NFL 2008 Playoffs–Permutations, Combinations, and Predictions

Tomorrow is Week 17 of the 2008 NFL Season. In the immortal words of former Coach Jim Mora, “Playoffs!”

This will be the last game of the year for several teams, including the Oakland Raiders. They finish at the Buccaneers, the team that helped their decline. The 2002 Super Bowl saw the Bucs thrash the Raiders, while in 2003 the Raiders defeated the Bucs but paid the ultimate price…quarterback Rich Gannon was injured, and never played again.

As for the Detroit Lions, they will be shooting for infamy and 0-16. To avoid this, they need to go on the road and beat the Green Bay Packers.

Now for the playoffs.

Below are all the permutations and combinations for various teams angling for playoff spots.

These scenarios assume that every game will have a winner and a loser, with no ties. Yes, I know the Eagles have a tie game, but eliminating ties keeps heads from exploding from trying to figure this stuff out.


The 12-3 New York Giants are the # 1 seed. They have won the NFC East and have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The 11-4 Carolina Panthers are at the New Orleans Saints and the St. Louis Rams are at the 10-5 Atlanta Falcons. If the Panthers win or the Falcons lose, the Panthers win the NFC South and are the # 2 seed with the other first round bye. If the Panthers lose and Falcons win, the Falcons win the NFC South and are the # 2 seed.

The Giants are at the 9-6 Minnesota Vikings while the 9-6 Chicago Bears are at the Houston Texans. The Vikings hold the tie breaker, so if they win or the Bears lose, The Vikings win the NFC North and the # 3 seed. If the Bears win and the Vikings lose, the Bears win the # 3 seed, and the Vikings are out of the playoffs.

The 8-7 Arizona Cardinals have clinched the NFC West and at least the # 4 seed. They can reach the # 3 seed if they finish tied with the Bears, giving the Bears the # 4 seed. The Cardinals cannot get the # 3 seed over the Vikings.

A stated earlier, the NFC South winner, either the Panthers or Falcons, is the # 2 seed. The other one is automatically the # 5 seed, and will be on the road for a wild card game most likely against the Cardinals.

4 teams are alive for the # 6 seed. The Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Chicago Bears are all 9-6. The Philadelphia Eagles are 8-6-1. As stated earlier, the Bears can still win their division and the # 3 seed. The other teams cannot. The Vikings cannot win the wild card, only their division.

The Dallas Cowboys are at the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Oakland Raiders are at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Again, the Bears are at the Texans.

If the Cowboys win, they are in, and the rest are out.

If the Cowboys lose and the Buccaneers win, the Buccaneers are in.

If the Cowboys and Buccaneers both lose, and the Bears win, they are in even if they do not win their division.

If the Eagles defeat the Cowboys, and the Buccaneers and Bears both lose, the Eagles are in


The 13-2 Tennessee Titans are the # 1 seed. They have clinched the AFC South and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The 11-4 Pittsburgh Steelers are the # 2 seed. They have clinched the AFC North and a first round bye.

The winner of the AFC East will be the # 3 seed. The division is totally up for grabs. The 10-5 Miami Dolphins, 10-5 New England Patriots, or 9-6 New York Jets can all win the division or miss the playoffs entirely. More elaboration will happen on that momentarily.

The 8-7 Denver Broncos are at the 7-8 San Diego Chargers. The winner of this game will win the AFC West and the # 4 seed. The loser is automatically eliminated.

The 11-4 Indianapolis Colts are locked in as the # 5 seed. They will be on the road as a wild card team against whoever wins the Denver vs San Diego showdown.

The suspense remains in the AFC East, and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.

The Ravens cannot win the AFC North, so the best they can do is the # 6 seed. They could miss the playoffs altogether.

First let’s look at the AFC East.

The Miami Dolphins are at the New York Jets.

The New England Patriots are at the Buffalo Bills.

If the Dolphins beat the Jets, they win the AFC East and # 3 seed.

If the Jets beat the Dolphins and the Patriots beat the Bills, the Patriots win the AFC East and # 3 seed.

If the Jets Beat the Dolphins and the Bills beat the Patriots, the Jets win the AFC East and # 3 seed

Now for the # 6 seed.

The loser of the Dolphins vs Jets game is automatically out of the playoffs.

The Jaguars are at the 10-5 Ravens. If the Ravens win, they are automatically the # 6 seed. That means that nobody else from the AFC East outside of the division winner makes the playoffs. If the Ravens lose and the Jets win, the Ravens are out, UNLESS the Jets win their division. The Ravens win the tie breakers over the Patriots and Dolphins, not the Jets.

The Dolphins cannot be a wild card. They either win the division or are eliminated. If the Jets win, but do not win the division, they can make the playoffs if the Ravens lose.

If the Patriots win, but do not win the division, the Ravens must lose, or the Patriots are out.



Normally I would have the Panthers losing on the road to the Saints, but the Saints are eliminated and the Panthers are desperate after being so close to the top seed. The Falcons at home will crush the Rams, putting more pressure on the Panthers. Nevertheless, the Panthers will win and get the # 2 seed. The Falcons will be the # 5 seed.

The Giants, having locked up the top seed, will bench everybody except the janitor and the team nutritionist. Therefore, they will lose at the Vikings. The Vikings will win the NFC North and the # 3 seed.

The Bears might lose to the Texans. The Texans are eliminated, but 8-8 beats 7-9. Even if the Bears win, they will not win the division.

The Eagles will defeat the Cowboys.

The Buccaneers will defeat the Raiders, vaulting the Buccaneers into the playoffs and eliminating the others.

Wild Cards: # 6 Buccaneers @ # 3 Vikings, # 5 Falcons @ # 4 Cardinals.

