Archive for December 2009

Episode 1250 is up

December 31, 2009
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2009 NFL Viewers Guide

December 31, 2009

2009 Viewers’ Guide
and 22nd Annual Playoff Charts
for games played January 3, 2010
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 (CBS). You may have heard how desperately
complicated the AFC tiebreakers are this year. I’ve seen worse. At first, I too thought they were
complicated—but I was overthinking it. Here’s how simple it is:
Five teams go into the final week at 8-7. If two of them win, those are your wild cards. If three
or more of them win, you have to use tiebreakers. The Jets win all tiebreakers at 9-7, followed by the
Ravens. That’s why those are the two teams that control their own destiny.
Tiebreakers involving Denver, Houston, and Pittsburgh at 9-7 are the only mildly complicated
scenario. Denver beats Houston, Houston beats Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh beats Denver. If all of them
finish 9-7, Denver wins the three-way tiebreaker. That’s why the outcome of a Denver-Pittsburgh
tiebreaker depends on whether Houston wins.
If only one team finishes 9-7, or if none do, then there’s room for other teams. First pick the
8-7-1 team if there is one. In the crazy event that there are multiple 8-7-1 teams, use the same
tiebreakers as at 9-7.
Finally, there may be room for one or two 8-8 teams in the playoffs. At 8-8, Jacksonville wins
all tiebreakers, followed by Denver, followed by Miami. That’s all you need to know, since no other
team can win a meaningful tiebreaker at 8-8. And that’s why Denver is the only current 8-7 team that
can lose and still make the playoffs.
See? It’s simple. Take this game, for instance. The Steelers need to win, obviously. (I’m
ignoring ties for the rest of this Guide lest they disturb the untroubled flow of my graceful prose.)
Then, like several of their competitors, they need to sit back and hope for the Jets or Ravens to lose. If
one of those teams loses, then there is one playoff spot available at 9-7, which the Steelers can claim as
long as Houston loses, no matter how Denver does. If both the Jets and Ravens lose, then there are two
spots available, and the Steelers claim one as long as either Houston or Denver loses. It’s not the
greatest situation to be in, but it could be worse.
For example, they could be the Dolphins, who not only need to win, but need Houston,
Jacksonville, Denver, Baltimore, and the Jets all to lose. All that so they can play next week at New
England.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans, Sunday 1:00 (CBS). The Texans are in a little bit better
situation than the Steelers. They need to win then sit back and hope for the Jets or Ravens to lose;
that’s the same. If the Jets and Ravens both lose and there are two playoff spots available, the Texans
are in at 9-7—they can’t miss. If there is one spot available, the Texans claim it as long as Denver
loses, no matter how Pittsburgh does.
Interestingly, this game could repeat next week, only at New England. The Texans would have
to win, of course, the Jets would have to win too, and the Ravens and Broncos need to lose. This will
be a recurring theme.
The Patriots have to decide if they care about this game’s only significance to them: whether
they get 3rd seed or 4th. Three years ago they wound up with the 4th seed, and failed to protect an
18-point lead in the AFC championship game at the home of the 3rd seed Colts. But what are the
chances that could happen again? Anyway, a win here, whether accidental or on purpose, clinches 3rd
seed for the Patriots, provided they win the strength-of-victory tiebreaker against the Bengals (the math
says they easily will).
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 2
If the Patriots need to convert fourth and 2 in their own end to win the game, they’ll probably
punt. Not because Bill Belichick cares what the media say about him. If he did, he’d have long ago
put on a sweater. And not because he was wrong the last time; he wasn’t. Why then? Because he’d be
a lot less concerned about the Texans’ quarterback, whoever that is [I think it’s Matt Schaub –Ed.],
driving the length of the field than about Peyton Manning doing it.
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 1:00 (Fox). The Vikings—hold on, I need to look
up who their quarterback is—have won their division and once had a shot at home-field advantage
throughout the playoffs. With their recent spate of losses and overheated reports of dissension in the
ranks, now they no longer even control their own destiny for a bye week. They’ll get it only if they win
and the Eagles lose.
Says here it’s Brett Favre? On the Vikings? That can’t be right. He loves Green Bay; Green
Bay loves him; and besides, he retired like ten years ago.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1:00 (CBS). I thought the Cleveland Browns
had their own prime-time series on Fox, but turns out it’s just a cartoon.
The Jaguars have a mathematical chance at the playoffs. All they need is to win while four out
of five of the 8-7 teams lose. People will come off all shocked if that happens, but the odds against it
