Four Nightmare Scenarios for an NFL Playoffs

I have a confession to make that will come as a surprise to far more of you who read this blog than those of you who know me in real life. I love ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine. A lot. Ever since I discovered it1I honestly couldn’t tell you what year I discovered Playoff Machine. It feels like it’s been around as long as I’ve been using the internet., I’ve spent hours on it each year, trying to play out how the playoff picture would shake out after each week of play. While I would spend a good bit of time trying to create scenarios that benefit teams I like or harm teams I dislike, the most fun came from building out the weirdest possible outcomes possible. Whether that be finding a way to sneak in a team that has a 1% chance of making the playoffs2Five Thirty Eight is a great resource for seeing this type of thing when the season is going on. or seeing if I can make all of the teams with first round byes as of week 12 miss the playoffs, I find the entire exercise to be calming.

The best resource I’ve found for giving me this feeling during the NFL offseason is PlayoffPredictors.com. While they do far more than just NFL playoff prediction scenarios, the NFL predictor is an amazing tool for me playing out possible sources of weirdness when the Playoff Machine is down for the year3ESPN typically only has the Playoff Machine running during weeks 13-17 of the NFL season. This year, we got it week 12, which was amazing.. This led me to wonder — what’s the weirdest possible playoff scenarios that COULD happen in a given NFL season?

Allow me to be clear, these scenarios will likely never occur. They require a ton of absurdity to happen and likely will never even be remotely possible. But I want them to be. I’ve used the 2018 NFL schedule for each of these scenarios for sake of convenience more than anything else. I’ve also made an active effort to not have tie games unless I absolutely have to, as that’s just silly.

Scenario 1: Eleven 10-win Teams Miss The Playoffs

Link to the full scenario

We begin with the scenario that inspired this post — how many teams with 10 wins can miss the playoffs in the same season? The most teams that have finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs in the same season is two, which has happened on several occasions. There have also been three 11-5 teams miss the playoffs, (though only one in each season it’s happened) but we’ll talk more about that scenario a bit later on. In this scenario, not only do two teams total miss the playoffs despite winning 10 games, eleven of them do. Granted, in order for this scenario to happen, we have to have a plethora of putrid teams at the bottom of each conference. In fact, the bottom four teams in the AFC and NFC combined for 11 wins in this season, including a winless season from the Panthers.

Scenario 2: Six Teams with Losing Records Make the Playoffs

Link to the full scenario

Similar to the first scenario, we need a lot of extremes for our second scenario to be a reality. There have been four teams in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record, though two of those teams come with a giant asterisk. Both the 1982 Browns and Lions made the playoffs at 4-5 thanks to a strike-shortened season and were promptly routed. The two teams to make the playoffs with losing records since then — the 2010 Seahawks and 2015 Panthers — both won their first playoff game, so seeing a 7 win team win in the playoffs wouldn’t be unprecedented. In this situation, we’d be guaranteed at least two 7-9 teams picking up playoff wins, as both 4 vs. 5 matchups feature losing teams against each other. In a bit of unintentional symmetry, the AFC’s 4 vs. 5 matchup (Browns vs. Raiders) is the same matchup that occurred in the aforementioned 1982 playoffs.

Scenario 3: The Call to Kill Auto Bids for Division Winners

Link to the full scenario

Let’s talk about this scenario in two phases, beginning with the NFC. A scenario like this has happened on a couple of occasions, including the aforementioned 2010 playoffs where the 7-9 Seahawks played the 11-5 Saints in the first round. Even in seasons where there’s an 8-8 division winner, sports talking heads loudly wonder whether or not division winners deserve home field advantage in the first round if they have a worse record — particularly because it (surprisingly) matters.

And then there’s the AFC, where this idea is taken to its most extreme conclusion. For this scenario, I had every team in the AFC North lose every game they played (except intradivisional games) and every team in the AFC South win every game they played (again, except intradivisional games). This creates a situation where a 13-3 Jacksonville team is getting left out of the playoffs in favor of a 3-13 Baltimore team. No team better than 11-5 has ever missed the playoffs.

