Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Eagles Fans: Here's How Our Team Wins The Division

If you're like me, you watched the Giants win last night, keeping the three-way tie in the division alive for another week, and started to think, "Alright, what do we have to win this division?" Well, with three games left in the season, there are quite a few ways that we can still make it happen. And lucky for you, I obsessed about it long enough last night to develop a spreadsheet with all of the possible outcomes.

Below are all of the scenarios that would give the Eagles a shot at making the playoffs, some of them end with a home playoff game and the others have them playing golf much earlier than we'd like.


For any die hard fans that know the overall record, division record and games remaining of all teams, feel free to skip to Scenario 1. For everyone else, keep reading.


Here's the setting. We're 14 weeks into the NFL Season and three teams in the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and New York Giants are all tied at an extremely underwhelming 6-7, with three games left to play. The Eagles and Redskins both are 2-2 in the division, having two division games left to play, and the Giants 2-3 with one division game left.

Here's how the schedule shakes out for each team:

Eagles: Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, New York Giants
Redskins: Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys
Giants: Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles

Now that we know the schedules for each team and where they all stand, we can get into the scenarios. Disclaimer: There are many other scenarios outside of the one's that I'm listing, but the ones below are in special interest to Eagles fans because they have playoff implications for us.

Scenario 1:

The Eagles win out.

This is the most obvious scenario that would give us a playoff birth, but it is definitely worth mentioning because it is the ideal situation. It gives us complete control of our own destiny. If the Eagles win out, they will have beaten both the Giants and Redskins along the way, giving them no chance of having the same record, and crowning us the NFC "Least" Champs.

Here's to hoping we win out. On to more interesting scenarios.


Scenario 2:

The Eagles lose to the Cardinals, and win the games against the Giants and Redskins.

To make this scenario (and the next two) worth mentioning, the Giants and Redskins would both need to win their other two games outside of the game against the Eagles making every team's record 8-8. This would put us all at a three way tie, which the NFL has calculated rules to help determine a division champ. View the link if you must, but I'll cover it here. This scenario only requires us to cover two of the steps.

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs). 
Explanation: The Giants would get eliminated at this step, having lost to the Eagles twice, but both the Eagles and Redskins would be 1-1 against each other, which requires us to look towards the second step.

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division. 
Explanation: The Eagles would end up 4-2 in the divison, having beat both the Redskins and Giants to end the season. The Redskins would be 3-3 in division games, thus crowing the Eagles NFC East Champs.


Scenario 3:

The Eagles lose to the Giants but beat the Cardinals and Redskins.

Like I mentioned before, in this scenario all teams will be 8-8. So, the Giants beat the Eagles, but lose one of their other two games and the Redskins lose to the Eagles, but beat the Cowboys and Bills. This makes all of the teams tied at both the overall (8-8) and division (3-3) records. Knowing this, we're going to go a little further through the tie-breaking procedure for this one.

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
Explanation: All teams would be tied at 1-1 in head-to-head games, making the need for step two.

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
Explanation: Each team in this situation would have the same division record at 3-3, making the need for step 3.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Explanation: This step gets interesting. Common games are the teams that each of the three teams has played against, in this case it is the entire AFC East, NFC South and NFC East. To save you from figuring out the common games, I've done the calculations and the Redskins are knocked off here having a 6-8 record in common games because the Eagles are 7-7 in those games.

The Giants could also be eliminated here if they were to lose to the Panthers as their only loss in this scenario giving them a 6-8 record as well. But, for the sake of continuing the scenario, let's say they beat the Vikings and not the Panthers, giving them a 7-7 record like the Eagles in common games. Then we go to step 4.

4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Explanation: This is where the Giants take the cake unfortunately. They would have a 6-6 record in conference games, while the Eagles would only be 5-7, even with beating the Cardinals in this scenario.

RESULT: Giants win the division by conference record...

Scenario 4:

The Eagles lose to the Redskins but beat the Cardinals and Giants.

Like I mentioned before, in this scenario all teams need to be 8-8. So, the Redskins beat the Eagles, but lose to the Cowboys making their division record 3-3 and the Giants lose to the Eagles making their division record 2-4, eliminating them from contention. This makes the Eagles and Redskins tied at 3-3 in the division.

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
Explanation: The Eagles are eliminated here due to their 0-2 record in head-to-head games with the Redskins.

RESULT: Redskins win the division because of their head-to-head record with the Eagles...

Scenario 5:

Eagles lose to both the Cardinals and Giants, but beat the Redskins.

