SalishHawkFan wrote:Possibly a more recent factor has been that there are now two wildcard teams and four divisions. Many times, the wildcard in the #5 slot is a much better team than the division winner in the #4 slot. They take out the division winner and advance to play the #1 team. Meanwhile, the #3 team advances to play the #2 team. That #3 team may not be as good as that #5 wildcard team, meaning the #1 has a tougher matchup than the #2.
This year, we're most likely to face Carolina, which would be the #5 team. That's the toughest matchup we could face IMO. That's why so many wildcard teams have slipped in and so many #1's have fallen. Last year, we were the #5 team and nobody wanted to face us. We knocked off the #4 and nearly knocked off the #1 seed.
In the days of three divisions, the Wildcards played each other first. They literally were playing the 5th best team in the playoffs, not the 8-8 winner of the NFCLeast. And the #2 and #3 got byes. meaning the #1 had the unique advantage of being the only team with two weeks rest facing an opponent who did not have two weeks rest. In those days, wildcards beating #1's was rare.
Great post. However, I don't think we have to worry about it. #1- I don't think we're going to lose based on my above post. #2- Even if we did, we have a much easier schedule @ SF @ NY- pardon my optimism, but there no way in heck we lose back to back games. We have SF's number, and they've already lost 2 home games this year. NYG may be a bit of a trap game, but the way that ELI is throwing INT parties this year, we should be able to take care of business. This team tends to play well in NY (foreshadowing?). Then 2 home games. I won't look past STL or AZ but we should win them. Take NO's remaining schedule:
- @ ATL (no guarantee. These teams hate each other as much as we hate the 9ers). W
-@ Sea - For the sake of hypothetical I'm calling this a L, but I don't think it will be.
-Vs. Panthers W at home
- @ Rams Will be a huge trap game for them. Coming of a huge win against a division fo. STL can shock the world with their pass rush and special teams (See. INDI game) We'll call it a W for the hypothetical
-@ Carolina- I just think they lose this game. On the road, against a team with good D, and running game (like us).
-Vs. TB- W
In this scenario, we could still win out versus SF, NY, AZ, STL and I would put my money on NO losing at least one of the remaining 6 games if not 2. I think NO is overrated and an 12-4 or 11-5 team. SF almost did them in their own place, and probably should have without that bogus call.