So driving back from FedEx last night I asked NFL wordsmith Les Carpenter and my boss whether anyone would be writing about the 'Skins' playoff chances in today's paper. They said that was the sort of thing you talked about during the car ride home, but not in the paper, not yet. But hey, this team is used to winning five straight games to end the regular season, so with nine wins a virtual lock, I tried to figure it all out. And mostly failed.
I'm sure there's a better way of doing this, but there are currently 13 NFC teams with at least four wins. The real problem here is tiebreakers; it would seem likely that the last wild card in the NFC will come out of a multi-team tie at 9-7, and if conference record comes into play the Skins (2-5 NFC) are in trouble. But their chances of at least finishing in a tie for the last spot aren't bad, and they would have some acceptable head-to-head results with other potential wild cards. Once you've assumed the Skins win out, check this out.
1) Philly (5-6) gets its seventh loss to the Skins.
2) The Rams (5-6) get their seventh loss to the Skins.
3) The Falcons (5-6) get their seventh loss to the Skins.
4) San Francisco (5-6) plays Green Bay (4-6), so one of them will have at least seven losses.
5) The Giants (sixth loss to Skins), Panthers (6-5) and Saints (fifth loss to Skins) all play each other, ensuring that one will have at least seven losses. (For the NYG to avoid seven, they'd have to give both the Panthers and Saints their sixth losses, and then they play each other, giving one seven.)
At that point, for the Skins not to finish in at worst a tie for that final wild card, Minnesota (5-6) and the Green Bay-San Francisco winner would have to win out to both finish 10-6, which would seem unlikely.
To make things even more fun this week, here's a realistic scenario in which the 9-7 Skins win the tiebreakers and get a wild card. There are much less demanding ways to do this, but I'm just trying to make a nice, easy, five-step plan.
1) Washington wins out to finish 9-7.
2) The Cowboys win out to finish 12-4.
3) The Panthers win out to finish 11-5. (This means the Eagles, Giants and Falcons are all eliminated.)
4) Seattle beats both Green Bay and San Fran, which each lose at least once more.
5) Minnesota does anything but go 4-1 down the stretch.
At least one wild card would thus be decided between the Skins, Rams and Saints, and 9-7 Washington would win win any tiebreaker with those clubs.
Pretty simple, no?
Posted by: tmc | November 27, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse
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