Each team would need a 7-9 record for this to be worth evaluating, so here we go. The Giants would beat the Eagles, but lose to the Vikings and Panthers, and the Redskins would lose to the Eagles and Bills, but beat the Cowboys. Tie for all three teams in overall record (7-9), division record (3-3) and head-to-head (1-1), so let's skip ahead to step 3.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.Explanation: Having lost to another one of the common teams (the Bills) in this scenario, the Redskins would now sit at 5-9 in common games, eliminating them. Also, the Giants will have lost to the Panthers here, which would make them 6-8 in common games, so the Eagles at 7-7 would win the division in this scenario.


Scenario 6:

The Eagles lose to the Redskins and Cardinals but beat the Giants.

Like I mentioned before, in this scenario all teams need to be 7-9. So, the Redskins beat the Eagles, but lose to the Cowboys and Bills making their division record 3-3 and the Giants lose to the Eagles and either the Panther or Vikings, making their division record 2-4, eliminating them from contention. This makes the Eagles and Redskins tied at 3-3 in the division.

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
Explanation: The Eagles are eliminated here due to their 0-2 record in head-to-head games with the Redskins.

RESULT: Redskins win the division because of their head-to-head record with the Eagles...

Other Scenario:

Somehow the Cowboys manage to win all three of their remaining games and somehow all other teams are tied at 7-9. The Cowboys manage to make the playoffs based on their division record being 4-2 and better than all the other teams.


Well, if you've made it this far you're either a family member of mine, a die hard Eagles fan, or you skipped to the end. Either way, thank you for reading and hopefully we have more to talk about in a few weeks when we're in the playoffs!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

3 Reasons Why Percy Harvin Fits in Philly

Come Monday morning, Percy Harvin will be on the free agent market. Another one of the recent cap casualties across the NFL over the past week, Harvin will be one of the top receivers available on a list with very few stars.

With the Eagles reportedly choosing not to make a formidable offer to Jeremy Maclin and allowing him to go to the Chiefs, they will be in the business of trying to find a legitimate number one receiver. With a lack of depth at the position in free agency, they might have to evaluate the chance of bringing on the speedster.

Here are the three reasons why Harvin could fit in Chip Kelly's offense:

1. Versatility

Harvin is a multidimensional threat on the field because of his speed and elusiveness. He is a match-up nightmare, much like DeSean Jackson is for secondaries because of his verticle speed, but also his ability to create yards after the catch. In Philadelphia, he would assume the roles that Josh Huff currently has on the team, and Chip Kelly loves players that can fill more than one role. Fielding kick-offs and punts, while also providing match-up problems in the slot, he would be a perfect addition to Chip's current arsenal of weapons.

2. He Fills an Obvious Need

Like I touched on previously, Harvin could bring back to Philly something that they lacked last season after releasing DeSean Jackson, and with Maclin leaving this offseason, he will be the obvious number one receiver. Although, at times last season Josh Huff showed glimpses of the same sort of athleticism that Jackson had, he was extremely unreliable when the Eagles needed him most. With Philadelphia needing a receiver that can stretch a defense out like Jackson did, not allowing them to stack the box, Harvin would be a good receiver to fill the need.

3. Familiarity

There is only an 85 mile difference between MetLife Stadium and Lincoln Financial. This is something that cannot be understated when thinking about having to move once again in such a short window.

With Byron Maxwell expected to sign with the Eagles at the start of free agency on Tuesday, that would put another one of Harvin's former Seahawks teammates on the Eagles, with Chris Maragos being the first. Although this might not be something that would be a determining factor in a situation like this, it is still something worth noting. It has to be nice seeing some familiar faces when you're joining a new organization.

Here is the biggest reason why he won't be with the Eagles:

This is all only a pipe dream unless Harvin can fix his recent persona of being a locker room problem and is willing to negotiate his asking price down. If Chip and the Eagles were willing to walk away from two top receivers, that just came off of career years, for the same two issues respectively, (Jackson's attitude, and Maclin's asking price) Harvin won't get it either. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

BIG Mistake

Every power conference in college football has a conference championship game to end the season that crowns a definite champion, besides one. That one conference has two teams that would've liked to see themselves scheduled against Alabama on January 1st at 8:30 PM, but instead they are both forced to settle for games that promise to be much less exciting. Mostly for one reason...they don't have a conference championship game.

TCU and Baylor get to share both the conference championship and a spot in front of the TV on New Year's Day. Unfortunately, this conundrum isn't either of their faults. It is a product of the conference structure that they are in, and fortunately for them it hasn't mattered much until this year. But, unfortunately for them, this happens to be the biggest year in the history of college football because this year is the first-ever college football playoff.

There are only benefits to adjusting the BIG 12 conference structure and here they are:

1. Clear Champion:

First and foremost, the BIG 12 needs to add a conference championship game regardless on if they plan on splitting the conference up into two divisions. If you have the two teams with the best records in the conference play against one another in the last week of the season like all other power conferences there is no conflict. It certainly would've helped to straighten out the debacle that took place at the end of the year with TCU and Baylor.