are about 10 to 1, not too bad. The only tiebreaker working against them will not come into play: their
head-to-head loss to Miami isn’t considered unless those two are the only 8-8 teams. If the Jaguars (or
Dolphins, for that matter) hope to make the playoffs, there will have to be at least five 8-8 teams.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills, Sunday 1:00 (CBS). This Tuesday, January 5, is the tenth
anniversary of the Music City Miracle, the kickoff return that won a playoff game for the Titans. The
Bills are continuing to commemorate that loss by missing the playoffs every year since. Buffalo fans,
I’ll grant you that Brett Hull was in the crease. No question. The Sabres got robbed. But Wycheck’s
pass was a lateral. Not only was it not a bad call, I’ll go so far as to say it was one of the greatest
officiating calls in sports history. To call that correctly in real time, with the speed and confusion, and
not fall for the optical illusion created when Wycheck leaned forward to pass the ball and Dyson
stretched back to catch it—or maybe the official had no idea and made the safer call, the one that
would let the play continue, and relied on the video replay to clean up his mess, and by dumb luck his
guess was right. Greatest call of all time or incompetent cop-out: it was certainly one or the other.
As for the Colts, now that they have given up on an undefeated season, I wonder why they
would bother to show up for this game. I mean literally: why should they put a hundred people on a
plane and fly to Buffalo? Say they refused. What’s the worst that could happen?
I have no problem with their decision to stop competing and concede last week’s game to the
Jets. Just refund all the money you charged for tickets, plus your share of the TV contract, and we’re
square.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, Sunday 1:00 (Fox). The Saints have locked up 1st seed
and the Panthers are out of the playoffs. Nothing to see here. (Technically, a Panthers victory helps the
Patriots wrap up the strength-of-victory tiebreaker. Okay, like I said, nothing to see.)
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, Sunday 1:00 (Fox). Other than to congratulate the Bears for making
last Monday night so entertaining, and other than to whine in advance that this meaningless contest
between snowbird favorites will probably keep Jax/Cleveland off the TV at my local Chandler, Arizona
sports bar, I have little to say about this game.
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 3
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 1:00 (Fox). I have even less to say about this
game.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams, Sunday 1:00 (Fox). I have almost nothing to say about this
game. It doesn’t even help the Patriots in their strength-of-victory tiebreaker.
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, Sunday 4:15 (CBS). Two years ago in this space I wrote,
“The Raiders are capping another lost season by finally letting JaMarcus Russell start.” Yet two more
lost seasons later, the Raiders are finally making JaMarcus Russell sit. We are not any closer to the end
of the Raiders’lost seasons.
Meanwhile, the Ravens can sit back and watch the early games in blissful unconcern, then take
the field knowing if they win, they’re in the playoffs, and if they lose, they’re out. No other results
matter. And when I say “the Ravens,” that’s a figure of speech. I mean the Ravens’fans can sit back
and watch. During the early games, the Ravens themselves will be hard at work preparing for their
own game. Please don’t make the mistake of dividing a football player’s salary by 48 (3 hours per
game, 16 games) to determine what outrageous hourly rate he earns. A football player works six long
days every week for half the year, in dangerous, strenuous, physical labor, and is responsible to keep
himself in condition in the offseason. He doesn’t get vacation days in the middle of a playoff race to go
party in Vegas (unless he’s coached by Wade Phillips).
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday 4:15 (Fox). Oh, did someone mention Wade
Phillips? He’s easy to blame for the Cowboys’pattern of late-season failures—he doesn’t keep his
players focused, I think is how the indictment goes. But as a mathematician, I call shenanigans.
In any collection of random events, seeming patterns will emerge, to which we humans,
believing ourselves rational, will struggle to assign causation and significance. There are 32 teams in
the NFL, each of which played about 16 games in December over the last four seasons. By random
chance, someone had to have the best record and someone had to have the worst. By random chance,
someone could’ve won a whole lot of games, and someone could’ve lost a whole lot. Because exactly
that happened, we find ourselves looking for reasons the Chargers are so great in December and the
Cowboys are so lousy. If by random chance, such extremes had not occurred, then no one would be
talking about it at all, the way no one talks about what teams are great or lousy in September. Looking
