ESPN’s Playoff Machine is a tool of pure chaos. The highly addictive interface allows users to plug in winners and losers of every single remaining game of the NFL season, while also providing the resulting postseason seedings and matchups in real time.
There’s a nightmare scenario available for creation in which three NFC East teams make the 2015 postseason.
In fact, with just the right wins and losses over the final four weeks, the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys can all make the six-team postseason field in the NFC. (Sorry, Redskins fans.)
Here’s the complex, never-going-to-happen scenario:
– In Week 14, the Eagles beat the Bills, the Cowboys beat the Packers, the Giants beat the Dolphins and the Redskins beat the Bears.
– A week later, the Eagles beat the Cardinals, the Cowboys beat the Jets, the Giants beat the Panthers and the Redskins beat the Bills.
– In Week 16, the Eagles beat the Redskins, the Cowboys beat the Bills and the Giants beat the Redskins.
– During the final week, the Giants beat the Eagles and the Cowboys beat the Redskins.
With these results, the Giants win the division at 9-7, while the Eagles and Cowboys both make the postseason as 8-8 wild cards.
Of course, far more than the wins and losses listed above need to happen for this all to play out.
The Seahawks, who are currently 7-5, need to lose out and finish 7-9. The Vikings also need to lose out and finish 8-8. And that’s just the start. Change one other game here or there, and tiebreakers can be altered. In this unthinkable scenario, both the Eagles and Cowboys win tiebreakers over the 8-8 Vikings and 8-8 Bears to get into the postseason.
Can you imagine the wild card pandemonium? The 9-7 Giants would host the 8-8 Cowboys, while the 8-8 Eagles would travel to Green Bay. If nothing else, the networks would love it.
I haven’t crunched the numbers, but there’s almost no chance this scenario will play out over the final four weeks. That’s a very good thing. The NFL postseason probably doesn’t need one NFC East team, much less three.