Steelers and Vikings could finish 8-6-2, which the NFL treats as 9-7

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It’s been 45 years since any NFL team had multiple tie games in a season, so if you’ve never given any thought to what would happen in the NFL standings when a team has two ties, that’s understandable.

But this year, there are two teams fighting for playoff berths that have already played a tie game: The Steelers and Vikings, both of which are 8-6-1. So what happens if one or both of them ties on Sunday, and finishes 8-6-2?

They would be treated as if they’re 9-7. The NFL treats a tie as half a win and half a loss, so a team with eight wins, six losses and two ties would be treated the same as a team with nine wins and seven losses.

For the Vikings, an 8-6-2 record would clinch a playoff berth. Minnesota would be tied with 9-7 Philadelphia (if Philadelphia beats Washington) and 9-7 Seattle (if Seattle loses to Arizona). The Eagles would be eliminated from that three-team tie based on its conference record, and then the Seahawks would win the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Vikings. So the 9-7 Seahawks would be the No. 5 seed, the 8-6-2 Vikings would be the No. 6 seed, and the 9-7 Eagles would be out of the playoffs. If the Seahawks win and it’s only two teams tied for the last NFC playoff berth, the 8-6-2 Vikings would win the head-to-head tiebreaker with the 9-7 Eagles.

For the Steelers, an 8-6-2 record would leave them needing the 9-6 Ravens to lose. If the Ravens lose to finish 9-7, they would be tied with the 8-6-2 Steelers for the AFC North title, and the Steelers would win the tiebreaker based on the better division record. But if the Ravens win to finish 10-6 (or tie to finish 9-6-1), they would have a better record than the 8-6-2 Steelers, and the Ravens would win the division and the Steelers would be eliminated from playoff contention.

An 8-6-2 record is an unlikely result, but it’s not impossible. And now you know what happens if the unlikely happens.

70 responses to “Steelers and Vikings could finish 8-6-2, which the NFL treats as 9-7

  1. In 1967, Colts tied with Rams at 11-1-2 but lost to Rams (both in same division, don’t even ask) on tiebreaker and did not go to playoffs.

  2. I get where a tie is a 1/2 game but I can’t wrap my mind around an 8 win team getting in over a 9 win team. It should be all about wins. This isn’t soccer. How about they make the Pittsburgh and Minnesota games play until there a winner?

  3. The NFL should make ties count as loses. Ties suck for the teams and the fans and also for figuring out tiebreakers. If you can only win or lose it’ll put even more pressure on teams to actually win in OT. Get rid of the tie I say.

  4. Interesting. I’m sure real soon that guy from yesterday who was blowing up numerous comment sections about all these cherry picked stats of Kirk Cousins while leaving out the fact he’s a turnover machine will be back telling us all how great he is. Vikings thought they’d be a lot better off than they are right now, never should have committed 84 million guaranteed.

  5. I get where a tie is a 1/2 game but I can’t wrap my mind around an 8 win team getting in over a 9 win team. It should be all about wins.

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Why should a 7 loss team get in over a 6 loss team?
    In the above scenario, the 8 win team only has 6 losses whereas the 9 win team has 7 losses.
    If it’s all about wins, it has to be all about losses too.

  6. You know Matt Ryan got 100 million guaranteed and Rogers 105 million. That’s 20 mil more than Cousins who’s only 3 years not 5. 10 million less than what the Jets were going to pay him. Enough about that contract. It’s an also ran contract now after 1 season.

    waynefontesismyfather says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:40 am
    Interesting. I’m sure real soon that guy from yesterday who was blowing up numerous comment sections about all these cherry picked stats of Kirk Cousins while leaving out the fact he’s a turnover machine will be back telling us all how great he is. Vikings thought they’d be a lot better off than they are right now, never should have committed 84 million guaranteed.

  7. Does it really matter? Should either of these seriously flawed teams make the playoffs they are an easy out in the WC round. Funny part about both these teams is they are a decade away from a meaningful season.

    The Steelers learned Le’Veon was not only their best player but their identity— now that he’s gone, Big Ben appears to be actually falling apart and Tomlin is guaranteed job security there isn’t much to hope about. Enjoy rebuilding with Tomlin guiding the way…

    The Vikings? Um, yeah, Exhibit #1: Kirk Cussins and Exhibit #2: Vikings legacy of losing. #skol

  8. If the Ravens went 9-7 and Steelers went 8-6-2 they would be considered tied by W/L record and the steelers would win the division with the tiebreaker. But, the Ravens have more wins. Just doesn’t sit right with me.

  9. I’d weight wins and losses mathematically depending on the current record of the team you beat. (For the first quarter of the season it woukd be based on last year’s record). So your win total at season’s end might be 8 but the range of the adjusted win total could be anywhere between 6.2 and 10.7 depending on whether you beat all good teams or all bad teams.