at the random data, we don’t see any apparent patterns in September.
My point is that just because the Cowboys have in recent years played below expectations late
in the season, there is not necessarily a persistent cause for this result. They have a better chance to
win this game than they’re given credit for. (If they do win, they win the division. They even have an
outside shot at a bye week: both the Vikings and Cardinals must lose. Or if the Vikings win, this game
will repeat next week, back in Dallas.)
And if they lose 44-6 to the Eagles like they did at this time last year, well, damn it, I’ll still be
right. (Also, the Eagles will clinch a bye week.)
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, Sunday 4:15 (CBS). Nothing that happens in the early
games can eliminate the Broncos, nor place them in position to control their own destiny. They still
need to win and hope for at least two losses out of the Steelers, Ravens, and Jets. Or if the Steelers and
Texans both won the early games, then it’s okay for only one of the Ravens or Jets to lose. The
Broncos could also do it the hard way: they are the onlyAFC team that can lose this week and still
make the playoffs. All they need then is four losses from these five teams: the Steelers, Texans,
Jaguars, Ravens, and Jets. Alas, they also could’ve done it the easy way: be 11-4 at this point, if not
better, considering they started the season 6-0.
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 4
On the other side of the field, the Chiefs just suffered their first TV blackout since 1990.
They’re irrelevant.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 4:15 (Fox). The Cardinals have clinched their
division and the Packers are locked into a wild card. If the Packers win at Arizona, they will open the
playoffs next week—right back at Arizona. In fact, if the Vikings and Eagles both win, then this game,
regardless of its outcome, repeats itself next week. If instead the Vikings lose the early game, then—
and only then—this game has some real significance. A Cardinals victory, combined with an Eagles
loss, gives the Cardinals a bye week. Imagine that! The Cardinals came as close as anyone has to
winning the Super Bowl last year, they followed it up with a good season, and I’m still in denial. I
keep expecting their essential fraudulence to be revealed at any moment. (Prominently involved will
be Matt Leinart.) But hey, maybe they’re for real.
Washington Redskins at San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:15 (Fox). The champions of Super Bowl
XLIV (if you’re slow on Roman numerals, that’s this season) are locked into 2nd seed and will treat
this as an exhibition game. The champions of Super Bowl XXII, I’ve seen more than enough of lately.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 4:15 (CBS). The Seahawks have been unwatchable
this year. But on the other hand, this game features Chris Johnson’s attempt to rush for 234 yards and
set the all-time NFL record for rushing yards in a season. This is eminently attainable. With only 128
yards, he reaches 2000 for the season. Pessimistic Seahawks fans—these days there is no other kind—
consider this inevitable. Next on Chris Johnson’s agenda: Find himself a nickname.
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets, Sunday 8:20 (NBC). Before this game starts, the Bengals will
know whether they have anything to play for. If the Patriots won, then the Bengals are locked into 4th
seed, assuming the strength-of-victory tiebreaker resolves in the Patriots’favor (and by game time,
we’ll know it did). If the Patriots lost, then the Bengals can earn 3rd seed with a win. That’s not much
to play for.
One of the surest bets in the NFL is that a playoff-bound team locked into its seeding will lose
to a team that needs to win to get in. That’s the situation the Jets face: win and they’re in, lose and
they’re out. This is the situation regardless of any earlier results, which is why the league chose this as
the Sunday night game.
Moreover, when if the Jets win, this game repeats next week, only in Cincinnati—as you can
see in the charts that follow. I rolled out the trick I first unveiled three years ago, where one page has a
“Simplified” chart that assumes no ties, and the next page has a “Traditional” chart that you should at
least glance at real quick because I put a lot of time into it.
After that, I break down the playoff chances team by team, including ties. All you get from the
official NFL website
1
is “Baltimore, the Jets, Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston can also make the
playoffs if they tie this week with various other things happening.” Various other things happening!
From me you get what those various other things are. In the NFL’s defense, though, they scooped me
on the rest of this stuff by three days.
As always, this document wants to travel, so pass it on, and if you know how to contact me
with questions, please do so. Happy New Year, and good luck to whomever you’re rooting for, unless
it’s Denver. Or for that matter, Dallas. Actually, I’m not too keen on the Colts either.
1
