Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TBSB Buccaneers NFC Playoff Scenario Madness - Week 15

By JC De La Torre

Current NFC Playoff Standings

Seed Team Record (conf rec) Remaining Games
1. y-New York Giants 11-2 (8-1) @dal, Car, @Min
2. Carolina Panthers 10-3 (7-3) Den, @NYGiants, @NO
3. Minnesota Vikings 8-5 (6-3) @Ari, Atl, NYGiants
4. y-Arizona Cardinals 8-5 (6-4) Min, @NE, Seattle
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-4 (8-3) @Atl, SD, Oak
6. Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (6-4) NYG, BAL, @Phi
Atlanta Falcons 8-5 (5-4) TB, @Min, St. Louis
Philadelphia Eagles 7-5-1 (6-4) Clev, @WAS, DAL
Washington Redskins 7-6 (6-4) @Cin, Phil, @San Fran
Chicago Bears 7-6 (5-5) NO, GB, @Hou
New Orleans Saints 7-6 (4-5) CHI, @DET, Carolina

y-Clinched Division, x clinched playoff spot, z-clinched home field advantage
NFL Tie-Breaker Procedures

The following is the a deep dive breakdown of playoff scenarios for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFC for Week 15. You'll only find this detailed of a breakdown here at the JC De La Torre's Tampa Bay Sports Blog, we'll update it each week as the Bucs progress through the final quarter of their schedule.

The Bucs had a good week last week despite the loss to Carolina Panthers, all of the “Who to root for” teams did what they were supposed to do. Unfortunately, the Bucs didn’t follow suit. So here’s where we are for week 15 –

New York Giants clinched the NFC East
Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West

This Week’s Clinching Scenarios
Carolina clinches a playoff spot with victory (vs. Denver) and losses by Dallas (vs. NY Giants) and Atlanta (vs. Tampa Bay)

Bucs Scenarios
The Bucs can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over Atlanta and a loss by Dallas or Philadelphia.

Future Cast – Buccaneers
If the Bucs Win Out
If the Buccaneers defeat Atlanta, San Diego and Oakland, the Bucs would be in the playoffs as a wildcard as the 5th seed.

To win the division, the Bucs would need Carolina to lose one of their remaining games.

If Carolina loses to Denver or New Orleans, the Bucs win the division on the third tiebreaker on victories against common opponents (10-2 to 9-3) or division record, in the case of New Orleans (4-2 vs. 3-3).

If Carolina wins those two games but loses to the Giants, the Bucs and Carolina would tie in common opponents forcing us to go to the fourth tie-breaker, conference record, the Bucs would edge out the Panthers 9-3 to 8-4.

If the Bucs lose to Atlanta, Win the Last Two
The Bucs would be in dire straights in regards to the division. Carolina would need to lose two of their last three games, and one of the losses would need to be to New Orleans. Atlanta would need to lose one of their last two games. That would knock Atlanta out of a three way tie and leave it to the Bucs and Carolina.

It would be the same scenario as above, only each team would have an additional loss.

If Carolina loses to New Orleans and Denver, the Bucs would win the tie-breaker in common opponents 8-4 to 7-5. If Carolina defeats Denver, obviously, the Bucs would need Carolina to lose their last two games to have a chance for a division title.

If Atlanta creates a 3 way tie by winning out, Atlanta would win the division based on “strength of victory”. The combine record of the opponents the Falcons defeated is 58-85 .405 win pct, the record of the teams the Bucs defeated is 58-86 (.398). The Falcons would win the strength of victory tie-breaker as it currently stands. So the Bucs would need Seattle to get a couple more wins and for St. Louis to continue to lose to help turn strength of victory around.

This goes for the wildcard too. If the Bucs and Falcons both finish 11-5, Atlanta would beat out Tampa Bay for the 5th seed. The Bucs would need to get another loss from Dallas in their final three games or they would end up out of playoffs.

If the Bucs win in Atlanta, but lose one of their final two games
Again, the Bucs would need Carolina to lose two of their final three.
If one of those loses were to New Orleans, the Buccaneers would win the division on the second tie-breaker, division record. If the losses were Denver and NY Giants, the Bucs would win on common opponents.

If Carolina wins two of their last three and takes the division, the Bucs would still be in good shape regarding the wild card. The Bucs would win the wildcard over Atlanta, due to head-to-head. Dallas, if they win out would be the #5 seed, otherwise the Bucs would be the #5. None of the other NFC contenders can get to 11 victories.

If the Bucs lose to Atlanta and Lose one of their final two games.
The Bucs would be in deep, deep trouble. The division would be out of question, unless Carolina lost all of their remaining games and Atlanta lost their last two games.

Dallas would need to lose two of their last three, Philadelphia would need to lose one game, and Washington would need to lose one of their remaining games (The Redskins would beat the Bucs in common opponents 4-1 vs 3-2).

If the Bucs Lose Out
They will be watching the playoffs at home.

Earliest the Bucs could clinch a playoff spot
Week 15 – With win over Atlanta and a loss by Dallas or Philadelphia.

Earliest the Bucs could clinch the NFC South
Week 16 – With wins over Atlanta and San Diego and losses by Carolina to Denver and NY Giants

Week 15 – Who to Root For
The Bucs to beat Atlanta

New Orleans over Chicago (keeps the Saints in contention with something to play for)

Cincinnati to upset Washington

NY Giants to beat Dallas

Cleveland to upset Philadelphia

Denver to beat Carolina

Minnesota to upend Arizona (if the Bucs do get back into the divisional race,
Minnesota has the tougher road to the bye)

Seattle to beat St. Louis (helps the Bucs strength of victory case against the Falcons...just in case)

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