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Explaining Carolina's Playoff Chances

Dec 09 2013 11:43 AM hepcat Carolina Panthers
Most of you are probably already aware of the playoff scenarios for Carolina but allow me to help explain them a little better. There are realistically three teams competing for two wild card spots in the NFC - Arizona, San Francisco, and Carolina. Currently Carolina and San Francisco are 9-4, and Arizona is 8-5. Carolina holds the tiebreaker over San Francisco because of a head-to-head win. San Francisco holds the tiebreaker over Arizona, and Arizona holds the tiebreaker over Carolina. After playing with the Playoff Machine for a little bit, I better understand Carolina's chances to make the playoffs. http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/machine

If Carolina, San Francisco and Arizona all finish with the same record, Carolina would be the #5 seed, San Francisco would be the #6 seed, and Arizona would miss the playoffs. If Carolina and Arizona end up with the same record, but San Francisco finishes with a better record than both, Carolina misses the playoffs. This holds true through the final three weeks.

Final opponents for all three teams:

Carolina: NYJ, NO, @ATL
Arizona: @TEN, @SEA, SF
San Francisco: @TB, ATL, @ARI

Because Arizona and San Francisco play each other in Week 17, Carolina can afford one more loss, finish 11-5, and still be assured a playoff spot. If San Francisco wins, it would drop Arizona to 10-6 if they won their other two remaining games, and they'd finish below Carolina. If Arizona wins, it would drop San Francisco to 11-5 if they won their other two remaining games. Like I said earlier, even if Arizona wins out and Carolina loses one, they'd all finish 11-5 and Carolina would win the tiebreaker. Everything goes to hell if Carolina drops two of their remaining three games and Arizona and San Francisco both win their next two games. Needless to say, next weeks game against the Jets is a must-win.

TL;DR - Carolina still has a great chance to make the playoffs even if they lose one more game. But if they lose two more...all bets are off.

EDIT: Okay so for those asking if San Francisco and Arizona both lose in Week 15, will Carolina make the playoffs, the answer is no. Carolina still has a chance to finish 10-6 or even 9-7 regardless of what Arizona and San Francisco do in Week 15. Also, it should be noted, that if Dallas or Philadelphia finish at 10-6, they would own the tiebreaker over Carolina because of conference record. There are a lot of scenarios where Carolina misses out of the playoffs if they finish at 10-6 to either Arizona, Philadelphia, or Dallas. There are even scenarios where Carolina, Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas, and Philly all finish 10-6. Like I said before, if Carolina, Arizona and San Fran all finish with the same record, Carolina wins the tiebreaker. It seems Carolina owns the tiebreaker over Chicago and Detroit. All in all, to be guaranteed a playoff spot, Carolina needs to win two of their next three. After that they get into the muddle mess of tiebreakers and you don't want to be there. This post to show how Carolina would make the playoffs if they only lost one more game, and who their main competition would be if they only lost one more game. If they lose two more games, like I said, all bets are off.

TL;DR AGAIN: It gets REALLY complicated if the Panthers lose two of their last three and finish 10-6. But finish 11-5 and they are guaranteed a spot. There is not a scenario that I found where Carolina misses the playoffs if they get to 11 wins.

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88 Comments

:: before

phew, nice to see Seattle on Arizona's schedule.

so if Carolina wins and both SF and ARZ lose sunday, carolina clinches a playoffs spot?

we will get to 11 with wins over the Jets and Falcons. that's enough to get in. The N and E divisions can't get two teams to 11, and both the 9ers and Cards can't. So we're in even if we get swept by NO. Of course that would royally suck dog balls, but at least we'll make the playoffs and take another huge step forward towards building the dynasty team.

phew, nice to see Seattle on Arizona's schedule.

 

That is nice, but keep in mind Arizona still owns the tiebreaker over Carolina.  If both teams finish 10-6 (Carolina drops two and Arizona loses to Seattle but wins their other two games) and San Francisco wins two out of three, Carolina would miss the playoffs.  That Arizona-San Francisco game in Week 17 could be a very pivotal game for Carolina.  Or it might not matter at all.

@NYJ - looked a lot easier a week ago. Hopefully Geno throws up another stinker for us.

NO - it would be extremely nice to get revenge and go into playoffs letting them know we can beat them

@ATL - isn't a walk in the park either.. they would love to play spoiler for us

@NYJ - looked a lot easier a week ago. Hopefully Geno throws up another stinker for us.

NO - it would be extremely nice to get revenge and go into playoffs letting them know we can beat them

@ATL - isn't a walk in the park either.. they would love to play spoiler for us

 

Honestly I'm hoping Carolina can win their next two and be guaranteed a playoff spot...but who knows with this team.  Losing to the Jets at home would be very typical of the Panthers.