http://blogs.nfl.com/2009/12/28/week-17-clinching-scenarios
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 5
2009 Playoff Charts
AFC (Simplified)
#1=Ind #2=SD
1:00 1:00 1:00 4:15 4:15 8:20
Pit NE Jax Bal KC Cin
@Mia @Hou @Cle @Oak @Den @NYJ #3 #4 #5 #6
====================================================
Pit NE — Bal — Cin NE¹ Cin Bal Pit
Pit NE — Bal — NYJ NE Cin NYJ Bal
Pit NE Jax Oak KC Cin NE Cin Pit Jax
Pit NE Cle Oak KC Cin NE¹ Cin Pit Den
Pit NE — Oak KC NYJ NE Cin NYJ Pit
Pit NE — Oak Den Cin NE¹ Cin Pit Den
Pit NE — Oak Den NYJ NE Cin NYJ Pit
Pit Hou — Bal KC Cin Cin NE Bal Hou
Pit Hou — Bal KC NYJ NE¹ Cin NYJ Bal
Pit Hou — Bal Den Cin Cin NE Bal Den
Pit Hou — Bal Den NYJ NE¹ Cin NYJ Bal
Pit Hou — Oak KC Cin Cin NE Hou Pit
Pit Hou — Oak KC NYJ NE¹ Cin NYJ Hou
Pit Hou — Oak Den Cin Cin NE Den Hou
Pit Hou — Oak Den NYJ NE Cin NYJ Den
Mia NE Jax Bal KC Cin NE Cin Bal Jax
Mia NE Cle Bal KC Cin NE Cin Bal Den
Mia NE — Bal KC NYJ NE Cin NYJ Bal
Mia NE — Bal Den Cin NE Cin Bal Den
Mia NE — Bal Den NYJ NE Cin NYJ Bal
Mia NE Jax Oak KC Cin NE Cin Jax Den
Mia NE Cle Oak KC Cin NE Cin Den Mia
Mia NE Jax Oak KC NYJ NE Cin NYJ Jax
Mia NE Cle Oak KC NYJ NE Cin NYJ Den
Mia NE Jax Oak Den Cin NE Cin Den Jax
Mia NE Cle Oak Den Cin NE Cin Den Mia
Mia NE — Oak Den NYJ NE Cin NYJ Den
Mia Hou — Bal KC Cin Cin NE Bal Hou
Mia Hou — Bal KC NYJ NE Cin NYJ Bal
Mia Hou — Bal Den Cin Cin NE Bal Den
Mia Hou — Bal Den NYJ NE Cin NYJ Bal
Mia Hou Jax Oak KC Cin Cin NE Hou Jax
Mia Hou Cle Oak KC Cin Cin NE Hou Den
Mia Hou — Oak KC NYJ NE Cin NYJ Hou
Mia Hou — Oak Den Cin Cin NE Den Hou
Mia Hou — Oak Den NYJ NE Cin NYJ Den
¹ Swap #3 and #4 if Cin wins strength-of-victory tiebreaker over NE, i.e. if the
total number of wins by Bal, KC, and GB, plus twice the number of wins by Pit and
Cle, exceeds by more than 4 the total number of wins by Mia, Jax, Car, Ten, and
NYJ, plus twice the number of wins by Buf.
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 6
AFC (Traditional)
#1=Ind #2=SD
1:00 1:00 1:00 4:15 4:15 8:20 1:00 8:20
Pit NE Jax Bal KC Cin NE Cin
@Mia @Hou @Cle @Oak @Den @NYJ #5 #6 @Hou @NYJ #3 #4
========================================== ======================
Pit NE* — Bal — Cin* Bal Pit NE Cin NE¹ Cin
Pit NE* — Bal — NYJ NYJ Bal NE NYJ* NE Cin
Pit* NE Jax Oak KC Cin Pit Jax Hou Cin* Cin NE
Pit* NE Cle* Oak KC Cin Pit Den Hou NYJ NE¹ Cin
Pit NE* — Oak* KC* NYJ NYJ Pit tie Cin Cin NE
Pit NE* — Oak* KC* tie Pit NYJ tie NYJ NE Cin
Pit NE* — Oak* Den Cin* Pit Den tie tie NE¹ Cin
Pit NE* — Oak* Den NYJ NYJ Pit
Pit NE* — Oak tie Cin Pit Den
Pit NE* — tie KC* Cin Pit Bal
Pit Hou — Bal KC* Cin* Bal Hou
Pit Hou — Bal KC* NYJ NYJ Bal
Pit Hou — Bal Den Cin* Bal Den
Pit Hou — Bal Den NYJ NYJ Bal
Pit Hou — Oak* KC* Cin* Hou Pit
Pit Hou — Oak* KC* NYJ NYJ Hou
Pit Hou — Oak* Den Cin* Den Hou
Pit Hou — Oak* Den NYJ NYJ Den
Pit tie — Oak KC Cin Pit Hou
Mia NE Jax Bal* KC Cin Bal Jax
Mia NE Cle* Bal* KC Cin Bal Den
Mia* NE* — Bal KC* NYJ NYJ Bal
Mia* NE* — Bal KC* tie Bal NYJ
Mia* NE* — Bal Den Cin* Bal Den
Mia* NE* — Bal Den NYJ NYJ Bal
Mia NE* — Bal* tie Cin Bal Den
Mia NE Jax Oak KC Cin Jax Den
Mia NE Cle* Oak KC Cin Den Mia
Mia NE Jax Oak KC NYJ* NYJ Jax
Mia NE Cle* Oak KC NYJ* NYJ Den
Mia NE Jax Oak Den* Cin Den Jax
Mia NE Cle* Oak Den* Cin Den Mia
Mia* NE* — Oak* Den NYJ NYJ Den
Mia* NE* — Oak* Den tie Den NYJ
Mia NE — Oak tie NYJ* NYJ Den
Mia* NE* — tie KC* NYJ* NYJ Bal
Mia* NE* — tie Den Cin Den Bal
Mia* Hou — Bal KC* Cin* Bal Hou
Mia* Hou — Bal KC* NYJ NYJ Bal
Mia* Hou — Bal Den Cin* Bal Den
Mia* Hou — Bal Den NYJ NYJ Bal
Mia Hou* Jax Oak KC Cin Hou Jax
Mia Hou* Cle* Oak KC Cin Hou Den
Mia* Hou — Oak* KC* NYJ NYJ Hou
Mia* Hou — Oak* KC* tie Hou NYJ
Mia* Hou — Oak* Den Cin* Den Hou
Mia* Hou — Oak* Den NYJ NYJ Den
Mia Hou — Oak tie Cin Hou Den
Mia* Hou — tie KC* Cin Hou Bal
Mia tie — Bal* KC Cin Bal Hou
Mia tie — Oak KC NYJ* NYJ Hou
Mia* tie — Oak Den* Cin Den Hou
Mia* tie — Oak tie NYJ* NYJ Den
tie NE — Bal* KC* Cin Bal Pit
tie NE — Oak KC* NYJ* NYJ Pit
tie NE — Oak Den Cin Den Pit
tie NE — Oak tie Cin Pit Den
tie Hou — Oak KC* Cin Hou Pit
tie tie — Bal* KC Cin Bal Hou
tie tie — Bal* tie Cin Bal Den
tie tie — Oak KC Cin Hou Pit
tie tie — Oak KC NYJ* NYJ Hou
* In case of tie, read this row.
¹ Swap #3 and #4 if Cin wins strength-of-victory tiebreaker over NE.
(See Simplified chart for details.)
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 7
NFC
#1=NO
1:00 4:15 4:15
NYG Phi GB
@Min @Dal @Phx #2 #3 #4 #5 #6
==========================================
NYG Phi* GB* Phi Min Phx GB Dal
NYG Phi Phx Phi Phx Min GB Dal
NYG Dal GB Dal Min Phx GB Phi
NYG Dal Phx Phx Dal Min Phi GB
NYG Dal tie Dal Min Phx Phi GB
NYG tie Phx Phi Phx Min Dal GB
Min* Phi — Phi Min Phx GB Dal
Min* Dal GB Min Dal Phx GB Phi
Min* Dal Phx Min Phx Dal Phi GB
Min* Dal tie Min Dal Phx Phi GB
Min tie GB* Min Phi Phx GB Dal
Min tie Phx Min Phi Phx Dal GB
tie tie GB* Phi Min Phx GB Dal
tie tie Phx Phi Min Phx Dal GB
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 8
2009 AFC Team-By-Team
Indianapolis Colts (14-1) are South Division champions and have clinched home-field advantage
throughout the playoffs.
