12/25/2006

Philadelphia, at 8-6 before today's game against Dallas, has a leg up on one of the two NFC wild-card spots. The Rams are among five teams in the NFC at 7-8 with Atlanta, Carolina, Green Bay and the New York Giants. Which one of the five will earn a wild-card playoff berth? Deciphering the Dead Scrolls might be easier than figuring out the tiebreakers.

If teams finish with identical records, the first tiebreaker for a playoff spot is head-to-head results. The Rams would lose a tiebreaker with Carolina, having lost to the Panthers on Nov. 19. But they would win a tiebreaker with Green Bay, having beaten the Packers 23-20 on Oct. 8.

But the head-to-head scenario won't be applicable in any scenario involving the Rams if more than two teams finish with identical records. In that case, the next tiebreaker is conference record. At 8-8, the Rams, Atlanta, Carolina would all finish 6-6 in conference games. But the Giants and Green Bay would finish 7-5 in conference.

The next tiebreaker after conference record is common opponents.