Sunday, December 27, 2009

How the prolate spheroid bounces

I've tried to figure it out on my own to little avail...  I've read what's in the news, but I don't think even the sports beat folks have it all figured out... or at least can't figure a way to explain it concisely in a story.  

The best I have found explaining the options comes from this:

Which FWIW says the ways the Steelers make it to the playoffs come down to these potentialities:

Spot #5 - Wildcard
Steelers beat the Dolphins, and
Bengals beat the Jets, and
Patriots beat the Texans, and
Raiders beat the Ravens

Spot #6 - Wildcard

Case 1
Steelers beat the Dolphins, and
Bengals beat the Jets, and
Patriots beat the Texans\

Case 2
Steelers beat the Dolphins, and
Patriots beat the Texans, and
Raiders beat the Ravens

Case 3
Steelers beat the Dolphins, and
Bengals beat the Jets, and
Raiders beat the Ravens, and
Chiefs beat the Broncos

Got all that?  There will be a quiz.   GO BENGALS!

and......?   there must be some more options in the unlikely event Denver loses to KC... but I guess that is so unlikely to not be worth thinking about.  Yes? 

Just to show how confused people are..  If you are looking at those current rankings that show Denver with the number 5 slot... check out what the Denver sports guru's have to say about the Bronco's options to get any playoff spot. According to them, Denver is not fully in control of it's own destiny.  But from the comments there they just can't decide what the deal is. The NFL folks are trying to help out and have this little note:

I'll just stick with rooting for the Bengals.  Will they even want to win?


Blogger Burgher Jon said...

Chris, I thought you might find this interesting. Yahoo has a playoff scenario generator where you can change the outcome of any of the remaining games (click the week 17 tab) and see how the dice will fall. It appears to me from a little clicking around that there are more scenarios then just that.

The nice part about the simulator is that we can wait for some of these games to start next week and then see where we are.

Monday, December 28, 2009 8:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for the info.

Will Cincy and the Pats rest their starters like the colts? Hope not.

Monday, December 28, 2009 8:48:00 AM  
Blogger Burgher Jon said...

Keep in mind that Cincy and New England are still fighting over which of them gets the 3rd seed and which gets the 4th. The team that gets the third seed is guaranteed not to have to play Indy in the divisional round and has a fairly decent chance at a home AFC championship game if they advance. I'm not saying they'll play like it's a playoff game, but there's good reason not to rest everyone.

Monday, December 28, 2009 8:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter what happens I will be pulling for whoever plays the Colts. Resting your starters when you have a shot at an undefeated season is weak. I hope they lay an egg in the playoffs because of it.

Monday, December 28, 2009 9:03:00 AM  
Blogger joe said...

Don't you mean a "pointed prolate spheroid," one more resembling a rotated visica piscis?

Check out this very cool video of Drew Brees throwing spirals at a bulls-eye, competing with an archer. Pretty cool tutorial on the physics of it all.

Go Stillers.

Monday, December 28, 2009 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

rotated visica piscis? Hmmff.

On the playoff scenarios. I’m not even convinced theNFL folks understand all their own tiebreakers these days. Consider this could be even more convoluted. Just a few games going a different way anytime during the season and it might not be 5 teams tied for the wildcard berths… but 6 or 7 or more. Think about that.

But there are some Machiavellian thoughts in all of this. Does Cinci choose to lose, or not fight to win? If they lose to the Jets, isn’t it conceivable they then have to play them again a week later? Or by winning they get to play the Steelers, a team they have in fact beaten twice this year. Then what if they overtly don’t try to win… but then lose to whomever their opponent is next week? Think about the ex-post repercussions of that for Marv.
As for Belichick. Nobody doubts he would lose a game if he thought it strategically opportune. But what is he playing for?… a potential game in San Diego vs. a potential game in Indianapolis. I dunno?

Monday, December 28, 2009 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

The Colts don't need to take a dive in order to choke in the playoffs. Since Peyton Manning became their QB, they have a record of 7-8 in the post-season. And while it's high fashion in NFL circles to blame their defense for their shortcomings in the post-season (much the same way it's fashionable to implicitly label Ben Roethlisberger "overrated"), here's the scoring breakdown by the Colts in each of their eight playoff losses:

16, 17, 0, 14, 3, 18, 24, 17.

Including the two outliers, that's 13.6 points scored per playoff loss. Without the outliers, the average is 17.7 points per loss. As for points allowed per playoff loss, here's the breakdown:

19, 23, 41, 24, 20, 21, 28, 23.

Including the outlier, that's 24.9 points allowed per playoff loss. Without the outlier, the average is 22.6 points allowed per loss. Granted, it's not a superb average, but it's hardly insurmountable, and I don't think it's too much to ask for the alleged "greatest QB of all time" to help his team break the 20-point barrier a bit more often.

Fact is, only two of their eight Manning-era playoff losses can be directly attributed to defensive failures (41 and 28 points allowed), but a scoring average in the mid- to high teens tells me that, contrary to popular mantra, Peyton Manning is not the greatest QB of all time, and might, in fact, be overrated.

I guess, if the Colts don't have what it takes to win in the playoffs, bring up regular-season accomplishments. *lol*

Monday, December 28, 2009 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Shawn Carter said...


I am resisting the temptation to accuse the Colts of losing in order to manipulate the standings.

As for next week, I suspect Cincinnati has something to play for:

They have lost 3 of their last 5 games and to reach the playoffs having lost 4 of their last 6 is not the way you want to go into a Wild Card game against any possible number of teams who have been playing for their football lives for the last month or so.

Consider this, though:

If Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New England, Oakland, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Kansas City all win next week, we would have an 8-way tie for the 6 seed, that, oddly enough, Jacksonville would win.

It goes like this:

If the Broncos, Ravens, Jets, Texans, Titans and Jaguars all arrive at the clubhouse tied at 8-8, the NFL must first apply the division tiebreaker to the three AFC South teams to eliminate 2 of the three of them. Jacksonville swept Houston, so they're gone, and Jacksonville has a better division record than Tennessee, so Tennessee is gone, leaving the Jets, Ravens, Broncos and Jaguars for another set of three+ team tiebreakers.

The Broncos lost to the Ravens and the Jets lost to the Jaguars, so that leaves the Ravens and the Jaguars for the final tiebreaker, which the Jaguars would win by virtue of having a better conference record.

It'll likely never happen, but it is interesting that the Jaguars were declared DOA yesterday, but mathematically, they have not been eliminated.

I hope the Bengals play the Jets on Sunday Night Football, because to have to presume that after losing to the Raiders, that the Broncos will lose to the Chiefs is asking a wee bit much on top of the Raiders beating the Ravens....

Monday, December 28, 2009 6:03:00 PM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

Shawn Carter posted, "If Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New England, Oakland, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Kansas City all win next week, we would have an 8-way tie for the 6 seed, that, oddly enough, Jacksonville would win."

That would be sweet if it happened because the Steelers would be the #5 seed with a 9-7 record, and the field (Broncos, Jaguars, Jets, Ravens, Texans and Titans) would all finish 8-8.

P.S. Congratulations on scoring a #1 hit, Shawn. You and Alicia Keys made a great song together! :o)

Monday, December 28, 2009 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Shawn Carter said...

I meant a 6-way tie at 8-8!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:01:00 AM  

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