Unlikely? Incredibly. Hilarious? Yes. In retrospect, I should have done this in such a way to cause the Browns to be the 13-3 team to miss the playoffs, but that’s too much effort.

Scenario 4 – 83% of the Teams In the Playoffs After Week 11 2018 Miss The Playoffs

Okay. So a little background on this. First off, here were the standings following week 11 of the 2018 season.

And now we have our results. Link to the full scenario.

I tried my hardest to get all 12 teams that were in the playoffs as of week 11 to miss the playoffs at the same time. That said, when you have four teams with two or fewer losses after week 11, that’s REALLY hard to do. Especially when one of those team has a tie and there’s a division where you have to knock both a two loss and a three loss team out of the playoffs. In most other seasons I’ve found, this would be possible. In this season, however, we get this beautiful scenario where the only crimes against our rule are New Orleans and Pittsburgh making the playoffs as wildcard teams.


What other scenarios would you like to see me do? Was this even remotely interesting? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

2018 Blog Goals – Year End Review

Welcome to 2019. How are you feeling? Excited? Confused? Hungover? Yes to all of the above?

2018 was an odd year for me, if for no other reason than I actually followed through on keeping track of my blog goals for the first time ever. As I’m thinking about it, this might be the first time ever that I’ve kept track of non-work related goals for an entire year. I know that might be a weird statement to make as a 31 year old, but here we are. I’ll be sharing my 2019 writing goals in a post coming on the first Monday of the year, however before I do that, let’s take a moment and look back on the 2018 goals.

When we last peeked in at the midway point of this year, I was only meeting one of the three goals that I had set for the year. While I was destroying the one goal I was meeting, the other two goals had continued to fall behind pace. The final quarter of 2018 was insane in real life for various reasons, so aside from my NaNoWriMo Tips series, the marketing I wanted to go into the blog never came to fruition. With that said, let’s see where I ended both Q4 of 2018 and the year as a whole.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

Well. This had some ups and downs out of no where. Granted, I understand going from 5 to 6 to 7 and back down to 6 isn’t that big of a swing, but it is a volatile time considering how steady this value has been over the course of the year year and a half or so. This ended up being only 30% of my goal pace for the year. Even with that in mind, I’m not completely disappointed in how this turned out because of the way the next two goals ended the year.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

Remember how in last quarter’s update post I said that 4,738 visits — exactly double my 2017 traffic — wouldn’t be a completely unrealistic number to hit? It was kind of nice to hit that number in the lead up to Christmas while talking about our charity drive. Though I didn’t quite get to the 5,000 visit barrier, this was still over 100% growth year over year, which is amazing to see. The final six months of the year were the six best months in this blog’s history, while nine of the top ten months all time also come from 2018. I’d love to see this upward trend continue into 2019, though (as you’ll see from my goals next week) I’ll be doing some refocusing on my priorities in my writing in 2019, so I won’t be trying to replicate my 100% growth next this year.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

2018 was weird when it came to my comments. Consider the following:

  • January – March: 48 comments (16 comments/month)
  • April – September: 45 comments (7.5 comments/month)
  • October – December: 57 comments (19 comments/month)

What the hell happened in the middle of the year? I understand that my comment explosion in December had a couple of factors working in its favor — those being the fact that comments for 10 days in December caused a donation to charity, as well as an 11th hour commenter who tipped me over my comment goal. That said, it was still nice to hit this with how weird (and frankly not well) the middle two quarters of 2018 went from a comment standpoint.

How did you do on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, I’d love to hear how you did, as well as your 2019 goals. Sound off in the comments.


Like the work I do? Want to help me make more, better written content? Consider pledging your support on Patreon.

