Chicago Sun-Times

A preliminary look at postseason tiebreakers

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When the Bears said Sunday night that the playoff race was now out of their control and that they need help to reach the postseason as the NFC North champion, they were not kidding.

With four games remaining, it's difficult to project how this thing is going to unfold given the many circumstances in play, including the possibility Minnesota will be moving forward without defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.

So we've provided the tiebreaking procedures that could be in play if there winds up being a logjam atop the NFC North. Here is how it stands right now:

Vikings 7-5 overall, 3-2 in division
Bears 6-6 overall, 3-2 in division
Packers 5-7, 3-1 in division

The Bears are chasing Minnesota but need to hold off Green Bay when they meet Dec. 22 at Soldier Field. Both the Packers and Vikings have a walk-over remaining with the Lions. Right now, if the Bears work their way into a tie with the Vikings at the end of the season, and it is just a two-team tie not involving the Packers, it looks like the Bears could lose out.

They split the season series so you go to the second tiebreaker, record in the division. Assuming the Vikings topple Detroit and the Bears take care of business at home against Green Bay, they'll tie in the division at 4-2. That takes us to the third tiebreaker--record in common games. The Bears and Vikings, after their series with one another, have 12 common games. Right now, Minnesota has a 6-4 record in those games. The Bears are 3-5 in common games with wins over Philadelphia and St. Louis not factoring in because they are not on the Vikings' schedule.

At any rate, there are countless ways this thing could go at this point. The bottom line is the Bears have a lot of work to do before they can even begin to start watching the scoreboard.

Two Clubs

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss

Three or More Clubs
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated during any step, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format).

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss

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That is an insane amount of stuff to write about. Great information, but this team is not worth your time anymore.

If this team makes the playoffs, it will be a curse. They have a ton of talent on defense, great running back, good QB, good TE's, and average receivers on offense. But the O-line is weak man for man. And the Bears played great defense sans the 3 HUGE plays they gave up (and gave up on). That would be the "freak of nature" Peterson run, the "I figured the whistle blew" Taylor TD, and the "I forgot the coverage" wide open 99 yarder to Berrian. Yes, good for Minn for making big plays, but it was more that they took advantage of bad tackling, poor effort, and brain farts by the Bear's D on only those 3 plays.

The playoff curse would be that perhaps that would buy Babich a pass for succeeding ,much like Grossman did in 2006. Just because the team made it (by shear luck, if it happens) to the playoffs, does not mean Babich or Grossman were ever good at what they do. The offensive line would get a pass. Both guards need to be replaced, and both tackles need to be replaced. The Nose tackle position, and the free safety position need to be addressed somehow.

The Bears will definitely look to change some players and coaches much like they did after 2004. But only if they fail to make the playoffs. Right now, they clearly do not look as good as the Vikings and Packers. They would:
1. Fire Babich, and hire maybe McCarthy (after he is fired from Detroit), or Wade Phillips (who will be fired when Dallas goes winless in the playoffs for the 3rd straight year.
- one of these 2 would teach Manning how to tackle, and take advantage of his gifts. Create a scheme that is not confusing to the players.

2. Replace at least 3 of the offensive line positions. I am thinking Garza, Beekman, and Tait with whomever they find that can adequately get the job done. No more getting pushed around like sissies on the interior line.

3. Address the NT position. Too often this player is getting pushed back by only one lineman and a chip by a FB. This player needs to hold his position to make all runs go around. This player must be stout for any great defense. See Pittsburg, Tennesee, and Baltimore. This allows speed LB's to flow to the ball easier. This is what Alfonzo Boone, Ian Scott, and (gulp) Tank Johnson. They just were not moved by double teams, and the whole rest of the team flourished because of it.

4. If the Bears want the defense to be a serious strength, then address the safety position. Daniel Manning might be it with a different coach. He is bad at tackling though. A freak safety is worth it, but tough/expensive to find.

5. Lovie Smith will change too. He knows what happened to Jauron. He was on the chopping block, then went 13-3, then got an extension, then failed miserably the next 2 years and was fired. They likely will have a losing record if they miss the playoffs. That would make 2 in a row. Ditka only had 1 losing season before he was tossed. Wannsteadt had 3 losing seasons in a row in 96,97, and 98 before he was dumped. So Lovie is smart, and knows that. He is somewhere between Ditka and Jauron right now. But if he falls below Jauron level, then he needs to field a good team next year.

But if they make the playoffs, none of this might happen. And that could amazingly happen. Minnesota (as mentioned by many sports writers) might be without Williams n Williams for the rest of the season. They still have to play Atlanta, and the NYG. At best they go 8-8. GB has an easier schedule, but already has 7 losses. They pretty much have to win out just to make it. As bad as the Bears might be, they still could be king of the 2nd weakest division in football (to the AFC west) by season's end.

But the chances are against the Bears now. If Minnesota wins 2 they are the champs. GB could not catch them with out winning out. The Bears would also have to win out because they would lose the tie breaker.

Yeah, its not looking to good for the Bears right about now, but there is a slight chance Chicago could sneak in. First off, the Bears need to win the rest of their games on the schedule. Hopefully the Bears can get a win this sunday vs Jacksonville, and I like their chances vs Houston in the finale on Dec 28th, its the two games in between that worry me. I have a sad feeling Drew Brees is going to have 300 plus yards passing vs our pass defense, the only ray of hope is, the Bears have had luck vs the Saints, especially in the cold confines of good ol soldier field, the Saints can be slowed down in cold weather, so maybe. Then theres the Pack, the good thing is the games at home, hopefully the Bears defense will show up this time around.
As far as the Vikings go, yes, their probably going to beat the Lions, and I can see them winning their finale vs the Giants, the Giants will probably sit most of their starters for this game. The only hope Chicago has is, the fat-boy combo that is the Williams wall will probably be suspended, this will hurt the Vikings, especially when they face Turner the Burner on Dec 21st. I can see the Vikings falling to Arizona, the game is in the desert, and Atlanta might be able to get a win vs the Vikes, so again, maybe??
I would personally like to see the Bears make the playoffs, it would suck if the Bears last game was on Dec 28th, Im not ready for Bear football to end just yet. Yes, the Bears have lost to two NFC north foes the last couple of weeks, the Pack & the Vikes, but they did beat the Vikings the first time around, and maybe they can take the Packers coming up here on Mon night in a couple of weeks. Also, last nights game could have went Chicagos way had they scored down on the goal line, or at least went for a field goal on fourth down, you never know how things could have went had the Bears scored. Another cool thing if the Bears make the playoffs, it will be as a division winner, so they will have a home playoff game, maybe someone like Tampa Bay, we will welcome them up north with open arms, wind, snow, and all the good ol elements we have up north here, so you see Bear fans, there is hope, hey, can't a Bear fan at least dream!!????? GO BEARS!!

Ryan, I see your point, but I still would like to see the Bears make the play-offs. Even if the Bears do make the play-offs, they will eventually lose, probably the first wild card game their in, they could still fire Bob Babich, because think about it, they will probably lose because of a defensive breakdown.
Also, I agree, I can see current Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli as the Bears new defensive coordinator, especially with the Lovie Smith ties from their days in Tampa Bay. I also think Marinelli could be a good fit as the Bears defensive coordinator with his knowledge of the cover two, and in Chicago, unlike Detroit, he has the personnel to run this scheme.
Ryan, I agree a 100% that the Bears need a nose tackle with some size, maybe rookie Marcus Harrison might be that player with his 6-3 310lb frame.
I do however 100% disagree with you about Josh Beekman, Beekman is coming on nicely for Chicago, give the guy another season, the more comfortable Beekman becomes as a starter, the more push you will see from Beekman. Heck, he didn't look that bad last night against one of the leagues better defensive tackles, leading Matt Forte to almost 100 yds rushing. You have to figure this was the equivalent to his rookie season, I think a big part of Beekmans problems early on was he had to think to much, the more comfortable he becomes, the more push you will see, I can already.
Ryan, one last thing, Mike McCarthy is the Green Bay Packers head coach, he is a former offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, I don't think the Packers will fire him this season, but you never know if they continue to slip. GO BEARS!!

How's this for crazy? The Lions are going to beat somebody, and the most likely victim is a divisional opponent. In other words, I think the Lions will beat either the Vikings or the Packers.

Go ahead. Let the hoots, hollers, and catcalls begin.

By Kevin Armstead:

"I can see them winning their finale vs the Giants, the Giants will probably sit most of their starters for this game"

I doubt the Giants do that, it goes against everything Coughlin believes in. The Giants will come to play. The Vikes will beat Detroit and maybe the Falcons. But the Williams wall will be gone so I can only see them getting 1 maybe 2 wins at the most. They do match up well with the Cards believe it or not. The Bears will will probably beat the Jags and Saints(but the Saints game depends on the weather, you should also remember the Saints are looking for payback) I do think the Texans will beat them though. I don't see them matching up with Texas very well. Texas is better than people give them credit for.

It sounds crazy but I think we may wind up with a three way tie for the North. 3 8-8 teams. However this depends on the Williams wall being taken down. The Pack could go 3-1 won in there last three games pretty easy, and the Vikes could go 1-3 pretty easy, the Bears could go 2-2 really easy as well. Which means the Bears will be out as I figure both the Pack and the Vikes beat Detroit. What a sad Division.

Thanks, Kevin. I am a moron. I meant to say Rod Marinelli, but for some reason McCarthy fell out.

The Williams wall is done for the year. If the Vikings find a way to win 2 games, they are in the playoffs. They have the Detroit game, and you figure that is a win. But then they have the Giants, Cardinals, and Falcons. None look like wins right now. Unless Peterson goes crazy, which he might be able to against the Cards.

The Packers have Bears, Lions, Jags and Texans left. Way easier schedule, but they have to win out to have a chance. The Vikings have the tie-breaker with both the Bears and Packers.

The Bears have..... we know who the Bears have left, and it doesn't matter. They will win 2 because they will play good about 1/2 the time which is consistent with the last 2 seasons. They will finish 8-8, miss the playoffs, and have the 16th pick in the draft (hopefully just ahead of the Packers).

OK Kevin, Beekman can have another season, but the 2 tackles suck. St. Claire and Tait need to be replaced. I don't know if Williams is it, but it doesn't matter, they need 2 more anyways. They also need a meat-grinding FB, and a "power" guard.

And please look at SD's defense now. They have done well the past 2 games with Rivera at the helm. Some of those blitzes look pretty familiar. Plus, they don't give up big plays. That is the single biggest difference between Babich and Rivera. The big plays that Babich's D has allowed has been a crushing blow to the Bear's defense.
4 games left. Go Bears!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 1, 2008 1:20 PM.

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