San Diego Chargers (12-3) are West Division champions and have clinched a bye week.
New England Patriots (10-5) are East Division champions and will host a first-round game. They
will be 3rd seed if they win and the Bengals lose or tie, or if they tie and the Bengals lose. They will be
4th seed if they tie and the Bengals win, or if they lose and the Bengals win or tie. If the Patriots and
Bengals both win, both tie, or both lose, then the winner of the strength-of-victory tiebreaker
2
will be
3rd seed and the loser of the tiebreaker will be 4th seed.
Cincinnati Bengals (10-5) are North Division champions and will host a first-round game. They will
be 3rd seed if they win and the Patriots lose or tie, or if they tie and the Patriots lose. They will be 4th
seed if they tie and the Patriots win, or if they lose and the Patriots win or tie. If the Bengals and
Patriots both win, both tie, or both lose, then the winner of the strength-of-victory tiebreaker will be
3rd seed and the loser of the tiebreaker will be 4th seed.
New York Jets (8-7) control their own destiny for a wild-card berth. They are a wild card, with the 5th
seed, if they win. Their first-round game would be at Cincinnati unless the Patriots lose at Houston
and the Bengals win the strength-of-victory tiebreaker against the Patriots. The Jets are eliminated if
they lose.
The Jets are a wild card if they tie, as long as at least three of these four teams lose or tie: the Steelers,
Texans, Ravens, and Broncos. They are then 6th seed if exactly three of those teams lose or tie and 5th
seed if all four do. They are eliminated if they tie and two or more of those teams win.
Baltimore Ravens (8-7) control their own destiny for a wild-card berth. They are a wild card if they
win. They will be 5th seed, unless the Jets also win at home against Cincinnati, in which case the
Ravens will be 6th seed. They are eliminated if they lose.
The Ravens are a wild card if they tie and the Jets lose, as long as at least two of the following lose or
tie: the Steelers, the Texans, and the Broncos. They are then 6th seed if exactly two of those lose or tie
and 5th seed if all three lose or tie. They are eliminated if less than two lose or tie.
The Ravens are a wild card with 6th seed if they tie and the Jets win or tie, as long as all three of the
Steelers, Texans, and Broncos lose or tie. Otherwise they are eliminated.
2
The Patriots have a 4-game lead and are very likely to win their strength-of-victory tiebreaker against the Bengals. The
Patriots will win the tiebreaker outright if either Miami or Jacksonville wins. The Bengals will win this tiebreaker only if
the total number of wins by Baltimore, Kansas City, and Green Bay, plus twice the number of wins by Pittsburgh and
Cleveland, exceeds by more than 4 the total number of wins by Miami, Jacksonville, Carolina, Tennessee, and the Jets, plus
twice the number of wins by Buffalo. For purposes of this calculation, ties count as half a win.
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 9
Denver Broncos (8-7) need help to earn a wild-card berth. They are a wild card if they win and either
(1.) the Ravens and Jets lose or tie, (2.) the Ravens or Jets lose or tie and the Steelers lose or tie, or (3.)
the Ravens or Jets lose or tie and the Texans win. They will be 5th seed if the Ravens, Jets, and
Steelers all lose or tie, or if the Ravens and Jets both lose or tie and the Texans win. Otherwise they
will be 6th seed. They are eliminated if the Ravens and Jets both win, or if the Steelers win and either
the Ravens or Jets win and the Texans lose or tie.
The Broncos are a wild card if they tie and either (1.) the Ravens and Jets lose and the Steelers and
Texans lose or tie, (2.) the Ravens and Jets lose, the Steelers win, and the Texans lose or tie, (3.) the
Ravens and Jets lose, the Texans win, and the Steelers lose, (4.) the Ravens or Jets lose, the Steelers
lose, and the Texans lose or tie, or (5.) the Ravens or Jets lose and the Steelers and Texans both tie.
They will be 5th seed if the Ravens, Jets, and Steelers all lose and the Texans lose or tie, or if the
Ravens and Jets both lose and the Steelers and Texans both tie. Otherwise the Broncos will be 6th
seed. If more than one of the Ravens, Jets, Steelers, and Texans wins, or if the Jets or Ravens tie and
one of the other four teams wins, or if the Jets or Ravens win or tie while the Steelers tie and the
Texans lose, or if the Jets and Ravens both tie, the Broncos are eliminated.
The Broncos are a wild card if they lose as long as these four teams all lose as well: the Steelers,
Texans, Ravens, and Jets. If in addition the Jaguars lose or tie, the Broncos will be 5th seed; otherwise
they will be 6th seed. If any of the four teams wins or ties, the Broncos are eliminated.
Houston Texans (8-7) need help to earn a wild-card berth. They are a wild card if they win and any
two of the following three teams lose or tie: the Broncos, Ravens, and Jets. They will be 6th seed
unless all three teams lose or tie, in which case they will be 5th seed. They are eliminated if at least
two of the three teams win. They are also eliminated if they lose.
