(as best I can hash out; let’s see if they’re right in the morning. Also, it’s horrible to think you’re done, and then realize Seattle may be involved. NFC may be screwed up)
NFC playoff scenerios
If St. Louis loses versus the Eagles
– St. Louis is OUT (no more than 7 wins)
– Seattle wins the NFC West
– Minnesota is IN (can not be passed by two teams)
– Carolina is IN with a WIN or TIE (3-2-1 division record would beat NO’s 2-3-1)
– NO is IN with a Win
If St. Louis wins versus the Eagles
– Minnesota is in with a WIN, or STL LOSS or NO/CAR Tie
– Carolina is in with WIN and SEA win or MIN loss (beat STL in week 14, better NFC record [7-5] than MIN [5-7])
– New Orleans is in with a WIN and either a STL LOSS or SEA WIN, or STL WIN and MIN LOSS and SEA LOSS (beat STL in week 3, better NFC record [6-6] than MIN [5-7])
– St. Louis is in with a WIN and MIN LOSS (better NFC record [7-5] than MIN [5-7]), wins the NFC West with a WIN and SEA loss
– Seattle wins the NFC West with a WIN or STL Loss, wins the 5th seed with a LOSS and a MIN loss
While there’s a lot of qualifers there, SEA should beat a undermaned ATL squad pretty easily, making NO vs STL a play-in game. Since Seattle is in no matter what, there does leave a possiblity where they could have control over who they play first round, and if STL makes the playoffs instead of the CAR/NO winner, by throwing their game. Since it would probably result in one less home game and a matchup versus a team that’s already beaten them twice, I doubt it’ll come up.
AFC tie breakers
– NY Jets are in with a WIN, or BUF loss or tie, or DEN loss or tie
– Denver is in with a WIN, or a tie and a Buffalo tie, or Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Baltimore all losing, or by raising it’s SoV past JAX and BAL (.422 to BAL .492 to JAX, .508)
– Buffalo is in with a WIN and a DEN loss or tie
– Jacksonville is in with a WIN and a DEN loss and a BUF loss and either a BAL loss or keeping it’s SoV lead over BAL and tying or beating DEN (if DEN and JAX tie there but beat BAL, they go back to the head to head matchups, where JAX beat DEN in week 2)
– Baltimore is in with a WIN and a DEN loss and a BUF loss and Either a JAX loss and a greatest SoV than DEN Or a SOV greater than DEN and JAX.
Those last two, I’m a bit fuzzy.
I think, if JAX and BAL tie on SoV with everything else going their way, there’s not enough common games for that tiebreaker to work, so we’d go to SoS, which is equally close at .551 JAX to .571 BAL. Next is Best Combined Ranking in Points Scored and Points allowed, which goes to BAL right now, but only 16 to 22. I don’t know that it’s there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a situation that can take that tie all the way down to either the 8th tie breaker, Best Net Points in Confrence Games or the 9th tie breaker, Best Net Points In All Games. Which would mean the return of the less fair but fondly remembered “must outscore JAX/BAL by 72 points” playoff scenerio. Expect bewildered SportsCenter hosts at some point, regardless.
Keep in mine, DEN’s SoV is unlikely to go up greatly with a loss; their chances of passing JAX or BAL only exist because they’re playing to the two worst AFC teams and will actually be hurt with a win.
What’s really amazing here: with the exception of DEN vs IND (which should be a walkover for the Broncos and make BUF, JAX and BAL’s hopes moot), all of the important games happen at 1pm EST. Which actually makes the Broncos game spine tinglinging; unless Buffalo (in another walkover vs PIT), JAX (vs OAK), BAL (vs MIA) all lose, someone’s going to be glued to their television set, hoping Jim Sorgi and Dominic Rhodes can lead a huge upset. And if the Jets lose, which is a realistic possiblity since St. Louis will be playing for their own playoff lives if they win on MNF, and Buffalo wins, they might be in that slot instead. It’s very unlikely the game will be meaningless.