RUSH: Seth in Florida, nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Good day, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: And mega dittos. Changing pace a little bit on the conversation today.
CALLER: Actually I’m looking for some education on the NFL and the playoff seedings for this year.
RUSH: Oh, the playoff seedings.
RUSH: How can I help?
CALLER: Well, it seems that the AFC South is going to have a bit of a dilemma because I believe the Titans have already clinched the AFC South title.
RUSH: Yeah, the important thing is they’ve clinched at least the number five seed.
CALLER: No, no, the Titans. Now, the Colts have clinched the five seed.
RUSH: The Colts, number five seed, they did it last night against the Jaguars.
CALLER: Right. And they’ve already handed the Titans the AFC South title.
CALLER: But if the Titans lose this weekend to the Steelers, and I presume they will because of the injuries, and then they got the Colts the last week of the season and they lose to the Colts and because I’m a Colts fan I presume they’ll lose that game as well, doesn’t that then mean the Colts will be the AFC South champions, and how will the NFL handle that?
RUSH: No, it could be but no, the tie-breaking formulas here are intricate. Off the top of my head here, I don’t have them in order, but first off would be head-to-head competition, so, you know, how are the Titans against the Colts this year —
CALLER: They lost the first game, but if the Colts win the second they’ll split.
RUSH: Okay, so they split. Then they come down to conference record.
CALLER: It will be identical.
RUSH: Then it will come down to division record.
CALLER: That I’m not sure about.
RUSH: Division record first, then conference. Well, the division record would likely be the tiebreaker, but then conference — then common opponents. And then points. And it gets even more intricate than that. I’m going to look this up. I know exactly where to go to find out what’s going to happen depending on these scenarios that you spelled out, because people have already got it posted at various websites.
CALLER: Hmm. Okay.
RUSH: But I think the Titans are guaranteed a week one bye and a home game. The only question for the Titans is whether they’re number one or number two seed.
CALLER: But if they lose to Pittsburgh and to Indy, I mean I guess I’m thinking that the Colts should have that either number one or number two spot.
RUSH: Don’t think about it. I’ll find out here in a minute.
RUSH: I checked a couple of different places. My instincts on this were right. The Indianapolis Colts are probably — well, they’re number five seed, and even if the Titans lose on Sunday to the Steelers, the game between the Titans and the Colts, the last game of the season, is apparently meaningless to both teams and their rankings in the playoffs because of all these previous tiebreakers I mentioned, and the likelihood is that you’d get backup quarterbacks playing and so forth and so on. It was a cursory look here, but everywhere I’ve looked the possibilities here do not mention Indianapolis moving up. Now, if the Steelers had lost to Baltimore last week, they could have gone for the number two seed to number six, that’s how important last week’s game was. But the Titans do not face this. They’ve got a conference record, a division record that is better than Indy’s. Remember, Indy lost a tremendous number of games at the beginning of the season. They’ve lost two more games more than the Titans have and I don’t think there’s anything Indianapolis can do to move up from the number five seed in the AFC.
What’s at stake here this weekend for the Steelers and Titans is the number one seed. And that means you’ve got home field throughout and a bye week while the wildcard teams are slugging it out with the number three seeds who do not get a bye week. Now, if the Steelers beat the Titans this week, they then have to beat the Cleveland Browns the following week to get the number one seed, regardless of what Tennessee does. It’s not enough for the Steelers just to beat Tennessee, that will go a long way, but they still have to beat the Browns, which should be a fait accompli, given the Browns have their bags packed, as do the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets probably have a good chance of winning Sunday even though they’re 0-3 on the West Coast this year, but the Seahawks have their bags packed and that could work against them, too, you play loosey-goosey when it doesn’t matter, when there’s less stress, less pressure. So you never know.
Sunday night the Giants and the Panthers, and this is big. Also at stake here is the number one seed in the NFC, home field throughout. Then tomorrow night Dallas has an amazing two-games coming up. Baltimore is playing for the number six seed when they play Dallas. Dallas is playing for a low seed in the NFC. They’re on the cusp right now, but they’ve gotta beat the Ravens and then they have to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the final week of the NFL regular season.