They are a wild card if they tie and (1.) at least two of the Broncos, Ravens, and Jets lose while the
Steelers lose or tie, or (2.) all three lose while the Steelers win. They will be 6th seed unless the
Broncos, Ravens, and Jets all lose while the Steelers lose or tie, in which case the Texans will be 5th
seed. They are eliminated if at least two of the Broncos, Ravens, and Jets win or tie while the Steelers
lose or tie, or if any one of the three teams wins or ties while the Steelers win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) need help to earn a wild-card berth. They are a wild card if they win and
either (1.) the Ravens or Jets lose or tie and the Texans lose or tie, or (2.) the Ravens and Jets lose or
tie and either the Texans or Broncos lose or tie. They will be 6th seed unless the Ravens, Jets, and
Texans all lose or tie, in which case they will be 5th seed. They are eliminated if the Texans win,
unless the Ravens, Broncos, and Jets all lose or tie. They are also eliminated if they lose.
They are a wild card if they tie and either (1.) the Ravens or Jets lose, the Texans lose, and the Broncos
lose or tie, (2.) the Ravens and Jets lose and the Texans or Broncos lose, or (3.) the Ravens and Jets
lose, the Texans win, and the Broncos tie. They will be 6th seed unless the Ravens, Jets, and Texans all
lose and the Broncos lose or tie, in which case they will be 5th seed. They are eliminated if the Texans
win, unless the Ravens and Jets lose and the Broncos lose or tie. They are eliminated if the Texans tie,
unless the Ravens, Jets, and Broncos all lose.
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8) must win and have help to earn a wild-card berth. They are a wild card if
they win while at least four of the following five teams lose: the Steelers, Texans, Ravens, Broncos,
and Jets. They will be 6th seed if exactly four of those teams lose and 5th seed if all five lose.
Otherwise they will be eliminated.
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.
Page 10
Miami Dolphins (7-8) must win and have lots of help to earn a wild-card berth. They are a wild card,
with 6th seed and a first-round game at New England, if they win while the Jets, Ravens, and Texans
all lose and the Jaguars lose or tie. In any other scenario, the Dolphins are eliminated.
Tennessee Titans (7-8) are eliminated from the playoffs. In their best-case scenario, they would win
while the Texans lose and the Jaguars lose or tie; the Titans would then finish second in the South
Division with an 8-8 record. However, they would need at least three of the 8-7 teams from other
divisions to lose, or else no 8-8 teams could make the playoffs. In any tiebreaker involving multiple
teams from other divisions, the Titans would lose because of their 4-8 conference record.
2009 NFC Team-By-Team
New Orleans Saints (13-2) are South Division champions and have clinched home-field advantage
throughout the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings (11-4) are North Division champions. They will have a bye week as the 2nd seed
if they win at home against the Giants and the Eagles lose or tie at Dallas, or if they tie and the Eagles
lose. Otherwise they will host a first-round game.
Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) have clinched a playoff berth and control their own destiny for the East
Division title and a bye week. They win the division, with a bye week as the 2nd seed, if they win at
Dallas. They win the division if they tie Dallas and have a bye week if in addition the Vikings lose or
tie at home against the Giants. They are a wild card if they lose to Dallas, with a 6th seed if the
Packers win at Arizona or a 5th seed if the Packers lose or tie.
Arizona Cardinals (10-5) are West Division champions and need help to earn a bye week. They will
have a bye week as the 2nd seed if they win at home against Green Bay, the Vikings lose at home
against the Giants, and the Eagles lose at Dallas. Otherwise they will host a first-round game. If they
lose to Green Bay, then next week they host Green Bay again.
Dallas Cowboys (10-5) have clinched a playoff berth, control their own destiny for the East Division
title, and need help to earn a bye week. They win the division if they win at home against Philadelphia.
They will have a bye week if they win, the Vikings lose at home against the Giants, and the Cardinals
lose or tie at home against Green Bay. They host a first-round game if they win and either the Vikings
win or tie or the Cardinals win. They are a wild card if they tie, with the 6th seed if the Packers win or
tie and the 5th seed if the Packers lose. They are the 6th seed wild card if they lose.
Green Bay Packers (10-5) have clinched a wild-card berth. They are the 5th seed if they win at
Arizona, or if they tie and the Cowboys lose or tie at home against Philadelphia, or if they lose and the
Cowboys lose. They are the 6th seed if they tie and the Cowboys win, or if they lose and the Cowboys
win or tie. If they win, they play at Arizona again next week in a first-round playoff game.
© 2010 Jonathan Elgart. May be freely distributed if copyright notice is preserved.

