Thursday, November 30, 2006

Believe it or not, Arizona can still make the playoffs.

Earlier this week, my Google Alerts notified me that there was a post in a blog indicating the the Cardinals had been eliminated. I added a comment that the author was mistaken. While Arizona will obviously miss this year, they are still not mathematically eliminated (yet). He replied with his own comment that it was I who was mistaken because the Cards would be eliminated on the third tiebreaker since the first two tiebreakers would be even. I tried to add a second comment to point out that he had miscalculated, but mysteriously, that comment never made it to the web site. Curiously, he appears to have posted his erroneous comment to two different blog locations, but the other blog appears to be a replica of the first, text-wise (except there are no comments from me).

So here's how it breaks down. The Cardinals are officially eliminated from wild card contention because in order to be considered, they would have to win out, and they would be tied with a number of teams for that final spot. Since their record in the NFC would be 5-7, the Cardinals would be worse in tiebreakers than one of the required contenders, the Giants, Eagles or Vikings.

But, believe it or not, the Cardinals could still win the NFC west. Here's how:

Current standings:
...............Overall..Division..NFC
Team.............W L......W L.....W L
Seattle..........7-4......3-1.....6-3
San Francisco....5-6......2-2.....4-4
St. Louis........5-6......2-3.....4-4
Arizona..........2-9......1-2.....2-7

In this most bizzare scenario, Seattle goes on a five game losing streak to finish 7-9 with a 3-3 record in the division (adding losses to Arizona and San Francisco).

San Francisco wins only one or two of its final five games: the one against Seattle and and any other against a team that is not Arizona finishing no better than 7-9 but losing the first tiebreaker to Arizona on head to head as well as having a 3-3 division record (adding a win against Seattle and a loss to Arizona).

St. Louis also wins no more than two games (neither being the Arizona game) to finish no better than 7-9 and finishing with a 2-4 record in the division (adding a loss to Arizona along the way).

Finally, Arizona goes on an improbable five game winning streak to finish 7-9. Along the way they add divisional wins over St. Louis, Seattle and San Francisco to bring their divisional record to 4-2.

If the best record in the division is 7-9 and Arizona has a 7-9 record, the first tiebreaker won't matter since no team has beaten all of the other divisional opponents to eliminate the head to head tiebreaker, but with the best divisional record of 4-2, Arizona would win the second tiebreaker.

Of course, Arizona has not yet shown an ability to win on the road, so this is all moot, but you still cannot say that Arizona is officially eliminated yet.

1 comment:

The Burton Report - Arizona Cardinals said...

I'm with ya! We're still a possibility :D