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Some Interesting Final Projections For The Nfc South


JOEinPHX

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PFT did some speculation on division winning scenarios for the NFC South. Not surprisingly, they had to concede that anything could happen, and that the eventual winner could have a losing record.

They didn't posit this particular outcome, but I want the Falcons hosting Detroit in the wild-card round.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/20/a-five-win-nfc-south-champion-is-a-real-possibility/

A five-win NFC South champion is a real possibility

Posted by Michael David Smith on November 20, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
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If you’ve been following the NFL this year, you’re probably aware that the NFC South is terrible. But you might not realize how terrible.

Consider this: It’s entirely possible that a five-win team will win the NFC South, and therefore win a playoff game.

Using the ESPN Playoff Machine to simulate the rest of the season, I found a fairly plausible scenario in which the Panthers win the NFC South with a 5-10-1 record, with the Falcons and Saints tied for second at 5-11 and the Buccaneers last at 3-13. This isn’t the most likely scenario, but it didn’t require a lot of crazy upsets, either.

So what is the most likely scenario? Football Outsiders does a playoff projection for the rest of the season that says the Saints are the most likely team to win the division, and their most likely record is 7-9. But there’s still a decent chance of the Falcons winning the division, and the Panthers are definitely not out of it. Even the 2-8 Buccaneers are only two games out of first place and still have a 0.3 percent chance of winning the division, even though according to Football Outsiders stats the Bucs are actually the worst team in the league, even worse than the Raiders.

At the moment, the 4-6 Falcons are in first place even though they’re 0-6 outside the division. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Falcons lose their next four games to drop to 4-10, then win their remaining division games (against the Saints and Panthers in Weeks 16 and 17), and win the division with a record of 6-10, which would be 6-0 against the NFC South and 0-10 against the rest of the NFL.

So if a five-win team or a six-win team ends up winning the NFC South, what would the point spread be for their first-round playoff game? The last time a team with a losing record won its division was in January of 2011, when the 7-9 Seahawks hosted the wild card Saints, and the Saints opened as a 10.5-point favorite. At the moment, the Packers would be the No. 5 seed in the NFC, and given the way the Packers have played lately, they could easily be favored by that much at Atlanta.

Realistically, however, if the Packers keep playing the way they’ve been playing, they won’t be a wild card team. In the Playoff Machine scenario I ran, the Lions were the wild card team heading to Carolina to play the 5-10-1 Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. And the Lions would not be huge favorites at Carolina, especially considering that the Panthers beat the Lions 24-7 in Week Two. It’s entirely possible that a 5-10-1 Panthers team could not only make the playoffs, but advance.

So, those of us who enjoy crazy, chaotic stories in the NFL should perhaps root for everyone in the NFC South to keep losing — until January, when they turn things around. Perhaps we could see a Super Bowl featuring a team with a losing record.

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Edited by JOEinPHX
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Florio is a hack. It actually gives me hope that he could make it this far.

As Peyton stated, he's basically saying that no more games out of the division can be won by the Falcons, Saints or Panthers and that the most either the Saints or the Falcons can win is 1 more game (in division of course) while the Panthers win 2 more division games.

Yea, ok...

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I think it is a joke that he considers every NFC South losing every non division game for the rest of the season to be "fairly pausible". Nah. I know their record is terrible so far, but not terrible to say that an O for the rest of the season is "fairly pausible".

You don't think it's at least plausible we lose the rest of our games outside the division? I have two words that should change your mind: Mike Smith.

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I think it is a joke that he considers every NFC South losing every non division game for the rest of the season to be "fairly pausible". Nah. I know their record is terrible so far, but not terrible to say that an O for the rest of the season is "fairly pausible".

Can't argue with you on this one. It will take a bit more than five Ws to win this division, but I think the writer had goals other than plausibility in mind.

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