 Conf 0-3 Div Remaining: Cowboys, Eagles, @Cardinals, Redskins

    Clinching Scenarios: Although the Eagles got bounced from the #1 seed thanks to their loss to Seattle, they actually have an easier path to the playoffs than Minnesota. Specifically if the Eagles win or tie *OR* the Cowboys lose or tie, then the Eagles are NFC East Champs. Why? The Cowboys are the only team that can catch the eagles and only if the eagles lose out and the Cowboys win out.

    Elimination Scenarios: The Giants are already (obviously) eliminated. The Redskins are barely breathing because the best they can do is finish 9-7 and the minimum record for any playoff team in the NFC is 8-8 right now. Their only hope is to win out and hope Seattle either loses out or loses 3 out of 4, so they could get the head to head for the last WC spot. That means that if Washington loses this Sunday and both Seattle and Carolina win, Washington is eliminated since the minimum to get any NFC playoff spot would be increased to nine games and the best Washington could finish would be 8-8. The cowboys can be eliminated from NFC East Title contention with an Eagle win and/or Cowboy loss. They can not be removed from playoff contention in week 14. Edit Addendum: Washington is also eliminated if they lose and both Seattle and Atlanta win. Because Atlanta only plays NFLS teams, they would either wind up having more than 8 wins or force another non-Division champ to have more than 8 wins eliminating Washington.

    Now let's move on to the NFC North:

    Vikings 10-2 8-1 Conf 3-1 Div Remaining: @Panthers, Bengals, @Packers, Bears
    Lions 6-6 5-4 Conf 3-1 Div Remaining: @Bucs, Bears, @Bengals, Packers
    Packers 6-6 5-4 Conf 2-2 Div Remaining: @Browns, @Panthers, Vikings, @Lions
    Bears (e) 3-9 1-9 Conf 0-4 Div Remaining: @Bengals, @Lions, Browns, @Vikings

    Clinching Scenarios: Thanks to Seattle's win last night, the Vikings now hold the number one seed over the Eagles thanks to the Strength of Victory tie-breaker. However that may not last since the Vikings have a bit more of a challenge in the division (having lost a division game) AND Green Bay seems to be getting their QB back very soon. However, the Vikings have built a big enough lead that they can clinch the NFC North with a win (or tie) this Sunday OR if both Green bay and Detroit Lose (or tie). It is worth noting that a three way tie is not possible since the Lions and Packers play each other the last week of the season. If the Vikings lose out and either Green Bay OR Detroit wins out, the Vikings lose the division and risk being out of the playoffs. So in short: If the Vikings win (or tie), they are NFC North Champs. Also if Detroit loses (or ties) AND Green Bay loses (or ties), the Vikings are also NFC North Champs.

    Elimination Scenarios: The Bears are already eliminated since you need to be able to finish at 8-8 minimum and the bears can't make it. Thanks to a week one win vs Seattle, Green Bay can not be eliminated from playoff contention even if they lose. Likewise the Lions can not be eliminated.

    Now let's move on to the NFC South:

    Saints 9-4 7-3 Conf 3-1 Div Remaining: Jets, Falcons, @Bucs
    Panthers 8-4 4-4 Conf 2-2 Div Remaining: Vikings, Packers, Bucs, @Falcons
    Falcons 8-5 7-2 Conf 2-1 Div Remaining: @Bucs, @Saints, Panthers
    Bucs 4-8 2-6 Conf 0-3 Div Remaining: Lions, Falcons, @Carolina, Saints

    Clinching Scenarios: None. (Correction, see edit below) Most of the NFC South Play each other and are within two games of each other (save the Bucs). That means that the Saints, Panthers, AND Falcons all control their own destinies. In short, it's a dogfight. Edit Correction: The panthers do not technically control their own fate since they got swept by the Saints. Panthers still very much in the hunt for the NFCS but the Panthers would have to finish with a better record than the Saints by some fashion. Both the Saints and Altanta DO control their NFCS destinies. Edit Correction: New Orleans can clinch a playoff spot (but not division) with a win against Atlanta *AND* one of the following:

    1. A Panther Loss + Lions Loss OR Cowboy Loss
    2. Lions Loss + Packers Loss

    This is similar to how the Rams can clinch (see below). Essentially if these things happen, either New Orleans wins the South, or they finish with a 10-6 record and have tie breaks against all but one other possible WC teams with potential 10-6 records.
    Atlanta beat the Saints 20-17 on 12/7/17

    Elimination Scenario: There is just one elimination scenario. If Tampa Bay loses (or ties) OR if Carolina wins (or ties), then Tampa Bay is eliminated from the playoffs. Tampa Bay is already eliminated from the NFC South. [Even if Seattle loses out and Tampa Bay wins out, Seattle is would be 2-2 in common games and Tampa would be 2-3, so Tampa loses any possible tiebreak with Seattle.] Edit Addendum: There is another elimination scenario: If Atlanta loses to the Saints, they are eliminated from the NFC South title race. Falcons won 20-17 over Saints on 12/7/17

    And now finally the division you all have been waiting for: The NFC West:

    Rams 9-3 6-3 Conf 3-1 Div Remaining: Eagles, @Seahawks, @Titans, Niners
    Seahawks 8-4 6-3 Conf 4-0 Div Remaining: @Jax, Rams, @Cowboys, Cardinals
    Cardinals 5-7 3-6 Conf 2-3 Div Remaining: Titans, @Redskins, Giants, @Seahawks
    Niners (e) 2-10 2-9 Conf 0-5 Div Remaining: @Texans, Titans, Jax, @Rams

    Clinching Scenarios: None. (see edit) Like the NFC South, the NFC West is a true dogfight between the LA Rams and Seattle Seahawks and although the Rams currently have a one game edge, Seattle has beaten the Rams, has an easier schedule down the stretch, AND has the better division record. I don't see the NFC West being settled before week 16 at the earliest. Edit: There is a scenario where the LA Rams clinch a playoff spot. This can happen if and only if all the following happen: LA Rams Win AND Panthers lose + Falcons lose + Lions lose/tie + Packers lose/tie + Cowboys lose/tie. Falcons beat Saints 20-17 on 12/7/17 meaning Rams can't clinch

    Elimination Scenarios: The Niners have already been eliminated (and were since they lost their second game to Seattle). If the Cardinals lose (or tie) AND (both) Seattle AND Carolina both win (or tie), then the Cards are eliminated from the playoffs altogether (since in this case it would take a 9-7 record to make the playoffs and the best the Cards could do is 8-8). Because Arizona lost to the LA Rams last Sunday, they are ELIMINATED from the NFC West Crown contention. Why? The absolute best the Cards can finish is 9-7 and the absolute worst the Rams can finish is 9-7 and the Rams have beaten the Cards twice. So the only hope the Cards would have would be a three way tie to void the head to head, and that would have to involve Seattle in a 9-7 three way tie. However in that case, Seattle with a 5-1 division record would beat out both the Rams and Cards with a 3-3 Division record for each. Since this is the only way the Cardinals can tie for first place in the NFC West, they are eliminated.


    Whew! I hope this clarifies the NFC Playoff picture for everyone. I have to say that Seattle's chances for the playoffs, but it's far from a done deal yet. That Eagles win was huuuge.
    Last edited by Polaris on Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:32 pm, edited 6 times in total.
    Polaris
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  • Week 14 will decide the playoff picture. The Eagles, Vikings, and Saints won't be losing anything after that, so I doubt the NFC West winner will be able to attain anything higher than the #4 seed, honestly.
    GO HAWKS!!!

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    MontanaHawk05
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  • The beauty of this tight race means that week 17 isn't a "week off" for any team. Games will remain competitive until the ever end, as it should be.
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    Ad Hawk
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  • Great post, thanks.

    Playoff picture threads are my favourite type of thread this time of year.
    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • With 75% of the season done, it's time to start discussing the NFC playoffs in depth, looking at the teams schedules, predicting wins and losses etc.

    Lets focus on these teams -

    Minnesota
    Philadelphia
    New Orleans
    Carolina
    LA
    Atlanta
    Seattle

    Week 14

    New Orleans VS Atlanta - Atlanta win
    Minnesota VS Carolina - Carolina win
    Seattle VS Jacksonville - Seattle win
    Philadelphia VS LA - LA win

    That scenario would put the playoff picture as follows -

    1st seed - Philidephia - 10-3
    2nd seed - Minnesota - 10-3
    3rd seed - LA - 10-3
    4th seed - New Orleans - 9-4
    5th seed - Seattle - 9-4
    6th seed - Carolina - 0-4

    outside of playoffs - Atlanta - 8-5

    Week 15

    Green Bay VS Carolina - Carolina win
    Bengals VS Minnesota - Minnesota win
    NY Jets VS New Orleans - New Orleans win
    Philadelphia VS NY Giants - Philadelphia win
    LA VS Seattle - Seattle win
    Atlanta VS Tampa Bay - Atlanta win

    Seeding would now look as follows -

    1st seed - Philidephia - 11-3
    2nd seed - Minnesota - 11-3
    3rd seed - Seattle - 10-4
    4th seed - New Orleans - 10-4
    5th seed - LA - 10-4
    6th seed - Carolina - 10-4

    Outside of the playoffs - Atlanta - 9-5

    Week 16

    Minnesota VS Green Bay - Green Bay win
    Tampa Bay VS Carolina - Carolina win
    Atlanta VS New Orleans - Atlanta win
    LA VS Tennessee - LA win
    Seattle VS Dallas - Seattle win
    Oakland VS Philadelphia - Philadelphia win

    1st seed - Philidephia - 12-3
    2nd seed - Minnesota - 11-4
    3rd seed - Seattle - 11-4
    4th seed - Carolina - 11-4
    5th seed - LA - 11-4
    6th seed - Atlanta - 10-5

    Outside of the playoffs - New Orleans - 10-5

    Week 17

    Carolina VS Atlanta - Atlanta win
    Chicago VS Minnesota - Minnesota win
    Dallas VS Philadelphia - Philadelphia win*
    New Orleans VS Tampa Bay - New Orleans win
    San Fran VS LA - LA Win
    Arizona VS Seattle - Seattle win

    1st seed - Philidephia - 13-3
    2nd seed - Minnesota - 12-4
    3rd seed - Seattle - 12-4
    4th seed - Atlanta - 11-5**
    5th seed - LA - 12-4**
    6th seed - Atlanta - 10-5

    Outside of the playoffs - New Orleans - 10-5

    *IF Dallas can pull the upset off against Philadelphia here, Minnesota slides to the 1st seed, Seattle to the 2nd and Philadelphia to the 3rd

    **I'm fairly certain here that despite LA having the better overall record that a non division winner can only get the 5th or 6th seed, please do correct me if I'm wrong.


    Basically, Seattle can drop one more game and still be in the playoffs, likely the 5th or 6th seed.

    Realistically, the 3rd seed is likely

    With a little bit of luck and winning out a first round bye is still very much in the mix!

    Thoughts, predictions most welcome!
    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • Nice post thanks OP!
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    Aros
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  • Man, you guys are good at this. I'd love to see the scenario where the Rams lose to the Eagles this weekend and we win ni Jax. Right now I just want the NFC West title. So Rams losing for me is what I'd like to see happen.
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    aredub
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  • How is this for a playoff picture?

    \Hawks win out, go 12-4.
    Rams go 3-1, only lose to Hawks, 12-4
    Eagles lose to Rams and 1 other, 12-4
    Carolina wins out, 12-4
    Vikings lose 1 after Carolina 12-4
    Saints lose 1 game to Falcons, 12-4


    While totally unlikely, how would the tie breakers work out?
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  • Given all this who should the Seattle fan root for?

    1. Obviously we need to root for Seattle. In truth, if there is any one game the Seahawks could drop and not be badly affected for a playoff spot, this week's game against Jax is it, but the margin is so tight that it's not worth taking it for granted.

    2. We want to root for the Eagles (and not-so-coincidentally root for the Rams to lose). Not only does this put Seattle back on top of the division with the rematch looming, but it also prevents the Rams from possibly clinching a playoff spot and knocks the Cowboys out of NFC East title contention as well.

    3. We probably want to root for the Saints this game. An Atlanta loss puts them nearly out of NFC South contention and makes a WC spot very difficult.

    4. I would say we want to root against the Panthers even if it means a delay in Seattle clinching a spot. Basically the more internecine damage the South teams do to each other, the better for us.

    5. Root against the Packers and Lions. Not only does this settle the NFC North early (giving the Vikings less to play for), but it also pushes teams with tie break advantages with Seattle further down the que.

    Just my thoughts.
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  • seedhawk wrote:How is this for a playoff picture?

    \Hawks win out, go 12-4.
    Rams go 3-1, only lose to Hawks, 12-4
    Eagles lose to Rams and 1 other, 12-4
    Carolina wins out, 12-4
    Vikings lose 1 after Carolina 12-4
    Saints lose 1 game to Falcons, 12-4


    While totally unlikely, how would the tie breakers work out?


    It would look as follows -

    1st Seed - Minnesota - 12-4
    2nd Seed - New Orleans - 12-4
    3rd Seed - Seattle - 12-4
    4th Seed - Philly - 12-4
    5th Seed - LA - 12-4
    6th Seed - Carolina - 12-4
    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • aredub wrote:I'd love to see the scenario where the Rams lose to the Eagles this weekend and we win ni Jax. Right now I just want the NFC West title.


    The Rams only need to lose to us in order to hand us the division, so I'd rather see the Rams beat the Eagles. Brings the Eagles down to where we can get a higher division seed because of our win over them.

    We also need to root for Dallas so they'll smell playoff blood when they hit Philly in Week 17, and we need to root for...

    IND
    SF
    CLE
    CIN
    LAC
    DEN
    ARI
    PIT
    NE

    ...for strength-of-victory implications.
    GO HAWKS!!!

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    MontanaHawk05
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  • But if we beat Dallas, they won't have a shot at the playoffs. I'm sure they'd still love to play spoiler...
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  • Here is the ESPN playoff machine to play scenarios with

    http://www.espn.com/nfl/playoffs/machine
    Until we develop a pass rush that will cause opposing teams to be forced to scheme to defend it we will never be able to consistently take the final step. The interior rush needs improvement. The OLine clearly still needs work.

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  • adeltaY wrote:But if we beat Dallas, they won't have a shot at the playoffs. I'm sure they'd still love to play spoiler...


    They might. Atlanta and Carolina have tough schedules ahead (and they play each other). I doubt GB or DET get a whiff.
    GO HAWKS!!!

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  • thx Jammer, love the playoff machine :2thumbs:
    R.I.P. THE EDGAR, YOU WILL BE MISSED......
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  • Atlanta just upset the Saints on TNF on the first game of week 14. I will update my chart above to reflect this.

    This is arguably a good result for Seattle but it DOES mean that Seattle needs to win vs Jax or be at least temporarily forced from the playoff picture.
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  • Needed the Panthers to lose to the Vikings. Seahawks have a better conference record (from a WC perspective) than Panthers but that didn't happen and the Panthers are now 9-4.
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