Earlier this week I took a brief look at the current NFL playoff picture, in particular with how it related to the Patriots. One of the top tiebreakers in the NFL is Strength of Victory, and as of right now it appears that there is a good chance that this will become a factor in the playoff seeding between the Patriots, Texans, and either the Ravens or Steelers. Baltimore, Houston and New England could all finish 13-3 overall, and if that is so their conference records would all be 10-2 – which would set up the next tiebreaker, Strength of Victory.

 

As of this moment the combined records of the teams Baltimore has defeated (i.e., ‘strength of victory’) is 67-63; that is a .515 winning percentage. Pittsburgh is next at 56-74, but only one team from the AFC North can be among the top four seeds for the playoffs. The Pats are next at 54-76 (.415) and Houston is just behind them with a 52-78 SoV record, good for a .400 percentage.

 

The Patriots remaining games are against teams with a combined 22-17 record, while the Texans’ upcoming opponents combine for a 11-28 record. So does that mean Houston will pass New England in SoV if both win out? Not at all. All of the SoV records and rankings likely will change dramatically between now and the end of the season. Those other team’s records are not static and at a standstill; they will change between now and the end of the season. So as of this moment it is inaccurate to declare that the Patriots will win a tiebreaker over Houston if both finish with the same record or if both win their remaining games – just as it is inaccurate to declare that the Texans will finish ahead of the Patriots if both finish 3-0 based on ‘if the season ended now’ standings. There is simply no way to guarantee that one team or another will win a Strength of Victory tiebreaker with so many games left to be played.

 

 

Baltimore Ravens Wins
10-3 Steelers
2-11 Rams
8-5 Jets
10-3 Texans
6-7 Cardinals
10-3 Steelers
7-6 Bengals
10-3 49ers
4-9 Browns
0-13 Colts
67-63 SoV (.515)

Losses: 7-6 Titans, 4-9 Jaguars, 6-7 Seahawks; 17-22 (.440)

Remaining Games
6-7 Chargers
4-9 Browns
7-6 Bengals
17-22 SoV (.440)

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Wins
6-7 Seahawks
0-13 Colts
7-6 Titans
4-9 Jaguars
6-7 Cardinals
10-3 Patriots
7-6 Bengals
5-8 Chiefs
7-6 Bengals
4-9 Browns
56-74 SoV (.431)

Losses: 10-3 Ravens, 10-3 Texans, 10-3 Ravens; 30-9 (.770)

Remaining Games
10-3 49ers
2-11 Rams
4-9 Browns
16-23 SoV (.410)

 

New England Patriots Wins
4-9 Dolphins
6-7 Chargers
7-6 Raiders
8-5 Jets
7-6 Cowboys
8-5 Jets
5-8 Chiefs
5-8 Eagles
0-13 Colts
4-9 Redskins
54-76 SoV (.415)

Losses: 5-8 Bills, 10-3 Steelers, 7-6 Giants; 22-17 (.560)

Remaining Games
8-5 Broncos
4-9 Dolphins
5-8 Bills
17-22 SoV (.440)

 

Houston Texans Wins
0-13 Colts
4-9 Dolphins
10-3 Steelers
7-6 Titans
4-9 Jaguars
4-9 Browns
4-9 Buccaneers
4-9 Jaguars
8-5 Falcons
7-6 Bengals
52-78 SoV (.400)

Losses: 10-3 Saints, 7-6 Raiders, 10-3 Ravens; 27-12 (.690)

Remaining Games
4-9 Panthers
0-13 Colts
7-6 Titans
11-28 SoV (.282)

 

 

 

7-6 Cowboys at 4-9 Buccaneers
Dallas -6; under 47½
Tampa Bay is in complete disarray. They have had several bad defeats and have not shown any capability of bouncing back from them. After two straight last second losses, the Tampa Bay defense – 31st in points allowed, 29th in yards, 28th in rushing yards, 27th in passing yards, 31st in passing yards per attempt and 25th in rushing yards per attempt – is just what the doctor ordered for the Cowboys to let loose with their frustrations and regain some confidence. Four units on the Cowboys.

Dallas 35, Tampa Bay 10