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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Running Playoff and SNF Week 17 Watch

I lost the first version of this post. This is a quick update. Will update this post as the day progresses. Maybe.
-Colts and Ravens improved their standing, but a Colts loss next week could still bring them down to a tiebreaker. Tiebreak checks later. Dolphins and Pats both win, Jets playing Seahawks.
-Chargers took care of their half. Can the Bills beat the Broncos?
-Titans lock up the 1 seed, Steelers the 2.
-Falcons-Vikings, Eagles-Redskins on now. Bucs and Cowboys both lost, so the Redskins aren't out yet.
-If an NFC game can be selected, don't expect an announcement on FNIA like last year.

Broncos leading Bills, but barely. Seahawks up by a touchdown over Jets. Redskins up on Vikings but Falcons up on Vikings, which would eliminate the 'Skins.

AFC East Tiebreakers: If Jets beat Miami next week they hold tiebreaker over Pats who hold tiebreak over Dolphins, assuming all three are tied with each other (a possibility with the Jets losing), otherwise all three are 1-1 against each of the other two. If the Dolphins and Pats win next week the division records will all be 4-2, if the Jets win they will hold the division tiebreaker, if the Pats lose and the Dolphins win the Pats lose the division tiebreaker.

Right now the following scenarios are possible: If the Jets lose today:
-Jets win, Patriots lose. Three-way tie goes to Jets for division. Pats and Dolphins go to common games. More on that later.
-Jets win, Patriots win. Pats win division outright. Jets win tiebreak over Dolphins.
-Dolphins win, Patriots win. Pats and Dolphins go to common games for division. Jets to 7 losses and probably out of playoffs.
-Dolphins win, Patriots lose. Dolphins win division outright. Pats first choice of NFC East for wild card spot with six losses. Jets to 7 losses and probably out of playoffs.
The Seahawks appear to be wrapping up the game.

Pats-Dolphins common games: Pats 7-1, Dolphins 7-1 outside division. Dolphins would hold conference tiebreaker.

If Colts lose next week, Ravens, Dolphins, Pats win, Colts-Ravens-Pats three-way, one team must be eliminated to determine wild card. Indy beat both teams so they win the head-to-head sweep and are in the playoffs. No Titans-Colts next week on SNF. Ravens would hold the conference games tiebreak over Patriots, but are still vulnerable to a loss next week.

Seattle beats the Jets. Buffalo leading Denver by a touchdown. Washington leading by a touchdown but Atlanta running away with it over the Vikings.

If Pats lose next week Dolphins-Jets is for division. If current score holds Chargers-Broncos will also be for division. If NFC game can't be selected it will be one of those two. My pick is Dolphins-Jets, because of the Favre factor and because they're better teams.

Vikings are in big trouble unless the Packers win Monday night. Bucs can't win division but the dream is still alive for the Falcons to continue the last-one-year-first-the-next trend. Assuming the Falcons go on to win, the Redskins are out and they will have been in the process of eliminating the Eagles as well, and a Packers win would eliminate the Bears entirely.

Falcons may be clinching themselves a playoff spot, in all practicality. The schedule breaks down such that I think they are cinching up the common games tiebreaker over the Bucs. Even if Dallas wins next week, which would mean they would likely have a conference games tiebreaker, the Falcons would be in by virtue of that tiebreaker - assuming the Bears lose.

If current scores hold, not even Cowboys-Eagles may look as attractive as NBC would like, if the Eagles are already out of the playoffs, and if the Bears lose I think that would lock up a playoff spot for the Cowboys, a risk NBC can't take if they have to make their pick before MNF. Giants-Vikings has the same pitfall, and if current scores hold the Vikings will have lost and won't have a bye to play for.

Buffalo knocks off Denver, but it's the other two games I'm watching for SNF/NFC purposes.

Atlanta knocks off Minnesota. That essentially locks up a playoff spot for them and puts the Bucs in big trouble, and it eliminates the Redskins. The Eagles MIGHT still be alive for a playoff spot, as they would still be only a half game behind the Cowboys and Bucs. Beat the Boys and hope for a Bucs loss, and the Eagles are in the playoffs.

Philly making one last push - if they win this it would actually be worse for Cowboys-Eagles as the Eagles would be playing for nothing. They fail. But if the Bears win two straight it could render Cowboys-Eagles irrelevant by the end of the day. Two Bears wins put them at 10-6, and the best the Eagles could hope for is 9-6-1. We could see a Bears-Falcons-Cowboys three-way tie, though, and Cowboys would win the conference tiebreaker for the first spot.

Honestly, the Favre factor means Dolphins-Jets could be selected even if the NFL can select an NFC game. Especially if the Bears win on Monday Night and create the possibility that the Eagles won't have anything to play for by Sunday night. With six losses, the Jets will still have something to play for even if the Patriots win next week. The Ravens could lose, and the Jets would have the conference games tiebreaker. Or the Ravens could win, and the Jets really would have nothing to play for. Giants-Vikings is probably out with the Vikings having no chance to steal the 2 seed, meaning the Giants will have nothing to play for no matter what happens tonight, and the Vikings will have nothing to play for if the Packers win Monday night.

Final prediction: Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets, but I would be far from surprised to see Cowboys-Eagles selected.

Actual selection: Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers. Huh? Either NBC and the NFL really don't want to put the Dolphins on or they're really scared about the game being rendered irrelevant for at least one team by game time. If the latter, we still don't know if NBC could have selected an NFC game.

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