  10. Steelers-Bengals will be over at halftime. Bengals are a shell of themselves and the coach is a dead man walking.

    Ravens won’t tie. Their FG kicker can kick it to DC.

    It took the USFL for the NFL to add the two point conversion. Take the cue from college and go to that OT format.

  11. Why should a 7 loss team get in over a 6 loss team?
    In the above scenario, the 8 win team only has 6 losses whereas the 9 win team has 7 losses.
    If it’s all about wins, it has to be all about losses too.
    ————————————————————————-

    Because,as Herm Edwards said, you play to win the game.

  12. waynefontesismyfather says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:40 am
    Interesting. I’m sure real soon that guy from yesterday who was blowing up numerous comment sections about all these cherry picked stats of Kirk Cousins while leaving out the fact he’s a turnover machine will be back telling us all how great he is. Vikings thought they’d be a lot better off than they are right now, never should have committed 84 million guaranteed.
    /////////////
    But us Vikings fans sleep well knowing that Cousins is only the third most overpaid QB in the division, and the only one that has a shot at the playoffs.

  13. So…even with one fewer win than a 9-7 team, an 8-6-2 team has the “same record?”

    Aaaaand for the umpteenth time, the NFL has overthought something to the point of nonsense.

  14. mindoevil says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:13 am
    Guess they would say player safety if they were to get rid of ties…..why dont the players have a say in the player safety rules?
    /////////
    They do. But what people fail to recognize all the time is, the players always vote for whatever gets them the most money. Oh, all the players hate Thursday night games? Oh, the players actually voted for the collective bargaining unit wherein Thursday night games pays a butt load of money? Money. Always.

  15. therealtrenches says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:23 am

    So…even with one fewer win than a 9-7 team, an 8-6-2 team has the “same record?”

    Aaaaand for the umpteenth time, the NFL has overthought something to the point of nonsense.
    ——————–

    They haven’t overthought anything. It’s win percentage. It’s also common sense. a 9-7 team has a win percentage of .5625 and an 8-6-2 team has a win percentage of .5625. This isn’t news nor is it new to anyone in sports who owns a calculator.

  16. getyourownname says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:30 am
    In 1967, Colts tied with Rams at 11-1-2 but lost to Rams (both in same division, don’t even ask) on tiebreaker and did not go to playoffs.
    ———————————————-
    As a life long B’more sports fan I actually remember that. Can you imagine playing an entire NFL season, losing only one game, and not making the playoffs?? Wow

  17. tedmurph says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:09 am
    If the Ravens went 9-7 and Steelers went 8-6-2 they would be considered tied by W/L record and the steelers would win the division with the tiebreaker. But, the Ravens have more wins. Just doesn’t sit right with me.
    ———————————
    Ravens would also have more losses. Guess it depends on how you look at it 🙂

  18. tedmurph says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:09 am
    If the Ravens went 9-7 and Steelers went 8-6-2 they would be considered tied by W/L record and the steelers would win the division with the tiebreaker. But, the Ravens have more wins. Just doesn’t sit right with me.

    =======
    The Steelers should start the season with 2 losses automatically credited to them just because.

  19. Then give the tie breaker to the team with 9 real wins over the one with a fake “two ties equal a win” record.

  20. “We all hate ties. ”

    I don’t. A tie is a legitimate result.

    And they’ve changed OT to avoid games that go on and on with repeated OT periods in the name of TV contracts and “player safety”, they’re not going back to “keep playing until someone wins”

  21. getyourownname says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:30 am
    In 1967, Colts tied with Rams at 11-1-2 but lost to Rams (both in same division, don’t even ask) on tiebreaker and did not go to playoffs.
    —————————
    Ya I agree that it is funny that the Colts and Rams were in the same division. I believe it was called the “Coastal Division”. I suppose that makes sense 🙂

  22. stellarperformance says:
    December 27, 2018 at 11:25 am
    The Vikings were lucky to get the one tie as it is.
    ——-
    There is the packer fan complaining about the refs.
    I thought packer fans don’t complain about the refs?

    And why should they. They got more gifts this past Sunday.

  23. While it is an interesting topic but realistically, the statistical probability that both the Steelers and Vikings both finish with two ties is about equal to the Vikings winning a Superbowl. In other words, its never going to happen.

  24. One way to reduce the likelihood of ties? Make it a rule that if a team scores a potential game-tying TD in the final 2 minutes, they are required to go for 2.

  25. I actually think that the ties could also just be eliminated completely from the equation. In which case 8/6 is a better winning percentage than 9/7.
    So everyone saying it should be only about the number of wins is not really paying attention to how records are evaluated.
    Having them count as 1/2 win and 1/2 loss or throwing them out completely are both fair but ignoring losses AND ties and counting “only wins” is just idiotic.

