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AFC Tiebreakers entering Week 16 (plus IND-BAL)

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: JAX and TEN can only finish tied if TEN beats JAX Week 17.)
  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. The #6 seed will have at least an 8-8 record.  Any 8-8 tie for the #6 seed must include at least two of BUF/MIA and TEN.
  8. KC wins any AFC West tiebreaker at 9-7 and can’t match up at 9-7 with non-division-winning BUF, BAL, or TEN.
  9. Clinched division: NE, PIT.
  10. Clinched playoff berth: JAX.
  11. Eliminated: NYJ, CIN, CLE, IND, HOU, DEN.
  12. Eliminated from division: MIA, BUF, BAL, OAK.
  13. The complete tiebreaker rules are here.

AFC East

NE clinched division.  NYJ eliminated from playoffs.

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
BUF-MIA 8-8 MIA division record

AFC North

PIT clinched division.  CLE and CIN eliminated from playoffs.

AFC South

JAX clinched playoff berth.  IND and HOU eliminated from playoffs.

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

AFC West

DEN eliminated from playoffs.  OAK eliminated from division.

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
KC-OAK 8-8 KC division record
KC-LAC KC head-to-head
OAK-LAC 8-8 OAK division record
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 head-to-head
NE-JAX JAX conference record
BUF-BAL 10-6 BAL beats CIN BAL common opponents
BUF-BAL 9-7 BAL loses to CIN and BUF beats MIA likely BUF strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL 9-7 BUF loses to MIA BAL common opponents
BUF-TEN TEN beats LAR and BUF beats MIA BUF common opponents
BUF-TEN 9-7 TEN beats LAR and BUF loses to MIA likely BUF strength-of-victory
BUF-TEN TEN loses to LAR TEN conference record
BUF-JAX 10-6 JAX conference record
BUF-KC BUF head-to-head
BUF-LAC LAC head-to-head
MIA-TEN 8-8 MIA head-to-head
PIT-JAX JAX head-to-head
BAL-TEN TEN head-to-head
BAL-JAX 10-6 JAX head-to-head
BAL-LAC 9-7 BAL conference record
TEN-KC TEN beats LAR KC common opponents
TEN-KC TEN loses to LAR TEN conference record
TEN-LAC TEN conference record
JAX-KC 10-6 JAX conference record

3-team

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
NE-PIT-JAX JAX
  1. PIT eliminated on head-to-head
  2. conference record
BUF-BAL-TEN 10-6 BAL beats CIN BAL common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN 9-7
  • TEN beats LAR
  • BAL loses to CIN
  • BUF beats MIA

BUF/BAL,

likely BUF

  1. TEN eliminated on common opponents
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-TEN 9-7
  • TEN beats LAR
  • BAL loses to CIN
  • BUF loses to MIA
BAL common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN 9-7 TEN loses to LAR TEN conference record
BUF-BAL-JAX 10-6 JAX conference record
BUF-BAL-LAC 9-7 BUF beats MIA

BUF/BAL,

likely BUF

  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-LAC 9-7 BUF loses to MIA BAL
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-TEN-KC 8-8 TEN conference record
BUF-TEN-OAK 8-8 TEN conference record
BUF-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats LAR and BUF beats MIA BUF
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats LAR and BUF loses to MIA

BUF/TEN,

likely BUF

  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. strength-of-victory
BUF-TEN-LAC TEN loses to LAR TEN conference record
MIA-TEN-KC 8-8 MIA head-to-head
MIA-TEN-OAK 8-8 OAK head-to-head
MIA-TEN-LAC 8-8 MIA head-to-head
BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats LAR TEN
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. head-to-head
BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN loses to LAR TEN conference record

4-team

If these teams tie at and these things happen tie goes to based on
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats LAR and BUF beats MIA

BUF/BAL,

likely BUF

  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. TEN eliminated on common opponents
  3. strength-of-victory
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN beats LAR and BUF loses to MIA BAL
  1. LAC eliminated on conference record
  2. common opponents
BUF-BAL-TEN-LAC 9-7 TEN loses to LAR TEN conference record

 

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