Joel’s Hit Show, Episode 50, December 27 2009 Playlist

December 27, 2009

KT Tunstall, Little by Little
Joanna Newsom, Sprout and the Bean
Nouvelle Vague, Metal
The New Pornographers, Letter From an Occupant
El Perro del Mar, Let Me In
Meshell Ndegeocello, Andromeda & the Milky Way
Cold Cave, Life Magazine
Negativland/Chumbawamba, The ABCs of Anarchism
Real Estate, Snow Days
Marisa Nadler, Dying Breed
Tulsa, Thunderbird
Neko Case & Her Boyfriends, Bowling Green
South China, Sun Sets on Washington Ave.
The Muffs, Sad Tomorrow
Family of the Year, Stupidland
Music Go Music, Just Me
A Fine Frenzy, Happier
Mummy the Peepshow, M.T.P. Pt. 2
Bellflur, Bright Lights
Mum, Prophecies and Reversed Memories
The Slits, Crybaby
The Moto-Litas, Not Happy Today
DJ Rupture & Matt Shadetek, Blue Nights
Mt. Eerie, Julie Doiron & Fred Squire, If We Knew…
Ponytail, Beg Waves
¡andale!, Eventually
Morcheeba, Like a Military Coup
Die Mannequin, Beg Waves
Corner Laughers, Thunderbird

The Million Stars “To Love”

December 27, 2009

Here we have some standard female-fronted folky pop, like Suran Song in Stag or Flashing Red Airplane. The singing is not as distinctive as Bettie Serveert’s Carol van Dyk, but it’s off in that direction. “A Quiet Life” provides a good example of this. The piano is quite distinctive during the chorus.
“Moth” is a rainy-day-style song. It’s not specifically dreary, but it’s littered with somber moments, similar to what Lisa Germano is famous for.
“Flowers Strung on a Tree” is as good as any other track. (They do kind of all sound the same.) Not the best album for driving in traffic, but it’s good for studying or while watching football with the TV on mute.
Bands such as Rasputina get away with this because they’re a little weird. The Million Stars come across as straight-shooters, and it makes the music less distinctive. Again, it’s good, but there is nothing compelling about it. I welcome it to my library, but it will not receive special treatment.

Radagun “Life Lessons”

December 27, 2009

Holy shit. The first track, “Not the One”? Has the same melody and beat as “Three Small Words” by Josie and the Pussycats. This cannot be an accident. It’s too similar. Holy crap I can’t believe it. Of course I like the song. If it were Noelle LeBlanc from Damone singing instead of Kay Hanley it would be the same thing.
This album confuses the hell out of me. “Check Me Out” is the splitting image of a “From the Attic”-era Damone track with the musical accompaniment of a Kelly Clarkson song. You know who’d like this? Dakin. You know who else would? Me.
But the reason this album confuses the hell out of me is because it is completely overproduced (hence the Kay Hanley and Damone references), yet I had to manually enter the track information in iTunes. Why would you spend so much on production when you’re self-releasing an album? It boggles the mind.
This could have been on my top 10 of the year (no link intentional), but it released in mid-December. To quote Gary Radnich when he quotes that other guy, who does that? But seriously, this entire album is great. It is the direction emo was going in until all the guys in that scene remembered that they were insecure and got 50 piercings and tattoos and started screaming. But for five minutes, this was where emo was headed, and I was damn excited.
Another great keyword for this: This album reminds me of Rocking Horse Winner, whose album “Horizon” just might be my album of the decade (no link intentional again). But this review is about Radagun, and they are awesome… dare I say, no. I don’t dare say it.
“Lie to Me” slows it down a bit and again sounds a lot like Damone. “Dear Self” adds the disco beat that a lot of today’s new music has. They’re playing with a stacked deck here. It sounds better than, say, Metro Station because they’re better than Metro Station. It seems that they made this track because they were told to, though. Well, it is what the kids like, I guess. “Party Girl” does this too. Same music style as bis but with less-frenetic vocals.
And it goes on. This entire album is fucking amazing. It’s why I don’t give up and just listen to the music I have all the time.

Kristina Morland “Pidgin Music”

December 27, 2009

Kristina Morland has me whipped into a fine frenzy on “Pidgin Music.” This album actually has a real Pinoisepop feel to it, although I think Morland wala paki alam about that. But the vocals and musical style remind me of an acoustic Sixes and Sevens or Moonpools and Caterpillars. Grey Anne, too, especially on “Day Dream.” This music is very beautiful.
“Echo Charting” is another winner, using all kinds of instruments that someone more cultured than myself would recognize. Oh, the liner notes. Violin and clarinet. Sure. That could be this! It has a very accessible sound; that’s the point.
“Silence” is the last track and is a subdued version of the rest of the album, but is still a fundamentally sound track, and it reminds me of what Ruby’s Leslie Rankin would do when she didn’t feel like being crazy. It really happened, once or twice.
You can’t go wrong with any of these tracks. High-quality vocals and musical accompaniment make for a quality listening experience.

Episode 1249 is up

December 24, 2009

Uploading videos to YouTube with superfast Internet

December 24, 2009

It seems that the Sprint wireless card that Yahoo! gave me is too fast for its own good. I tried to upload episodes with it, and it would upload the video to YouTube so quickly that YouTube would abort the upload. I mean we’re talking a 600MB file in 30 seconds. That’s fast. So how will I get through this?

I found a good workaround. I just jump on the Yahoo! VPN, which is only so fast, and now it uploads at a more pedestrian speed. The same 600MB file should take about two hours to upload. Now I can Fixodent and forget it.

Episode 1248 is up

December 24, 2009

Episode 1247 is up

December 24, 2009