  26. Actually it has NOTHING TO DO with a loss being counted as 1/2 a win, that’s not true at all, it goes by winning percentage and NOT wins. Say the authors scenario plays out the 8-6-2(Steelers) would have a .571 winning percentage and the 9-7(Ravens) would have a .562 winning percentage so the Steelers would win the division, sure the Ravens have more wins but the Steelers would have a better winning percentage.

    OH and there’s a few people out there that need to check their math/calculator because there’s no way that 9-7 and 8-6-2 both equal a .562 winning percentage = NONE! 9-7 comes out to a .562 winning percentage and 8-6-2 comes out to .571 so while the team with 8 wins does have less wins they also have a better winning percentage = no tie-breaker needed!

    8 divided by 14(since the 2 ties scratch) = .571 / 9 divided by 16 = .562

  27. Let me help you folks who are crying about an 8 win team than a nine win team. Look at the winning percentage

    9-7-0= .5625 winning percentage
    8-6-2= .5625 winning percentage

    Both have the same winning percentage, hence the need for tiebreakers. But if teams handle their business in earlier games against inferior opponents, they won’t need a tiebreaker.

  28. 9-7 IS the same as 8-6-2 since they translate to equivalent winning percentages and that’s how the standings are strictly determined. Ties are basically half-wins (and half losses).

    The formula is: 100 x [(2 x #wins) + (1 x #ties)] / [2 x #gamesPlayed]

    and from this formula 9-7 and 8-6-2 both translate to winning percentage of

    100 x (18/32) = 56.25%

  29. 0-0-16. Haha. That would be hilarious. I think the playoff field would be set by coin flip in that scenario. But, it is possible.

  30. atlantablewa28to3lead says:
    December 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Let me help you folks who are crying about an 8 win team than a nine win team. Look at the winning percentage

    9-7-0= .5625 winning percentage
    8-6-2= .5625 winning percentage

    >>>That’s 100% WRONG so let me help you out,
    9-7-0 = .5625%
    8-6-2 = .5714%

    9 divided by 16 for the first calculation and 8 divided by 14(since ties scratch) for the second calculation.

  31. The Rams started out as the Cleveland Rams. They were one of the very early franchises, along with the NY Giants, Packers, Redskins, Chicago Cardinals, and Decatur Staleys (who became the Chicago Bears.

    Later came the Colts, Lions, Steelers and others. The Cleveland Rams moved to LA, and then the Browns came into the NFL from the AAFC. The original split into divisions had the Rams in the east.

    Even then, the divisions were more about money than geography.

  32. dfwhawkguy says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:07 am
    The Steelers learned Le’Veon was not only their best player but their identity— now that he’s gone, Big Ben appears to be actually falling apart and Tomlin is guaranteed job security there isn’t much to hope about. Enjoy rebuilding with Tomlin guiding the way…

    The Vikings? Um, yeah, Exhibit #1: Kirk Cussins and Exhibit #2: Vikings legacy of losing. #skol

    23 73 Rate This“

    Maybe use your brain, more than your mouth. Ben only leads the league in passing yardage. Yeah, he’s really falling apart. Last time I checked, he doesn’t play D, doesn’t placekick, isn’t a ref (two outrageously blown calls arguably cost them two wins), and isn’t a RB with fumbling problems. The guy is what he is – a gunslinger – and he’s put them in a position to win far more than he’s caused any loss.

  33. So hypothectically a NFL team could have 16 tied games. Does that make them 8 & 0 (8 toal wins via 16 tied games)??? If so then what do you do with that team? It is an incomplete season.
    They only have 8 wins but their also undefeated. The extrapolated 16 tie games does not workout. Therefore it is a terrible rule.

  34. “birdwatcher100 says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:32 am
    The NFL should make ties count as loses. Ties suck for the teams and the fans and also for figuring out tiebreakers. If you can only win or lose it’ll put even more pressure on teams to actually win in OT. Get rid of the tie I say.”
    —-
    They aren’t “losses” and they aren’t “wins”. So they count as half each, which is the only reasonable way to do it considering the NFL won’t play the game until someone wins.

