Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just a feeling

So I was thinking about playoff structure in the NFL. And I just read some article that ranted about how the 1 seeds always get upset. Combined with a few other things, the idea that began to form in my mind was that the 1-4 matchup was almost always harder than the 2-3 matchup. Not because of that stupid expectation of upsets, but more about the structural factors.

Like it used to be in the NBA, divisional champs get the top seeds. BUT, because of the NFL playoff structure where the top two seeds have round one byes while the two wild card teams square off against the two lowest divisional seeds. Since no division is ever truly equal - say...the AFC south, there are usually a good chance that the wildcard team gets to slay a weaker divisional champ in the first round.

Now when you get to the second round, the top seed usually has to square off against one of these wild card challengers. Now, I understand that the chances of the three seed getting upset (like the Steelers did this year, and when they did the upsetting when they one their last championship). But this year is a strong example that proves that the opposite is more likely the case.

This year, as a reward for being the best team in their conference New England got to square off against the surging Jaguars and Dallas has to face what many people have chosen as a Super Bowl darkhorse, the Giants. Dallas may have edged the giants for the division, but having to face such a tough team seems a little harsh. When you consider that Green Bay got to embarass a lackluster Seahawks team and the Colts get to play a fatally wounded Chargers team (the loss of Antonio Gates), being number two is pretty good.

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