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This question mentions how tiebreakers are determined among teams within a division.

During the 2013 NFL season, a scenario has developed where four teams are eligible (Baltimore and Pittsburgh - AFC North, Miami - AFC East, San Diego - AFC West) for the conference's final playoff spot with one regular season game remaining.

The catch is, no team can win the remaining game and be guaranteed the final playoff spot...each team, with a win, needs at least one other eligible team to lose to be guaranteed the final playoff spot (except in the case where all teams win, in which Miami will get the final playoff spot). Furthermore, if all teams lose, Baltimore will get the final playoff spot.

See probabilities below:

2013 AFC 6th seed probabilities

Given these probabilities, how are tiebreakers determined among teams within a conference?

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1 Answer 1

Two teams

  1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Strength of victory.
  5. Strength of schedule.
  6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best net points in conference games.
  9. Best net points in all games.
  10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  11. Coin toss.

Three or more teams (Note: If two teams remain tied after the third step or other teams are eliminated, tiebreaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-team format.)

  1. Apply division tiebreaker to eliminate all but the highest-ranked team in each division prior to proceeding to step
  2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tiebreaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two wild-card participants.
  3. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one team has defeated each of the others or if one team has lost to each of the others.)
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  5. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  6. Strength of victory.
  7. Strength of schedule.
  8. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  9. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  10. Best net points in conference games.
  11. Best net points in all games.
  12. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  13. Coin toss.

When the first wild-card team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second wild card, i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked team in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. In situations where three or more teams from the same division are involved in the procedure, the original seeding of the teams remains the same for subsequent applications of the tiebreaker if the top-ranked team in that division qualifies for a wild-card berth.

OTHER TIEBREAKING PROCEDURES

  1. Only one team advances to the playoffs in any tiebreaking step. Remaining tied teams revert to the first step of the applicable division or wild-card tiebreakers. As an example, if two teams remain tied in any tiebreaker step after all other teams have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to step one of the two-team format to determine the winner. When one team wins the tiebreaker, all other teams revert to step 1 of the applicable two-team or three-team format.
  2. In comparing division and conference records or records against common opponents among tied teams, the best won-lost-tied percentage is the deciding factor since teams may have played an unequal number of games.
  3. To determine home-field priority among division titlists, apply wild-card tiebreakers.
  4. To determine home-field priority for wild-card qualifiers, apply division tiebreakers (if teams are from the same division) or wild-card tiebreakers (if teams are from different divisions).
  5. To determine the best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed, add a team's position in the two categories, and the lowest score wins. For example, if Team A is first in points scored and second in points allowed, its combined ranking is
    1. If Team B is third in points scored and first in points allowed, its combined ranking is 4. Team A then wins the tiebreaker. If two teams are tied for a position, both teams are awarded the ranking as if they held it solely. For example, if Team A and Team B are tied for first in points scored, each team is assigned a ranking of 1 in that category, and if Team C is third, its ranking will still be 3.

source ESPN.com, NFL.com

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Thanks for the response. To take this a step further, to really illuminate your response, how would the probabilities from the question be determined by the verbiage you source? Eg, Steelers and Ravens split the 1st tiebreaker, the head-to-head series (1-1 or .500). Then, because they are in the same division, the 2nd tiebreaker is W-L % within their division, which Pittsburgh (4-2 or .667) now has by result of their win and a Baltimore (3-3 or .500) loss. –  edmastermind29 Dec 30 '13 at 6:10
    
Before the one remaining game of the season, Baltimore and Pittsburgh's record in their division was 3-2 or .600 each, but the 3rd tiebreaker, W-L % among "common games," Baltimore's record in "common games", which were teams from the NFC north, AFC East, and divisional opponents based on the schedule was 7-4 or .636 and Pittsburgh's record was 6-5 or .545, giving the tiebreaker to Baltimore. –  edmastermind29 Dec 30 '13 at 6:18

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