Playoffs!?! You wanna talk about playoffs!?!

Yes, Coach Mora, I’m talking about playoffs and you should be, too.  Personally, after a tough loss I like to stew in for about a day then turn my sights towards next week’s game.  And despite our 4 game losing streak, we stand a decent chance of still making the playoffs…IF we win out.
He’s the break-down of what must go-down for us to sneak into the playoffs.

Edited to adjust for a few mistakes. (Edits in italics)

Guess I was right the first time, back to the first copy.

These are the tiebreaking rules: if you notice any mistakes  please tell me and i'll edit the page.

If the playoffs started this week this is what the standings would look like: {conference record}
1) Colts  12-0 {8-0}
2) Chargers  9-3 {7-3}
3) Bengals  9-3 {6-3}
4) Patriots  7-5 {5-4}
5) Broncos 8-4 {6-3}
6) Jaguars 7-5 {6-2}
7) Ravens 6-6 {6-4}
8) Dolphins 6-6 {4-4}
9) Jets 6-6 {5-5}
10) Steelers 6-6 {4-5}

With 4 games remaining, you’re probably wondering how the Steelers are going to jump FOUR teams with our less than adequate conference record. Right now, it’s impossible to catch the Colts & it’s very unlikely we’ll catch the Chargers or Bengals, who would have to lose 3 or 4 games respectively.  With 5 teams that are 6-6 or better going for that last spot and only 4 games left, it’s also a safe assumption one of them will end up undefeated.  That HAS to be us if we are going to make the playoffs.  Fortunately, we play against both the Ravens and Dolphins, so if we beat them we jump them.  Even by doing that, it’s no secret we’ll need some help.  The losses we will hand the Dolphins and Ravens will only take care of 2 of the 4 teams we need to jump.  This is how we can jump the rest of the teams and move up 2 more spots (important points bolded):

Jets: If the New York wins out, we will lose our spot to them because of the “Common games played” tiebreaker.  The way we jump the Jets is if they lose a game, which is very possible. There is one other scenario, but I’ll cover it later. Remaining schedule:
@ TB
vs ATL   
vs CIN
The only thing worth noting is that there is a possibility both the Colts and Bengals will stop caring by the time the Jets play them.  Keep your fingers crossed that the 16-0 record is important to Peyton.

Jaguars: Even if the Jaguars lose a game, we will always lose our spot to them because they’ll have a better conference record.  Only way we jump the Jags is if they lose 2 games.  That outcome has a pretty good chance of happening considering their schedule:
vs MIA
vs IND
@ NE
I seriously doubt Indy will phone-in a rivalry game with 3 weeks left in the season and homefield advantage not yet clinched.

Patriots: Yes, we actually have a chance to jump our old enemies from the north even though they’re currently at the top of their division.  If the Patriots lost only one game, they would still win the division because the Pats would have a better division record than the Jets and the Dolphins would be stuck at 9-7 due to their loss to us.  But, if the Patriots lose 2 games they lose the division to the Jets and we jump them.
vs CAR
vs JAC
Since Jacksonville & New England play each other, that’s a guaranteed loss for one of them.  That team will only need to lose once more for us to overtake them.

Broncos: I saved the most complex for last.  Obviously, they would have to lose 2 games for us to jump them.  But there are a few different scenarios that could happen (this reminds me of a scene in BASEketball).

  • -always ignore the Jaguars if they are also tied with us along with the Broncos and/or Jets. The Jaguars will keep their rank above us because of their conference record and will have no impact if we can or can't jump the other team in the rankings.
  • -if the Jets are NOT involved with the tie (aka Jets loss/Jets win east div.), we jump the Broncos because we beat them head to head.
  • -if the Jets are involved in the tie & the Broncos did NOT lose 2 conference games, we lose our spot to Broncos and Jets.  The Broncos would have a better conference record and the Jets would beat us with a better record in commonly played games.
  • -if they Jets are involved in the tie & the Broncos DID lose 2 conference games, it would go to strength of victory.  Strength of victory is the number of wins earned by the teams you’ve beaten, so that wouldn’t be decided until the end of the year.  We could end up jumping both the Broncos & Jets, only one of those teams, or neither.  Of course, it could always come down to the 2 man sack races on consecutive Saturdays until a winner is declared...

Denver’s remaining schedule:
vs OAK
vs KC
Who says we can’t be the only team to lose to both the Chiefs and the Raiders this year?

It is also important to emphasis that we must overcome either the Broncos or Jaguars as one of our 2 teams.  We won’t be able to jump both the Patriots & Jets because someone will win the AFC East division and be ranked above us.

To make the playoffs, we need to go undefeated AND have any 2 of the bolded situations above happen.  It’s worth mentioning that 10-6 also tends to be the cutoff for the playoffs in the NFL.  With the 8 division setup over the past 7 years, only 4 teams have not made the playoffs when going 10-6 or better.  There also has only been 2 situations were a team had to have better than a 10-6 record to make the playoffs.  So if we just worry about ourselves, take care of our stuff, and win out; odds are everything else will fall into place.  I’m banking on Jacksonville & New York coming through for us…Buuut it probably wouldn’t hurt to breakout that 4 leaf clover right about now, either.

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