  35. “dirtdawg53 says:
    December 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    dfwhawkguy says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:07 am
    The Steelers learned Le’Veon was not only their best player but their identity— now that he’s gone, Big Ben appears to be actually falling apart and Tomlin is guaranteed job security there isn’t much to hope about. Enjoy rebuilding with Tomlin guiding the way…”
    —-
    This team did not lose games because Bell was out. They beat the Pats without Bell and without his replacement. Letting a 3rd string rookie RB put up 130 yards on them and do something Bell never did, contribute meaningfully to a Patriots W. Your post is just lazy nonsense. This team lost because of a combination of bad defense and bad ST. The kicker alone contributed to one tie (2 missed FGs, one that would have won the game in OT) and one loss (2 missed FGs in a 3 point loss) and the defense failed to hold leads in the 4th quarter in 3 games.
    Bell doesn’t kick and Bell doesn’t play ST. And Bell’s replacement – he made the Pro-Bowl.
    I would argue strongly that this team is better as a team without Bell. Bell needed the offense to run through him for him to be effective. Now they are more balanced and can spread the ball around. Connor is solid in all 3 phases and the offense doesn’t need to lean to Bell to be effective.

  36. 345snarkavenue says:
    December 27, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    although Tomlin’s fake punt was no more successful than Pagano’s swinging gate.

    ——-

    At least the fake punt had a chance of succeeding. The swinging gate fiasco was going nowhere from the start

  37. First it always shocked me when people can not even under basic math. Of course a tie is half a win. To look at it any other way would be to deny even the most basic of mathematical concepts. I have no idea how that could hurt anyone’s brain. Not sure why is the USA it is so “cool” to not understand math.

    Secondly, Big Ben leads the league in passing…..so for those saying he fell apart…stats do not reflect that.

  38. 9-7 IS the same as 8-6-2 since they translate to equivalent winning percentages and that’s how the standings are strictly determined. Ties are basically half-wins (and half losses).
    The formula is: 100 x [(2 x #wins) + (1 x #ties)] / [2 x #gamesPlayed]
    and from this formula 9-7 and 8-6-2 both translate to winning percentage of
    100 x (18/32) = 56.25%

    Thank You sir so much. I am shocked and saddened by the level of knowledge about math people show here.

  39. Everybody knows the Vikings should have a loss for that first Packers game the officials stole from the Packers with that absolutely ridiculous call on Clay Matthews for roughing Kirk Cousins. So the Vikings record right now is actually 8 and 7.
    It’s okay though. Because if they make the playoffs, it’s going to fun watching them get their butts kicked again anyway.

  40. bengalbowl says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:44 am
    Yeah, and next year every team could finish 0-0-16.

    —————————————
    They do that and I can guarantee their ratings will be zero and stadiums will be empty long before the season ends.

  41. tvguy22 says:
    December 27, 2018 at 9:18 am
    Of course they treat it as half a win in the standings. How else would they treat it?
    —————————–
    By not treating it as the win that it isn’t.

  42. bassplucker says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:08 am

    So, 8 wins to the NFL playoffs is like 6 wins to get into a bowl game, then.

    ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    Really, no it’s not anything like that at all. There are plenty of 8-8 teams that do not go to the playoffs.

  43. The guy who is arguing that Big Ben is better without Le’Veon Bell doesn’t understand football.

    You gotta think about it from a defensive perspeective. If you’re a defensive lineman what are you getting ready for every play.

    Sure, big ben is going to have 5,000 yards but they might miss the playoffs. Is that a goood year for him? Russell Wilson had a great statistical year last year because Chris Carson got hurt and there was ZERO running game. Russell Wilson was in on every single touchdown last year except for one….great right? No…they missed the playoffs.

    Football is a TEAM game.

    Having the threat of Chris Carson this year has allowed Russell Wilson to relax and pick his spots to throw downfield from play-action. 3rd and 4 instead of 3rd and 10 like last year when Chris got hurt. It is why they drafted Penny in the first round. That RB is vital to balance and keeping the D on their heels.

    He still has 3rd most TDs in the league…they could tie the record for fewest givaways in a year…going to the playoffs…just not as many yards.

    I haven’t even started talking about playoff football and how important the running game is in bad weather games in December and January and how important it is to eat the clock with Tom Brady waiting to get in.

  44. jake6879 says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:40 am
    therealtrenches says:
    December 27, 2018 at 10:23 am

    So…even with one fewer win than a 9-7 team, an 8-6-2 team has the “same record?”

    Aaaaand for the umpteenth time, the NFL has overthought something to the point of nonsense.
    ——————–

    They haven’t overthought anything. It’s win percentage. It’s also common sense. a 9-7 team has a win percentage of .5625 and an 8-6-2 team has a win percentage of .5625. This isn’t news nor is it new to anyone in sports who owns a calculator.

    ———-

    Sorry…winning 8 out of 16 games is a lower percentage of *actual on field wins* than 9.

    Ties shouldn’t count as 1/2 wins in calculations of winning percentages. While ties aren’t losses, and they aren’t wins, they also aren’t “half wins.” They shouldn’t figure into the percentage of wins a team as accrued *at all.* They represent a team’s inability to close out a game. Period.

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