Vikings and Falcons win.

Divisionals: # 5 Falconss @ # 1 Giants, # 3 Vikings @ # 2 Panthers.

Giants and Panthers win.

NFC Title Game: # 2 Panthers @ # 1 Giants.

Panthers win.

Hedging my bets: If the Cowboys beat the Eagles and get in, they could beat the Vikings, and even the Giants, who they would face next. I still see the Panthers getting to the Super Bowl.

If the Panthers lose and fall to the # 5 seed, all bets are off. They would still beat the Cardinals, and would be competitive on the road against the Falcons or Giants, or perhaps even hosting the Cowboys if they get revenge against the Giants for last year.

I still like the Panthers.


The Patriots will defeat the Bills in the morning. This means that the afternoon game for the Jets and Dolphins, while still critical, will lose one element. The Jets will not be able to win the division. However, they will still be fighting for their playoff lives, so both teams will be geared up. The Jets will win.

The Patriots win the division, and the Dolphins are eliminated. The fate of the Jets rests on the Ravens game at the Jaguars. The 5-10 Jaguars are not like most eliminated teams. They play hard for Jack Del Rio and relish the role of spoiler. Yet they will not get the upset, as the Jets are kicked out and the Ravens are in.

The fading Broncos will defeat the surging Chargers, cementing the legacy of Norvelous Norv Turner. Broncos in, Chargers out. Mike Shanahan will not lose to Dick Jauron and Norv Turner in back to back weeks.

Wild Cards: # 6 Ravens @ # 3 Patriots, # 5 Colts @ # 4 Broncos

Patriots and Colts win.

Despite winning 8 or 9 straight games, Manning may struggle in the Denver cold. If by some miracle the Chargers get in, Manning always has trouble against San Diego. Nevertheless, the Colts will survive.

Divisionals: # 5 Colts @ # 1 Titans, # 3 Patriots @ # 2 Steelers

Titans and Patriots win.

AFC Title Game: # 3 Patriots @ # 1 Titans.

Titans win.

Hedging my bets: If the Steelers do survive at home against the Patriots, they will not get past the Titans. Peyton Manning at the Colts will not get past the Titans. Even if the Broncos or Chargers beat the Colts, they will not beat the Titans either.

Super Bowl: The Titans and Panthers are evenly matched, but the Panthers will have more brutal playoff games, especially if they have to play a wild card game. The Titans will be more rested, and win it all.

Statistic: 1993 was the last year where both # 1 seeds made the Super Bowl. Every year since then, exactly one top seed has gone down in flames, but never both of them. So continuing that trend, I see the Titans surviving and the Giants going down. If the Giants survive, to continue the trend, the one team the Titans do not want to play…the Ravens.

Just like 2000, the Ravens upset the Titans to play the Giants.

No. 2008 sees the Titans beating the Panthers.



One Response to “NFL 2008 Playoffs–Permutations, Combinations, and Predictions”

  1. The Falcons and Dolphins are certainly the most amazing comeback stories in recent NFL history. It just goes to show what Bill Parcells can do for a team, and that Chad Pennington was never the problem with the Jets.

    The Raiders have a chance at sweet revenge against Chuckie and the Bucs tomorrow. I’ll be watching that game down here, as the Bucs are the local team. I’m also lucky enough to see the Jets/Dolphins game as they play at 4 and the Bucs play at 1.

    If the Jets lose, or the Patriots and Ravens win, the jets are out of the playoffs, Mangini will no longer have much respect in NY, and Bret Favre should retire whether or not he likes it. Favre is just too old to go a whole season anymore. And when his arm gets tired, he becomes just an average QB at best. Pennington might never have had much of an arm, but if I’m not mistaken he’s the most accurate passer in the entire history of the NFL. The Pennington/Favre will officially prove a huge mistake if the Jets lose tomorrw – or the Pats and Ravens win.

    For the Raiders, our good host’s team, the end of the year can’t come soon enough. It’s time for a complete overhaul of the Radiers team, from top to bottom, like what happened last offseason in Miami. It’s time Al Davis got out of the way and make room for the new batch of young guns setting the trends in today’s NFL. Getting rid of Kiffin was like changing the oil on a car engine with a cracked head. Pointless. And contrary to the opinion of our good host, these days, for hardcore disiplinarian coaches the NFL stands for Not For Long. The proff? The NY Giants. Perrenial playoff loser Coughlin changed his ways after the 2006 season, after finally learning that today’s players are grown ups who make big bucks and don’t tolerate being treated like college kids, won the Superbowl and looks primed to do it again this year. It’s one thing to crack down on abusive, criminal or divisive personalities in the lockerroom, it’s another thing to treat a proffessional team of grown men like goofy college kids. If Davis thinks some stern new disiplinarian will turn things around in Oakland, then he still never learned the lesson of the Madden years – treat the players with respect, and even the craziest of them will play and behave well for you.

    I think we all learned a big lesson about Bill Bellichick this year – yes, he is a genius, but no he’s not some kind of giant-brained, undefeatable alien. I think we also learned something about Kurt Warner – he’s the most underrated QB of the modern age. And I think we learned that the Ford’s football team needs a bailout even more than the their car company. Even the most hardcore laizzez faire conservative would probably agree with that! Even the federal government could ruin that team better than the Fords.

    Some more things we all should have learned this season…

    Plaxico Burress is an idiot.

    Terrell Owens can never go more than one year without acting like a complete &^%$#@!.

    Life really is just about half luck and half what you make of it – just ask the Chargers and the Saints. Talk about bad luck! Just how many close games can a team lose?

    Kerry Collins age is catching up to him.

    Don’t be surprised to see a Manning brothers Super Bowl. It very well might happen.


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