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What the Saints win means for your favorite playoff scenarios

Houston Texans v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

We broke down the NFC playoff picture on Sunday night.  Based on some reaction we heard after the Saints win, there remains some confusion about the remaining scenarios.  So let’s clear a few things up.

1. Yes, the Bucs are still alive.  They are essentially third in line for the No. 6 seed in the NFC behind the Packers and Giants.  Tampa needs to win in New Orleans and hope the Packers and Giants both lose to get in the playoffs.

2. The Giants just need a Packers loss and a win in Washington to get in.  The Packers are in with a win.  They could also make with a loss if the Giants and Bucs also lose.

3. The Saints can be no lower than the No. 5 seed.  They could climb all the way to No. 1 if the Falcons and Bears lose.   We’d assume the Saints would play all their starters, but the Bucs could benefit from some scoreboard watching.  Let’s say the Falcons are up 20 points at halftime against Carolina.  Will the Saints consider pulling Drew Brees?

4. The Saints win also keeps the Bears alive for the No. 1 seed.   But it seems like a waste of time for anyone to worry much about what happens if the Zombie John Fox Panthers wins in the Georgia Dome.

5. Here’s an oddity: If the Giants make the playoffs, there will be a Giants-Eagles rematch in the Wild Card round in Philadelphia.  That’s because the Giants can only get in if the Bears beat the Packers, clinching the No. 2 seed for Chicago and pushing the Eagles to No. 3.

6. That seems to about cover it.  The Eagles need to win Tuesday night to stay alive for a bye.  Stay dry today.

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15 Responses to “What the Saints win means for your favorite playoff scenarios”
  1. caperi says: Dec 28, 2010 9:35 AM

    Don’t forget the Eagles and the #1 seed (win out, ATL loss, NO loss).

    And I think NO doesn’t need a CHI loss (only an ATL loss, and NO win) to get #1, right?

  2. dirtybird06 says: Dec 28, 2010 10:12 AM

    That’s correct about NO.

    These are going to be some tough ass wildcard games!

  3. randolph32 says: Dec 28, 2010 10:24 AM

    @Caperi….if Chicago wins it wins the tiebreaker with the Eagles, so they can’t jump over them with an ATL and NO loss…

  4. caperi says: Dec 28, 2010 10:37 AM

    @randolph32 – ATL, CHI, and PHI would all be 12-4, so you do a three way tiebreaker. Head to head record doesn’t matter since no team swept the other two (ATL-CHI didn’t play). It goes down to strength of victory which, if I understand correctly, is the winning % of all the opponents a team has beaten. The Eagles’ is about .500, Bears about .400, Falcons somewhere in the middle.

  5. dvdman123 says: Dec 28, 2010 10:44 AM

    If the Saints win and the Falcons lose the Saints are the No.1 seed. It doesn’t matter what the Bears,Eagles or anyone else does. They would have a better conference record at 10-2.

  6. dvdman123 says: Dec 28, 2010 10:48 AM

    I would not be surprised at all if 2 wild card teams make the conference finals.

  7. dirksimmons says: Dec 28, 2010 10:55 AM

    @caperi

    According to ESPN’s playoff machine, the Eagles would need to win out and have ATL, NO, and CHI lose.

    If ATL and NO lose and the Bears win, the Bears get the #1 seed. But if the Eagles win out, ATL is flipped back into the #1 spot. Kinda weird.

    Here’s an oddity: If the Eagles win out and the Bears lose on Sunday to the Packers, there will be a Bears-Packers rematch in the Wild Card round in Chicago.

  8. dirksimmons says: Dec 28, 2010 10:59 AM

    Here’s what I see happening. The Falcons will blow out Carolina. The Saints will look at the scoreboard and pull everyone for the 4th quarter. The Bucs will win provided they aren’t down big by that time, which I don’t expect. I’m assuming the Giants will win, but they’ve gotta get it together. This means the Bears-Packers game will have a lot at stake for both teams. A first-round bye and a place in the playoffs. Should be interesting.

  9. drednot says: Dec 28, 2010 11:04 AM

    caperi…the head to head matchup does matter. That’s the first tie breaker they look at.

  10. tommytd says: Dec 28, 2010 11:05 AM

    Isn’t this fun?

  11. 8man says: Dec 28, 2010 11:15 AM

    I was looking at the AFC seedings. If nothing changes, either Indy, Baltimore or the J-E-T-S will go to Foxborough for the divisional round. All very compelling matchups and

    Wow! TV worth watching…..

    I can’t see the Patriots being heavily favored in any of those matchups.

    In the NFC there is a possibility of the Saints going to Philly for a divisional. If the Packers beat the Bears this week, I think they’d have to go back for the Wild Card round. And couldn’t they win again? See? Parity is a good thing.

  12. caperi says: Dec 28, 2010 11:30 AM

    @dirksimmons

    I was using ESPN’s playoff machine as well. I think I see where the difference is coming in. Apparently, there’s a few more games with significance that we’re overlooking (I guess they affect the strength of victory, or some other tiebreaker). If you preset victors by power ranking and then flip ATL-CAR and TB-NO, PHI takes #1. But if you go by win %, doing that leaves ATL at #1.

    The difference? A 49ers win over the Cardinals (instead of a Cardinals win or tie). Is that game really that significant or is there a bug in the playoff machine?

  13. caperi says: Dec 28, 2010 11:37 AM

    Another game that matters is IND-TEN. I guess the Eagles need the following for #1.

    PHI over MIN (week 16)
    PHI over DAL
    CAR over ATL
    TB over NO

    and

    GB over CHI
    or
    SF over ARI + IND over TEN

    Since SF and IND are teams the Eagles beat, maybe the strength of victory tiebreaker is closer than I thought.

  14. macjacmccoy says: Dec 28, 2010 12:26 PM

    You stilled the eagles playoff scenarios. They need 2 wins and a Bears Saints and Falcons lose to get the number 1 seed. Or they need a Bears loss for the 2nd seed.

  15. zam1104 says: Dec 29, 2010 1:25 PM

    Why does everyone assume that Carolina beating Atlanta is so laughable? This year in the NFL has proven any team can beat any other team at any time.

    Vegas odds puts Atlanta at 89.7% chance of winning… hardly a given.

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