Thursday, December 14, 2006

High Hopes


So the Baltimore Ravens won on Sunday - which means that the Steelers can no longer win the division. So as promised here is some detailed analysis as to how the Steelers can win a wild card spot in the playoffs.

Since the Bengals and Jaguars already have eight wins and both hold tie-breakers over the Steelers (and their respective division winners already have 10 wins), the Steelers must win their remaining three games and one of those two teams must lose their remaining three games.

Looking at the upcoming weekend, that means a Steelers loss or both a Bengals and Jaguars win means that the Steelers are eliminated from the playoffs. Other than that, it depends on what the other 7-6 teams do over the remaining three weeks. Lets look at the possibilities assuming that the Steelers are going to go 3-0 and there are no ties.


NY Jets: remaining games are against the Vikings, Dolphins and Raiders.
If the Jets go 2-1 over that three game span they will be tied with the Steelers. If the loss is against the Vikings then the Jets will hold the tiebreaker based on a better conference record, however if the loss is against Miami or Oakland, then the Steelers will probably win the tiebreaker based on "Strength of Victory"

Denver Broncos: remaining games are against the Cardinals, Bengals, and 49ers.
If the Broncos go 2-1 over that three game span they will be tied with the Steelers. Denver owns the tiebreaker against the Steelers based on a better conference record.

KC Chiefs: remaining games are against the Chargers, Raiders, and Jaguars.
If the Chiefs go 2-1 over that three game span they will be tied with the Steelers. However, the Steelers beat the Chiefs (handily) earlier this year, so they would win the tiebreaker.

Miami, Buffalo and Tennessee all have the same record as the Steelers. If Miami or Buffalo go 3-0 the Steelers would hold the tie-breaker because of a better conference record. However, if Tennesse goes 3-0 it is unclear at this point which team would win the tie-breaker because it would come down to Strength of Victory. I have a feeling Tennesee would win that however.

So what are some potential scenarios that see the Steelers into the post-season? See the list below. Note: I ignored the scenario where both CIN and JAX go 0-3 since that seems very unlikely (but could result in the Steelers getting the 1st or the 2 wild card spots)

Scenario A








JAX0-3
CIN1-2 or 2-1
KC2-1 or worse
DEN1-2 or worse
NYJ1-2 or worse
TEN2-1 or worse

Scenario B







JAX0-3
CIN1-2 or 2-1
KC2-1 or worse
DEN1-2 or worse
NYJ2-1with one of the wins against MIN
TEN2-1 or worse

Scenario C







CIN0-3
DEN1-2must beat CIN, lose to ARZ and SF
JAX1-2 or better
KC2-1 or worse
NYJ1-2 or worse
TEN2-1 or worse

Scenario D







CIN0-3
DEN1-2must beat CIN, lose to ARZ and SF
JAX1-2 or better
KC2-1 or worse
NYJ2-1with one of the wins against MIN
TEN2-1 or worse

4 comments:

Kimota94 aka Matt said...

TSN should hire you!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree..Chris Schultz has nothing on Hinckley!!

Tammy said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes and wow good work! Go steelers :)

jeff said...

There is one important element no one has mentioned.

While the Steelers would lose tie-breakers with the Jags, Broncos, and Bengals, before the tie-breaking process to select each wild card team begins, the NFL rules call for ELIMINATING ALL BUT THE HIGHEST-SEEDED TEAM from each division from the process.

That is VERY important. And it means that Steeler fans should root for Tennessee (buff, NE) and Kansas City (Oak, Jax) to win their final two games. If that happens, Tennessee will win the AFC South (better divisional record than jax). And if Denver loses a game, Kansas City would win the AFC West (better divisional record than Den). That would mean that neither Denver nor Jacksonville could even compete in the tie-breaking process unless the higher-seeded team in their respective division first qualifies. As I will explain below, neither will. So Tennessee and Kansas City could effectively BLOCK Jax and Den from wild card consideration.

The same thing is true for the AFC North. If Cincinnati beats Denver, the Steelers cannot finish with a higher AFC North seed than the Bengals. Thankfully, the Bengals would quickly qualify for the first wild card spot (assuming the Jets lose a game) with a 7-5 conference record. With the Bengals out of the way, the Steelers would become the highest seeded AFC North team before the process begins to select the second wild card slot.

That door would remain closed to the Jags and Broncos, however, given that they each would still trail a team in their own division.

The Steelers would win tie-breakers against the Chiefs (45-7 thrashing), the Jets (both will have 6-6 conf. records if NY loses one of its final games, but Pitt wins based on victories against common teams. Both played the Dolphins, Raiders, Browns, and Jags. The Steelers beat the Browns twice, and the Dolphins, and lost to the Raiders and Jags, for a 3-2 record. The Jets have beaten the Dolphins once, lost to the Jags, and play their final two games against the Dolphins and Raiders. To finish 9-7, the Jets must split these games. As a result, their overall record in common games will be 2-3.

Tennessee would face the same fate. The Titans split games with the Jags, and lost to the Dolphins, Chargers, and Ravens (1-4). The Steelers (hopefully)split with the Ravens, lost to the
Chargers and Jags, and beat the Dolphins (2-3). As a result, the Steelers would advance.

If Buffalo wins out, and the Jets lose a game, the Bills would beat the Steelers in every tie-breaker, so don't root for that.

And the end of this very long day, it is much safer to root for the Broncos to beat the Bengals this weekend. Then, they would be 8-8 after the Steelers crush the life out of them next week.

If that happens, the Steelers would make the playoffs under the following conditions:

The Jets lose to Miami or Oakland AND ONE of the following:

1. The Jags lose to NE and KC.
2. The Jags win one of those games and Tennessee beats both Buffalo and New England
3. Denver loses to San Francisco and KC beats both Oakland and Jax.

If the Jets beat both Miami and Oakland, the only way the Steelers can make the playoffs is if:

1. Denver beats the Bengals and loses to San Francisco and Kansas City beats Oakland and Jacksonville.

AND

2. Either New England also beats Jacksonville OR Tenneessee beats Buffalo and New England.

If the Jets win both games, and the Bengals beat Denver, the Steelers will be eliminated.

Or, if the Bengals beat Denver, the Steelers could not make the playoffs unless:

KC beats OAK and JAX (or JAX if DEN loses to SF)
AND
JAX loses to both NE and KC or the Titans scenario happens
AND
The Jets lose
AND
The Bills lose at least once

I am rooting for the Broncos to beat the Bengals because I would rather count on the Steelers to beat the Bengals again next week than root for the 49ers to beat Denver.

There is one scenario in which the Steelers could earn the #5 seed, which is exciting. It would happen this way:

1. Jacksonville loses to NE and KC, OR they can beat NE as long as they lose to KC and Tennessee wins out.

AND

2. Denver beats Cincinnati, but loses to San Francisco (not out of the question) AND KC beats both Oakland and Jacksonville

AND

3. The Jets lose to either the Dolphins or Raiders.

If that happens, the Chiefs would finish ahead of the Broncos. And TENN would either finish ahead of Jax, or Jax would be 8-8 and out of it.

That would make for a 3 or 4-way tie to determine the 5 seed among the Steelers, Jets, Chiefs, and maybe the Titans. The Chiefs would be eliminated first with a 5-7 conf. record. I explained earlier how the Steelers would finish ahead of the Titans and Jets.

The Wild Card teams would then be

#5 Steelers
#6 Jets

Go Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Titans, Broncos, and Niners!

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