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The Giants-Packers tiebreakers
15 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2006 - 8:54PM #1
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An abridgment of my absurdly long post on Jonah's "7-9" thread, focusing solely on how a potential tie between Green Bay and the Giants would be broken for the last Wild Card slot:

If the last spot comes down to the Giants and Packers...

The 1st tiebreaker is head-to-head. They havn't played so we go to...

The 2nd tiebreaker is games within the NFC. Both teams would be 7-5 in NFC games if they win this weekend. So we go to...

Games vs. Common Opponents, minimum of 4. Both teams will have played 5 games against common opponents, which are the Eagles, the Bears, the Saints, and the Seahawks. Right now, the Giants are 1-4 vs. these teams, which is awful. Fortunately for them, the Pack is 0-4 vs. these teams, having lost once to each of the four. Unfortunately, if the Pack makes it to 8-8, they will do so by beating the Bears. This will put them at 1-4 in the common opponent games, and that will produce another tie. So we go to...

Strength of victory; that is to say, the combined records of the teams the Giants and Packers will have beaten by Sunday night. Right now the Giants have a large edge in this category. They've beaten the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, Panthers, Falcons, Buccaneers and Texans, whose combined record to this point is 46-59, a dreadful .438 winning percentage. Fortunately for the Giants yet again, the teams the Packers have beaten are even worse, and not by a small margin. GB has beaten the Vikings twice, the Lions twice, the Dolphins, the 49ers and the Cardinals. These teams are a combined 33-72, an abysmal .314 winning percentage. That's right, the Packers have not beaten a team with a record better than 6-9 the whole season.

So far. And therein lies the rub. Under most circumstances, there is no way that Green Bay could make up such a huge difference in strength of victory in one week. But to tie the Giants, they'd have to beat the Bears, who'd be 13-3, while the Giants were beating the Redskins, who'd be 5-11.

But even that wouldn't be enought to make up the gap. There are in effect 13 "other games" that can alter the strength of victory percentages, with the Vikings (hosting the Rams) counting as a "double game" (because the Pack beat the Vikings twice) and the Lions (at the Cowboys) counting as a "triple game" (because the Pack beat the Lions twice, while the Giants beat the Cowboys once). To beat the Giants out on this tiebreaker, the Packers must "win" at least 12 of these 13 "games", and they must include the Lions beating Dallas in Dallas, and the Vikings beating the Rams at home. Atlanta and Philadelphia are playing each other, so the Giants must "gain" 1 of the 2 "wins" that they need in that game alone. Even if the two teams tie, that's 1/2 win each as far as strength of victory goes, and the net result is the same for the Giants.

Therefore, as far as I can tell, there is one, and only one, scenario by which the Packers can get past the Giants on "strength of victory".

First, the Giants and Packers have to both win. (If they can't beat the Bears, the Pack can't even get close to making up the ground in strength of victory, so tying the Giants at 7-9 does them no good.) Then, the Pack needs all of the following to happen:

The Cowboys must lose at home to the Lions. ("triple game"; 3 wins)

The Panthers must lose in New Orleans.

The Buccanners must lose to the Seahawks at home.

The Texans must lose at home to the Browns.

The Rams must lose to the Vikings in Minnesota. ("double game"; 2 wins)

The 49ers must win in Denver against the Broncos.

The Dolphins must win in Indianapolis against the Colts.

and lastly, if all of those happen, the Packers still need the Cardinals to go into San Diego and beat the Chargers.

If all the above happens, the Giants "strength of victory" would wind up at .406 (52-76), while the Pack would wind up at .414 (53-75). As you can see, the Pack would win by a single "game". So the Pack need at least "12 of 13", (actually, "11 of 11", because of the Falcons/Eagles game).

Now, if they get 10 of 11, and tie the Giants, the next tiebreaker would strength of the entire schedule. If the above extremely unlikely scenario were to play out, the Pack would be then one game ahead of the Giants in strength of schedule, and then the other AFC games for that each team played this year would take on significance. The Pack played the AFC East (NE, Jets, Buf, and Mia), the Giants played the South (Ind, Jax, Tenn, Hou). The Dolphins/Colts game is already counted in that scenario above, as is the Texans game. The Giants playoff chances would then come down to the remaining games Patriots at Titans (root for Tennessee, "double game"), Bills at Ravens (root for the Ravens, ugh), Raiders at Jets (root for the Raiders), and Jaguars at Chiefs (root for Jacksonville). The scenarios are too numerous and too difficult to entirely list, but if the teams are still tied after strength of victory, the odds of them still being tied after strength of schedule are small, but still real.

If it actually gets that far, the next tiebreaker is combined conference placements in points scored/allowed (This means you add the team conference rankings in points scored and allowed in NFC games only.) Removing the AFC games from both teams' schedules, the Giants would be +7 points, and the Pack would be -13 points within the NFC. This results in the Giants having 15 placements, and the Packers have 22. (Lower is better in this case.) This means the Pack would not only have to beat the Bears, but blow them out, in Chicago, while the Giants squeak by the Redskins.


It's not going to get that far. I would put the odds of the Pack making it through the strength of victory tiebreaker even or ahead of the Giants at something like 1,000 - 5,000 to one against. The real killers for the Pack are needing the 49ers to win in Denver, AND the Lions to win in Dallas AND the Cardinals to win in San Diego.

To make a ridiculously long post short, basically, no matter what you read in the papers, if the Giants win, they're in.

Heaven help them. And us.

15 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2006 - 2:27AM #2
Posts: 0
Excellent research!
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