Everyone is wondering where we stand if the Panther’s beat the Cardinals and the Bengals lose to the Browns. After looking into it, this week will be most relevant to determining the relative SoS because half of the remaining relevant games (if you include last night’s game) occur this week.
In my analysis I look only at wins rather than computing percentages. Some of the percentage calculations at this point leave marginal differences that will be irrelevant once all games are played. If Bengals’ opponents have more wins than Panthers’ opponents (and they both finish 2-14) then we win the SoS battle. This keeps us from having to get into numerators and denominators.
Where we currently stand (included SD win last night): Panthers 123; Bengals 123 (Wins referenced herein are opponents wins)
If Panthers win and Bengals lose: Panthers 124; Bengals 126
If you add in guarantied wins through the end of the year to those number: Panthers 137; Bengals 140
If the Bengals lose out and the Panthers only win this week: Panther 140; Bengals 144
The bad news is that the Panthers have more undecided games at this point than the Bengals do: Panthers 11; Bengals 8 (though after this week they will have an equal number of undecided games). If one in the hand is worth two in the bush we still look pretty good.
If we project that the Panthers and Bengals both end 2-14 with the Panthers win coming this week, the undecided games are:
Week 15 The team we want to win is in bold and the possible net effect of the game is also listed.
JAC v. IND +1 Bengals
KC v. STL +1 Panthers
DET v. TB +2 Panthers
NO v. BAL +1 Panthers or +1 Bengals (this game will be +2 for one team and +1 for the other)
PHI v. NYG +1 Panthers
CHI v. MIN +1 Panthers
Week 15 Total Possible +6 Panthers; +3 Bengals
DAL v. AZ +1 Panthers
NYJ v. CHI +1 Panthers or +1 Bengals
DET v. MIA +1 Bengals
IND v. OAK +1 Bengals
NYG v. GB +1 Panthers
Week 16 Total Possible +3 Panthers; +3 Bengals
CHI v. GB +1 Panthers
TN v. IND +1 Bengals
NYG v. WASH +1 Panthers
SD v. DEN +1 Bengals
Week 17 Total Possible +2 Panthers; +2 Bengals
You may notice that this does not include any games between division rivals. The reason is that those games are already decided as far as their SoS effect. SF v. Stl is going to be +1 for the Panthers regardless of who wins.
You may also notice that games between a division rival and the other division in the same conference are also not included. Because the NFC South plays the AFC North, a game between a division rival and the other division that conference plays actually has no net effect. If Panthers’ division rival wins against an NFC West team it is +2 to Panthers and +1 to Bengals (net of +1). If the NFC West team wins it is plus +1 to Panthers +0 to Bengals which has the same net effect.
If the Panthers lose this week then the Bengals will have one less win than mentioned above. Depending on how the week plays out, we could have some clarity on the #1 pick (This would probably require an unlikely Detroit win). While we cannot clinch it this week, we could be in a position to clinch next week due to the few relevant games in Week 17.