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Daydream Believers . .

Daydream Believers . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2004; Page D04

Scenario 1 (The Face-Saving Scenario): The Seahawks at least split their remaining games and win the NFC West with a record no worse than 8-8, and one of the 6-8 teams manages to sweep its final two games to get into the playoffs at 8-8. Then, things are no worse than the 1999 NFC playoffs, when the Cowboys and Lions both got in at 8-8. The Panthers' schedule seems most favorable to a 2-0 finish, followed by that of the Saints. The Rams would have to beat two teams that are a combined 23-5.

Scenario 2 (Chaos): The Seahawks and Rams each lose their remaining games and Arizona loses one of its remaining games, giving Seattle the NFC West title at 7-9. No 6-8 team wins out, leaving the tiebreaker system to determine which 7-9 club gets the final wild-card spot. Teams with losing records reach the playoffs in a non-strike season for the first time in NFL history.

_____  Week 15 Results _____
Washington 26, San Fran. 16
Pittsburgh 33, N.Y. Giants 30
Atlanta 34, Carolina 31 (OT)

Indianapolis 20, Baltimore 10
Phila. 12, Dallas 7
N.Y. Jets 37, Seattle 14
San Diego 21, Cleveland 0
Minnesota 28, Detroit 27
Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 17
Houston 24, Chicago 5
Kansas City 45, Denver 17
Arizona 31, St. Louis 7
N.O. 21, Tampa Bay 17
Jacksonville 28, G.B. 25
Oakland 40, Tennessee 35

Miami 29, New England 28

Two-Minute Drill
Stats and stars of Week 15

_____ NFL's Strongest Safeties _____
Who is the NFL's best young safety?
Troy Polamalu - Steelers
Ed Reed - Ravens
Sean Taylor - Redskins
Roy Williams - Cowboys

   View results
Note: This is an unscientific survey of washingtonpost.com readers.

_____NFL Basics_____
Team index
NFL Section
_____Mark Maske's NFL Insider_____
Ankle Injury Likely to End Owens' Season (washingtonpost.com, Dec 20, 2004)
Decision on McNair's Season Could Come Soon (washingtonpost.com, Dec 17, 2004)
NFL Ahead of MLB on Steroids (washingtonpost.com, Dec 16, 2004)
_____Cardinals Basics_____
Cardinals page
Player stats
Opponent comparison
_____Seahawks Basics_____
Seahawks page
Player stats
Opponent comparison

If two teams finish tied for the final wild-card spot at 7-9, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition, followed by conference record. The Rams are 6-5 in conference play, followed by the Panthers and Redskins at 5-5. The Giants and Lions have the worst conference records among the contenders, at 4-7.

If three or more teams are tied for the wild card, ties are first broken among teams in the same division based on the divisional tiebreaking formula of head-to-head play, followed by division record, common opponents and conference record. The teams that emerge from the divisional tiebreaker then follow the tiebreaking procedure beginning with head-to-head competition, then conference record, then common opponents, etc. The 12th tiebreaker (right after No. 11: best net touchdowns in all games) is a coin toss.

Scenario 3 (Ridiculous): The Cardinals win their final two games, and the Seahawks and Rams lose their final two games. That means the Cardinals will have swept the season series against the Seahawks and end up a game ahead of the Rams, thus giving Arizona the NFC West title with a 7-9 record.

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