If Baylor and TCU played in a BIG 12 championship last week, there is no doubt in my mind that the winner of that game is in the fourth playoff spot. That game, based on ranking and rivalry alone, would've been much more meaningful than the Ohio State vs. Wisconsin game regardless of the outcome.

2. Important Ending:

The biggest thing that killed TCU's chances even though they destroyed their opponent in the final week of the season, was that the game was extremely unimportant. When you're ranked 3rd in the nation and playing a team who is 2-9, everyone is expecting you to beat them by that many (52) points.

Exactly what the BIG 12 needs to do...

The perfect solution to TCU's problem this year and to prevent it from happening to another BIG 12 team in the future, since we know the college football playoffs are here to stay, would be to create a championship game. This would ensure that if ever a team in your division needs to state their case at the end of the season, they will have a big game to play in that will allow them to prove their worthiness. Which sometimes backfires if said team loses, but that is a risk you take because the reward is so much greater, and we all know the BIG 12 commissioner is kicking himself that he hadn't done it sooner after what happened this season.

3. Schedule Flexibility:

Right now with the conference structured the way that it is, the teams in it are completely subjected to the level of competition that is in the conference. With ten teams in the conference and no further divisional breakdown, each team in the BIG 12 knows each year who nine of their games are against. This greatly effects their strength of schedule and leaves them with not much flexibility to take on more challenging competition.

If the BIG 12 were to split the conference into two divisions that would leave only four definite games a year for each team, and give them the flexibility that they need to schedule some more formidable out-of-conference opponents. Having a win against a leading team in any of the power conferences this year could have proved the difference maker for either of the BIG 12's co-champions this year. 

4. Greater Rivalry:

Having a conference championship and divisions would certainly help create a better sense of rivalry between the teams in the BIG 12 because they would have a select few teams that they would play each year instead of knowing that they would have to play every team in their conference.

5. Increased Revenue:

Last, but certainly not least, in the mind's of the schools and big-wigs involved in this inevitable restructuring process, is the money that they missed out on by not having a conference championship game between TCU and Baylor, and the money as well as exposure they would've received by being in the inaugural playoff.

The College Football Playoff Trump Card

There is one reason, and one reason only the Ohio State (OSU) Buckeyes secured the fourth spot in the inaugural college football playoff... they won a conference championship.

Not only did they win a conference championship, but they did it in convincing fashion, shutting out the Wisconsin Badgers 59-0. The last time the Badgers were shut out was in August of 1997. Beating the 17th ranked team in the nation, coming into last week, should have been a tough enough task for the Buckeyes, who were starting their third-string quarterback, but they one-upped themselves. If the playoff committee needed something to convince them that Ohio State deserved the final spot over the likes of TCU and Baylor, that was enough. This very reason is why that conference championship win was OSU's "trump card".

So yeah, basically what I'm saying is TCU and Baylor didn't hold their destiny in their own hands when it came into the last week of the season. The reason that I say this is because if either team did, then I don't see why neither one of their wins would've been convincing enough to earn them the final spot in the playoff. Baylor topped Kansas State, by 11 points, in a showdown of top 10 teams, and TCU beat Iowa State, a conference rival, by 52 points. Which led to this tweet from TCU's WR Kolby Listenbee:

In response to Kolby's tweet, that most likely wouldn't have been enough either. When you are virtually neck-and-neck with a team like Ohio State, with what they just accomplished, and you're riding on a 52 point win over a team that was 2-9, that's just not enough.

If either one of the first two teams out deserved to take that illusive final spot from OSU, it was Baylor. One, because they handed TCU their only loss of the season, and two, because they defeated a top ten team in K-State during the final week of the season. The only difference is that Ohio State's game meant more because it was a conference championship.

The problem here though, is that it's not TCU or Baylor's fault that they didn't play in a conference championship game to end the year, the fault lies on the BIG 12. When your conference doesn't hold a championship game, like many other conferences, you are left to fill that week with another game that most likely won't be as important. So, when you need to make a statement at the end of the year to a committee, like the one that decided both team's fates, you don't have much of an argument over a situation like the one OSU forced at the end of their season.

I hope that this post brought a little bit of clarity to anyone who is utterly baffled as to why a team like Ohio State, who lost to Virginia Tech with a record of 6-6, took the final spot. If the BIG 12 would change their conference format it would make it a lot easier for a team within their conference that needs to make a statement in the last week of the season, to do so.

In the mean time, I will be working on a blog post about how a change like the one I mentioned would benefit the teams in the BIG 12, and I will post it here once finished.