Appears that we have the easier schedule for the remaining 3 games... We will be in BofA for 2/3 and both AZ and SF will be on the road for 2/3 remaining games...

If we can't beat the Jets at home and the Failcons on the road to close the season, we don't deserve a playoff spot. 

What in the fug makes you think we'll lose two more games

That is nice, but keep in mind Arizona still owns the tiebreaker over Carolina.  If both teams finish 10-6 (Carolina drops two and Arizona loses to Seattle but wins their other two games) and San Francisco wins two out of three, Carolina would miss the playoffs.  That Arizona-San Francisco game in Week 17 could be a very pivotal game for Carolina.  Or it might not matter at all.

 

 

I'm thinking ARI will lose to SEA and SF.

 

If that happens, we could lose the next 2 out of 3 and still make the playoffs it appears. 

@NYJ - looked a lot easier a week ago. Hopefully Geno throws up another stinker for us.
NO - it would be extremely nice to get revenge and go into playoffs letting them know we can beat them
@ATL - isn't a walk in the park either.. they would love to play spoiler for us


If we can manage to win our next two and clinch the #5 seed, it would be nice to play ATL with the outcome being meaningless and possibly allow Anderson to get some reps before the playoffs...

phew, nice to see Seattle on Arizona's schedule.

issue becomes if Sea has nothing to play for.....sits guys

 

need to actually pull for NO likely if AZ is winning next week.....need Sea to have a reason to play

If we can manage to win our next two and clinch the #5 seed, it would be nice to play ATL with the outcome being meaningless and possibly allow Anderson to get some reps before the playoffs...

 

Well, even if Carolina wins their next two games, San Francisco could also win their next two games going into Week 17.  Carolina would still likely make the playoffs, but that game would be the difference in the #5 and #6.

So now it's for real, "must wins" are coming up, no denying that.

I'm thinking ARI will lose to SEA and SF.

 

If that happens, we could lose the next 2 out of 3 and still make the playoffs it appears. 

 

This is true, because two more losses for Arizona would mean they'd finish 9-7 and two more losses for Carolina would mean they'd finish 10-6.  If Arizona loses to Tennessee next week, we should throw a "Hail to the Titans" party.

issue becomes if Sea has nothing to play for.....sits guys


The positive thing there is that game is played in week 16 and not 17... It may take Seattle winning in week 16 to clinch the #1 seed.. That is if we drop our 1pm game at home to the Saints. Seattle would have to win at 4:15 to clinch home field throughout the playoffs..

phew, nice to see Seattle on Arizona's schedule.

especially at seattle

Sent from my batphone
As long as Growl doesn't show up to any of the games, we'll be good.

Well, even if Carolina wins their next two games, San Francisco could also win their next two games going into Week 17. Carolina would still likely make the playoffs, but that game would be the difference in the #5 and #6.


It would depend on if the #5 or #6 seed was worth risking injuries over against a bitter/ nothing to lose Falcons team in Atlanta....

so if Carolina wins and both SF and ARZ lose sunday, carolina clinches a playoffs spot?

 

It appears so. Technically CHI and Dallas could catch us but I think we own tiebreakers

This is true, because two more losses for Arizona would mean they'd finish 9-7 and two more losses for Carolina would mean they'd finish 10-6.  If Arizona loses to Tennessee next week, we should throw a "Hail to the Titans" party.

 

 

So let's say we drop 2 out of 3, are there any other teams that could win out and sneak in?

So let's say we drop 2 out of 3, are there any other teams that could win out and sneak in?


That might depend on what Dallas does tonight..

So let's say we drop 2 out of 3, are there any other teams that could win out and sneak in?

 

Yes there is.  Dallas and Philly both have a chance to finish at 10-6 and drop Carolina out of it.  It's pretty unlikely considering the teams from the NFC East and NFC North are fighting for the division title and play each other, but Dallas and Philly play each other Week 17 and one of them will lose.  That would put the division winner at 11-5 and the loser at 10-6, pending they both win their next two games going into Week 17.  

 

Edit: It gets a lot more complicated if Carolina drops two of their next three...that's why I didn't include it.  They really need to win two of their next three to be guaranteed a spot.

so if Carolina wins and both SF and ARZ lose sunday, carolina clinches a playoffs spot?

 

Nah, there are still a lot of scenarios where Carolina could miss the playoffs at 10-6 because of teams in the NFC East.  If they get to 11 wins, yes they should clinch a spot.  I didn't include those scenarios in my post because it gets really complicated if Carolina finishes 10-6.  For all intensive purposes, they are battling Arizona and San Francisco for the spots.  It's far less likely a team from the NFC East or North gets the wild card because someone has to win the division over there and they play each other (the divisions are playing each other), but still not out of the realm of possibility.  

philly is dangerous