Ruminations on the WC situation ... F'ing CRAZY complicated ...

Suffice to say, with the TB situations, particularly those involving 3 or more teams being tied, assessing our WC scenarios gets absolutely crazy. I'm going to talk here about the Raiders WC chances, the in's and out of what we need to happen and why. Although there's theoretically a very, VERY small chance that the Raiders could get a WC spot at 8-8, I'm going to operate under the assumption that we've gone 9-7, but lost the Division due to KC not beating DEN in week 17.

Note: If you prefer the most simplified breakdown possible, please skip down to the bottom section of this post, where I analyze outcomes of each of the possible combinations of 1, 2, 3, and 4 way ties.

So we are assuming here that the Raiders finish w/the following record:

OAK: 9-7, AFC: 7-5 (remaining: KC (6-8), SD (7-7))
Strength of Victory as of week 15: 46-52 (47%)
Head To Head with other WC teams: NYJ (1-0)

The other WC competitors are as follows:

NYJ: 8-6, AFC: 6-5 (remaining: NYG (7-7), MIA (5-9))
Strength of Victory as of week 15: 45-67 (40%)
Head To Head with other WC teams: OAK (0-1)
Record in Common Games w/Oak: Not Relevant, as Raiders win on a tie

CIN: 8-6, AFC: 6-5 (remaining: ARZ (7-7), BAL (10-4))
Strength of Victory as of week 15: 34-78 (30%)
Head To Head with other WC teams: TEN (0-1)
Record in common games w/OAK: 3-2
Raiders record in common games: 3-2 (DEN, BUF, CLE, HOU)

TEN: 7-7, AFC: 5-5 (remaining: JAX (4-10), HOU (10-4))
Strength of Victory as of week 15: 37-61 (37%)
Head To Head with others WC teams: CIN (1-0)
Record in common games w/OAK: 3-1 (HOU remaining)
Raiders record in common games: 3-2 (DEN, BUF, CLE, HOU)

Tie Breakers Procedures

2 Teams (in different divisions, which will be the case here):
1) Head-to-Head
2) Conference Record
3) Common Opponents, minimum of 4 (Note: any two of these teams will have at least 4 common opponents)
4) Strength of Victory (i.e. winning % of teams that team has beaten)

3 or More Teams
(in different divisions, which will be the case here):
(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

1) Head-to-Head Sweep, i.e. IF at least one team has beaten ALL others (they get the WC), or one team has LOST to all others (then they are eliminated). (Note: there is no scenario where this could come into play, as none of the four has played more than one of the others)
2) Conference Record (Note: no team can reach over 7-5 conference record, and a 3 or more way tie at 9-7 assures that the Raiders and Tenn WILL be at 7-5 in the AFC (if TENN is one of the three), but NYJ and CIN could each finish at 6-6 and be eliminated at this step).
3) Common Opponents, minimum of 4 (Note: that CIN, TENN, and OAK have 4 common opponents between them, and the winner of those 3 will be TENN by virtue of 4-1 record in these games, vs 3-2 for the other two. However, if the Jets and Raiders are 2 of the 3 (or more) tied, this step CAN NOT apply, NYJ/OAK/(TEN or CIN) DO NOT share 4 common opponents between them
4) Strength of Victory (Note: As it now stands, OAK has the a significant advantage in SoV %, with the Jets not too far behind, but unlikely to catch up. The other two teams are WAY behind in this stat)

Two Team scenarios:
If they win out, we cannot beat them for WC. However, we only need the Jets to lose EITHER of their last 2 games, and our 9-7 will beat their 9-7. It's that simple, in the two-team scenario.

If they win out, we cannot beat them for WC. This means that we at LEAST need them to lose one of their last 2 games. But ... if one of those two losses is to the Ravens, we WILL take the WC by virtue of Conference Record. However, does our 9-7 beat their 9-7 IF that one loss is to ARZ?

Actually, in the event that Oak won out, and Cincy lost to ARZ but beat the Ravens, the TB scenario w/Oak and Cincy would be crazy. They would have identical Conference Records (7-5), and identical common opponents records (3-2). So you'd have to go all the way down to the 'Strength of Victory' tiebreaker. This involves counting up the W-L records of all teams that each team BEAT (9 teams in each case).

Fortunately for Oak, Cincy's strength of victory is PATHETIC, as you can see above, and they can't begin to catch us there. This means that we'd take the TB regardless of which game the Bengals lose. They just have to lose at least 1 of the 2, and our 9-7 will beat their 9-7.

If they win out, we'd be tied at 9-7. However, they would win the TB by virtue of a 4-1 common opponent record vs. our 3-2 common opponent record (DEN, BUF, CLE, HOU). Again, as long as TENN loses one of their two games, we'll take the WC over them doesn't matter which one.

Three or More Team at 9-7 Scenarios:
If you read through the TB details I listed above, you'll see that other than the case where we tie w/CIN and TENN, in which case TENN will win the TB due to Common opponent record, any other possible scenarios involves the Jets, which means that the TB *could* fall all the way down to step 4. Also, note that if CIN's loss is to BAL, or Jets loss is to MIA, both would fall out in step 2 (6-6 division record), and then it goes back to the two team tiebreaker. Where we lose to TENN, based on common opponent record. So, in multi-way tie situation, funnily enough, it's to our advantage if the Jets and Cincy WIN their AFC games ... as this would cause the Raiders to take the tie, due to a superior SoV vs. the other teams.

One practical value of all this is that the Raiders *cannot be eliminated* from EITHER the WC, NOR the Division competition, this week IF THEY WIN, as none of the other 3 can lock up the WC this weekend. It's that simple. And the Chargers could be completely OUT of BOTH if the Donks and the Jets win this weekend.

Another nice thing is that if, by some miracle, ALL our WC opponents lost this weekend, we would face a 'win and you're in' situation against SD in week 17 :)

EDITED, to add a simpler version:

Here's the tl;dr version of the possible TB scenarios, showing 'who goes', assuming the teams are tied at 9-7:



Raiders, due to beating Jets


Raiders, either due to Conference Record (CINN loss to BAL) or SoV (CINN loss to ARZ)


Tennessee, due to common opponents record (4-1 vs 3-2)



The highly complex scenario, who goes depends on who the Jets beat. If it's MIA, then the WC *should* go to the Raiders due to SoV advantage over the other two teams (Raiders SoV margin over Jets isn't huge, but I'm not sure it could change enough to affect the outcome), and every other TB either won't apply, or will be tied.

However, if the Jets beat the Giants and not Miami, then Titans would go, because the Jets would fall out at the Conference Record TB (being 6-6), and the Titans would then beat the Raiders based on Common Opponents record.


Raiders go, no matter which game either Jets or Cincy won/lost. Without the head-to-head sweeps, nor four common opponents, this one will be decided on AFC record (depending who each team lost to), or fall down to SoV, which the Raiders should also win.


Tennessee goes, as there ARE four common opponents between these three, and TENN would have the best record (4-1 vs 3-2 for the other two).


This is much like the first of the three-ways above. Basically, as long as CINN or NYJ WON their AFC contest, this tie should go to the Raiders, based on SoV. If neither of them won their AFC contests, then those two get eliminated at the AFC record TB, and the overall TB goes to the Titans over the Raiders due to Common Opponents record.

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