NFL Playoffs: 8 Is the Ceiling, 2010 NFC West Champion Will Not Surpass .500

Boris GodzinevskiCorrespondent IIDecember 19, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams looks to throw a pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 12, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Rams 31-13.    (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's an intriguing time when we know that with two games to play, an 8-8 record will be the best a division champ will be able to get.

With the Seahawks trailing by, for them, an insurmountable margin, the division picture looks as so:

Rams 6-8

Seahawks 6-8

49ers 5-9

Barring a Cardinals miracle in week 17, the Rams would have to go 8-8 to win the division.

The way this works is that if the Rams were to lose to the 49ers next week, San Francisco would hold the head to head tiebreak against St. Louis and be facing the Cardinals in week 17 to win the division.

The 49ers would win the division going 2-0, because they would finish the year 5-1 in the division.

The Seahawks, however, could also make it in at 7-9, with some help from the Rams.

A Rams win against the 49ers and San Francisco is effectively knocked out, but if the Seahawks beat the Rams week 17, even after losing to Tampa Bay ( which should be assumed ) they would hold the tiebreak in the division, at 4-2.

So a recap if you will:

49ers get in with back to back wins

Rams get in with back to back wins

Seahawks get in with back to back wins

Because the last two games are intertwined between the three teams, each one technically controls their own fate: win and you're in.

And now for the losses:

Seahawks can lose to Bucs, beat Rams and win division if 49ers lose to Rams or Cards

Rams can lose to 49ers, beat Seahawks and win division, if 49ers lose to Cards

49ers cannot lose a game.


So what are the chances an 8-8 team wins the division?

Well don't count on the 49ers being .500 if they do indeed end up division champs.

The Seahawks would have to upset Tampa, but who knows if the Bucs' morale is down already?

The Rams probably have the best shot to go 8-8 considering they face the stumbling 49ers and a Seahawks team they already beat.


Conclusion? Go Rams, and hopefully you can do better at home against the Saints the second time around. Against all odds, the NFC West has a knack for nabbing that wild card win.