Thursday, December 15, 2011

Giants Playoff chances

Don't want to jinx the Giants and start talking about playoffs, but there are a few different circumstances under which the Giants can make the playoffs. The easiest one is well understood - if the Giants beat the Cowboys at Met Life Stadium on January 1st and do no worse than splitting the other two games against the Redskins and Jets, Giants will win the NFC East. In that circumstance, they would be tied, because the Giants will be no worse than 9-7 and the Cowboys will be no better than 9-7. Since, in this circumstance, the Giants will have won both games against the Cowboys and the head-to-head record is always the first tiebreaker applied, Giants will win the division at 9-7.

However, there is another circumstance that is not entirely unlikely that will also work for the Giants. If the Giants win their next two games against the Redskins and Jets while the Cowboys lose to the Eagles in week 16, the Giants will win the division regardless of the outcome of the Dallas game in week 17. This is because of a change the NFL made in tiebreaker rules this year. First the math: If Giants beat Redskins and Jets, they will be 9-6 going into the last weekend. If Cowboys beat the Buccaneers and lose to the  Eagles, their record will be 8-7 going into that last weekend. Even if the Cowboys win week 17, both teams will be tied with a 9-7 record. In that circumstance, the Cowboys and Giants would have split their two games, so the head-to-head record does not break the tie. The next tiebreaker is division record and both would be tied at 3-3. The teams would have split with each other and the Giants will have also split with Eagles and Redskins while Cowboys would have swept the Redskins and would have been swept by the Eagles.

In the past, the next tiebreaker was conference record, but this year, they dropped that one slot and moved record against common opponents up one notch. The common opponents outside of the division are the 8 games the two teams have played against the NFC West and the AFC East. Giants record in these 8 games would be 6-2 while the Cowboys would be 5-3. If conference record had remained as the higher level tiebreaker, Cowboys would have gotten in with a 7-5 conference record compared to the Giants 5-7 record.

Go Eagles!

No comments: