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AFC Tiebreakers entering Week 15 (plus DEN-IND, LAC-KC)

The following charts seek to answer the following question: If these two (or more) teams finish with the same record, who wins the tiebreaker?

Notes and assumptions:

  1. No possibility of future tie games.
  2. Tiebreaker winners are as they would be if the teams were tied at the end of the season, NOT as if the season ended right now. (Example: NE and BUF can only finish tied if BUF beats NE Week 16.)
  3. Tiebreakers that don’t affect playoff berths or seeding are ignored.¬† (Example: If HOU and IND both finish 4-12, IND finishes in front of HOU in the AFC South.)
  4. Division ties are broken first.  (Example: If BUF, MIA, and BAL all finish 8-8, break the BUF-MIA tie first.  Then apply the tiebreaker between BAL and the BUF-MIA winner.)
  5. If three or more teams are tied, apply that tiebreaker, not the two-team tiebreaker.
  6. Strength of victory is the combined winning percentage (essentially, the number of wins) of the teams a team has beaten. It has nothing to do with point totals.
  7. Scenario by which HOU could have made the playoffs: (1-3) HOU beats JAX, PIT, IND; (4-5) MIA sweeps BUF; (6) BUF loses to NE; (7-8) MIA loses to NE, KC; (9-11) BAL loses to CLE, IND, CIN; (12-13) CIN beats exactly 1 of MIN, DET; (14-16) LAC loses to KC, NYJ, OAK; (17-18) OAK loses to DAL, PHI; (19) NYJ loses to NO and/or NE; (20) HOU has better strength-of-victory than BUF, CIN, OAK.  (Moot, since MIA beat NE Monday night.)
  8. The #6 seed will have at least an 8-8 record (barring a BUF-MIA tie in one of their two remaining matchups and a MIA win in the other).  Any 8-8 tie for the #6 seed must include at least one of BUF/MIA/NYJ or TEN.
  9. KC wins any AFC West tiebreaker at 9-7 and can’t match up with a non-division-winning 9-7 BUF, MIA, BAL, or JAX.
  10. Clinched division: PIT.
  11. Eliminated: CLE, IND, DEN, HOU.
  12. Eliminated from division: MIA, NYJ, CIN.
  13. The complete tiebreaker rules are here.

AFC East

NYJ and MIA eliminated from division.

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
NE-BUF 10-6 BUF division record
BUF-MIA 8-8 BUF splits with MIA MIA division record
BUF-MIA 8-8 MIA sweeps BUF MIA head-to-head
BUF-NYJ 8-8 NYJ division record
MIA-NYJ 8-8 MIA sweeps BUF MIA division record
MIA-NYJ 8-8 MIA splits with BUF MIA common opponents
BUF-MIA-NYJ 8-8 BUF splits with MIA MIA
  1. BUF eliminated on division record
  2. common opponents
BUF-MIA-NYJ 8-8 MIA sweeps BUF MIA head-to-head

AFC North

PIT clinched division.  CLE eliminated from playoffs.

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
BAL-CIN 8-8 BAL beats CLE ? strength-of-victory
BAL-CIN 8-8 BAL loses to CLE CIN division record

AFC South

IND and HOU eliminated from playoffs.

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
TEN-JAX TEN beats JAX TEN head-to-head
TEN-JAX 10-6 JAX beats TEN TEN common opponents

AFC West

DEN eliminated from playoffs.

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
KC-OAK KC division record
KC-LAC KC head-to-head
OAK-LAC 8-8 OAK beats LAC OAK division record
OAK-LAC 8-8 LAC beats OAK LAC head-to-head
KC-OAK-LAC 8-8 KC head-to-head

Conference tiebreakers

2-team ties

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
NE-PIT NE beats PIT NE head-to-head
NE-PIT 12-4 PIT beats NE PIT head-to-head
NE-BAL 10-6 BAL conference record
NE-TEN TEN beats SF, LAR NE common opponents
NE-TEN 10-6 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR TEN conference record
NE-JAX JAX conference record
NE-KC 10-6 KC head-to-head
BUF-BAL BAL beats IND, CIN BAL common opponents
BUF-BAL 9-7
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF sweeps MIA
? strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
BAL common opponents
BUF-BAL 8-8
  • BAL loses to IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
? strength-of-victory
BUF-CIN 8-8 CIN head-to-head
BUF-TEN 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR BUF conference record
BUF-TEN
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of¬†SF, LAR
  • BUF sweeps MIA
BUF common opponents
BUF-TEN 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
? strength-of-victory
BUF-TEN TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-JAX 10-6 JAX beats SF JAX common opponents
BUF-JAX JAX loses to SF JAX conference record
BUF-KC BUF head-to-head
BUF-OAK BUF head-to-head
BUF-LAC LAC head-to-head
MIA-BAL BAL head-to-head
MIA-CIN 8-8 MIA conference record
MIA-TEN MIA head-to-head
MIA-JAX 9-7 MIA common opponents
MIA-KC 8-8 MIA head-to-head
MIA-OAK OAK head-to-head
MIA-LAC MIA head-to-head
NYJ-BAL 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-CIN 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-TEN 8-8 NYJ common opponents
NYJ-KC 8-8 NYJ head-to-head
NYJ-OAK 8-8 OAK head-to-head
NYJ-LAC 8-8 NYJ head-to-head
PIT-TEN 11-5 PIT head-to-head
PIT-JAX JAX head-to-head
BAL-TEN TEN head-to-head
BAL-JAX JAX head-to-head
BAL-KC 8-8 BAL common opponents
BAL-OAK BAL head-to-head
BAL-LAC BAL conference record
CIN-TEN 8-8 TEN head-to-head
CIN-KC 8-8 ? strength-of-victory
CIN-OAK 8-8 OAK beats DAL, PHI CIN conference record
CIN-OAK 8-8 OAK beats exactly 1 of DAL, PHI CIN common opponents
CIN-LAC 8-8 CIN conference record
TEN-KC 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR KC conference record
TEN-KC TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR KC common opponents
TEN-KC TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
TEN-OAK OAK head-to-head
TEN-LAC TEN conference record
JAX-KC 10-6 JAX beats SF ? strength-of-victory
JAX-KC 10-6 JAX loses to SF JAX conference record
JAX-OAK 9-7 JAX conference record
JAX-LAC 9-7 JAX head-to-head

3-team

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
NE-PIT-TEN 11-5 ? strength-of-victory
NE-PIT-JAX NE beats PIT JAX
  1. PIT eliminated on head-to-head
  2. conference record
NE-PIT-JAX 12-4 PIT beats NE JAX conference record
NE-BAL-TEN 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR BAL conference record
NE-BAL-TEN 10-6 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR TEN
  1. NE eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
NE-BAL-JAX 10-6 JAX beats SF JAX
  1. NE eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
NE-BAL-JAX 10-6 JAX loses to SF JAX conference record
NE-TEN-KC 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR KC conference record
NE-TEN-KC 10-6 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR KC
  1. NE eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NE-JAX-KC 10-6 JAX beats SF JAX/KC
  1. NE eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
NE-JAX-KC 10-6 JAX loses to SF JAX conference record
BUF-BAL-TEN 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR BAL
  1. TEN eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of¬†SF, LAR
  • BAL beats IND, CIN
BAL common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF sweeps MIA
? strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-TEN 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of¬†SF, LAR
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
TEN
  1. BUF eliminated on common opponents
  2. head-to-head
BUF-BAL-TEN TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-BAL-JAX 10-6 JAX beats SF ? strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-JAX JAX loses to SF JAX conference record
BUF-BAL-KC 8-8 ? strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-OAK 9-7
  • OAK beats DAL, PHI
  • BAL beats IND, CIN
BAL
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-OAK 9-7
  • OAK beats DAL, PHI
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF sweeps MIA
BUF/BAL
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-OAK
  • OAK beats DAL, PHI
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
BAL
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-OAK 8-8
  • OAK beats DAL, PHI
  • BAL loses to IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
BUF/BAL
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-OAK 8-8 OAK beats exactly 1 of DAL, PHI ? strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-LAC 9-7 BAL beats IND, CIN BAL
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-LAC 9-7
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF sweeps MIA
BUF/BAL
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-LAC
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
BAL
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-CIN-TEN 8-8 TEN conference record
BUF-CIN-KC 8-8 ? strength-of-victory
BUF-CIN-OAK 8-8 OAK beats DAL, PHI CIN
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
BUF-CIN-OAK 8-8 OAK beats exactly 1 of DAL, PHI ? strength-of-victory
BUF-CIN-LAC 8-8 CIN
  1. BUF eliminated on head-to-head
  2. conference record
BUF-TEN-KC 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR BUF
  1. TEN eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
BUF-TEN-KC 10-6 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR ? strength-of-victory
BUF-TEN-KC 8-8 TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-TEN-OAK 9-7 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR BUF
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-TEN-OAK TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-TEN-LAC 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BUF sweeps MIA
BUF
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-TEN-LAC 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
BUF/TEN
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-TEN-LAC TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-JAX-KC 10-6 JAX beats SF ? strength-of-victory
BUF-JAX-KC 10-6 JAX loses to SF JAX conference record
BUF-JAX-OAK 9-7 JAX conference record
BUF-JAX-LAC 9-7 JAX conference record
MIA-BAL-TEN 9-7 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR MIA conference record
MIA-BAL-TEN TEN loses to SF, LAR MIA
  1. BAL eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
MIA-BAL-JAX 9-7 JAX conference record
MIA-BAL-KC 8-8 MIA conference record
MIA-BAL-OAK BAL head-to-head
MIA-BAL-LAC MIA conference record
MIA-CIN-TEN 8-8 MIA
  1. CIN eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
MIA-CIN-KC 8-8 MIA conference record
MIA-CIN-OAK 8-8 MIA conference record
MIA-CIN-LAC 8-8 MIA conference record
MIA-TEN-KC 8-8 MIA head-to-head
MIA-TEN-OAK OAK head-to-head
MIA-TEN-LAC MIA head-to-head
MIA-JAX-OAK 9-7 MIA
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
MIA-JAX-LAC 9-7 MIA
  1. LAC eliminated on head-to-head
  2. common opponents
NYJ-BAL-TEN 8-8 NYJ
  1. BAL eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-BAL-KC 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-BAL-OAK 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-BAL-LAC 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-CIN-TEN 8-8 NYJ
  1. CIN eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-CIN-KC 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-CIN-OAK 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-CIN-LAC 8-8 NYJ conference record
NYJ-TEN-KC 8-8 NYJ
  1. KC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-TEN-OAK 8-8 OAK head-to-head
NYJ-TEN-LAC 8-8 NYJ
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BAL-TEN-KC 8-8 TEN conference record
BAL-TEN-OAK 9-7 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR TEN
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
BAL-TEN-OAK TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR TEN
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
BAL-TEN-LAC TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BAL-JAX-OAK 9-7 JAX conference record
BAL-JAX-LAC 9-7 JAX head-to-head
CIN-TEN-KC 8-8 TEN conference record
CIN-TEN-OAK 8-8 TEN conference record
CIN-TEN-LAC 8-8 TEN conference record

4-team

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
BUF-BAL-TEN-KC 8-8 TEN conference record
BUF-BAL-TEN-OAK 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats IND, CIN
BAL
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN-OAK 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF sweeps MIA
BUF/BAL/TEN
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-TEN-OAK 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with MIA
TEN
  1. OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. BUF eliminated on common opponents
  3. head-to-head
BUF-BAL-TEN-OAK TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 10-6 TEN beats SF, LAR BAL
  1. TEN & LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats IND, CIN
BAL
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF sweeps MIA
BUF/BAL/TEN
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7
  • TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR
  • BAL beats exactly 1 of IND, CIN
  • BUF splits with¬†MIA
TEN
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. BUF eliminated on common opponents
  3. head-to-head
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC TEN loses to SF, LAR TEN conference record
BUF-BAL-JAX-OAK 9-7 JAX conference record
BUF-BAL-JAX-LAC 9-7 JAX conference record
BUF-CIN-TEN-KC 8-8 TEN conference record
BUF-CIN-TEN-OAK 8-8 TEN conference record
BUF-CIN-TEN-LAC 8-8 TEN conference record
MIA-BAL-TEN-KC 8-8 MIA
  1. BAL & KC eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
MIA-BAL-TEN-OAK 9-7 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR MIA conference record
MIA-BAL-TEN-OAK TEN loses to SF, LAR MIA
  1. BAL & OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
MIA-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats exactly 1 of SF, LAR MIA conference record
MIA-BAL-TEN-LAC TEN loses to SF, LAR MIA
  1. BAL & LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
MIA-BAL-JAX-OAK 9-7 MIA
  1. BAL & OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
MIA-BAL-JAX-LAC 9-7 MIA
  1. BAL & LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
MIA-CIN-TEN-KC 8-8 MIA
  1. CIN & KC eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
MIA-CIN-TEN-LAC 8-8 MIA
  • CIN & LAC eliminated on conference record
  • head-to-head
NYJ-BAL-TEN-KC 8-8 NYJ
  1. BAL & KC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-BAL-TEN-OAK 8-8 NYJ
  1. BAL & OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-BAL-TEN-LAC 8-8 NYJ
  1. BAL & LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-CIN-TEN-KC 8-8 NYJ
  1. CIN & KC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-CIN-TEN-OAK 8-8 NYJ
  1. CIN & OAK eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
NYJ-CIN-TEN-LAC 8-8 NYJ
  1. CIN & LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents

 

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2 thoughts on “AFC Tiebreakers entering Week 15 (plus DEN-IND, LAC-KC)

  1. Scenarios like “MIA-BAL-HOU-KC 7-9” seem pointless to list under guideline 3, since KC going 7-9 is sufficient to guarantee that the #6 seed will have at least 7.5 wins.

  2. Yeah, I originally didn’t catch every AFC West scenario that could no longer happen when I updated. Should be fixed now.

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