2018 Blog Goals – Q3 Review

I had a moment on October 2nd where I was sitting Starbucks, minding my own business, when it hit me. October’s arrival means I need to do my third of four reviews of where I’m at with my 2018 blog goals. Needless to say I was not prepared for that moment — mostly because I had posts for the entirety of October and part of November completely planned out. That’s why there’s an extra bonus post this week, as the last time I posted on a non-Monday that wasn’t the 1st or 14/15th of the month4The Mid-Month Short Story Challenge response and prompt days, respectively. was May 24th. And even then was because people on Twitter got me fired up about my favorite video game of all time.

When we last peeked in at the midway point of this year, I was meeting two of the three goals that I had set for the year, though one of those two goals wasn’t doing quite as well as it had been in Q1. Much of my marketing and redesign efforts in Q3 were focused on longer term projects, which combined with a very busy third quarter, meant that I wasn’t driving my blog post promotion as much as I previously had been. So where am I at after three quarters of the year? Let’s take a look.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

As I mentioned in Q2, seeing massive growth in the WordPress followers category would be unexpected, though I would like to see some growth here. That said, despite starting off the quarter with a new follower on July 2nd, the blog didn’t see a single additional new follower for the rest of the quarter. I did start a Bloglovin’ page for my blog back up after a three year hiatus on that platform, however I did admittedly minimal marketing for that page. Even cutting my year start goal in half would be a stretch at this point if I’m realistic, though double digits would be a nice touch.

On an unrelated note, I’m really enjoying how much better quality my screenshots (like the one above) look with my new computer than my old one. That might be a coming post topic in its own right.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

Meanwhile, today in goals I’m absolutely crushing, traffic to my blog has been great the past three months. July, August, and September of 2018 represent the top three traffic months in That Tiny Website’s history. If trends both in this blog’s history and in other blogs I’ve done continue, I wouldn’t be shocked to see either November or December of 2018 dethrone one of those three months from the top three. At the midway point of the year, I mentioned that there was an outside shot my blog could hit 4,000 site visits on the year. As of the end of September, we’re on track for just shy of 4,300 visits. Continued growth could give me a small chance at 5,000 visits, which isn’t objectively a realistic goal. What is a bit more in range, however, is 4,738 visits. That number would be exactly double the number of visits from last year, as well as representing nearly 400 visits per month. To say that would be a massive milestone would be an understatement.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

While my follower goal has shown consistent struggles and my traffic goal has shown consistent growth, my comment count goal has been pretty volatile this year. After a great start to the year, comments have cooled off pretty significantly, with the blog only getting 17 comments the entire third quarter. I found this particularly annoying, especially since the normally reliable Akismet anti-spam service missed as many spam comments in September (5) as it has in the entire past year combined. Seeing a new comment notification in my email only for it to be spam was pretty saddening. I did learn that my new post notification tweets on Twitter were getting filtered out by Twitter’s algorithm (or at the very least that they weren’t showing up in the latest tweets for some of my followers). I’m going to try to tweet out my posts more often to help that, however, we’ll see if that helps comments.

How are you doing on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, have you made changes to your goals for the year? Sound off in the comments.


Like the work I do? Want to help me make more, better written content? Consider pledging your support on Patreon.

2018 Blog Goals – Mid Year Review

Welcome to the midway point (more or less) of the year. It’s time again to take a look at my 2018 blog goals and see how I’m doing against those goals. When we last peeked in at the end of the first quarter of this year, I was meeting one of the three goals that I had set for the year. I made an effort to do a bit more promotion of this site on Twitter, not to mention completing a minor site redesign to make it a bit easier for mobile readers to follow the blog.

Now that the year is half done, how am I doing on those goals? Let’s check in.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

There’s both good news and bad news with how I’m doing on this goal. The good news is that I managed to pick up triple the number of followers in Q2 of 2018 as I did in Q1. The bad news is that I’m still well short of my 20 new follower goal for the year. At this point, hitting half of this goal would still mean an uptick in followers from the pace I’ve been at throughout the first half of the year, though it’s probably more realistic than the full goal. That said, I was behind pace on the next goal as well and made it up, so perhaps this will change.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

Well. This changed in a hurry. Thanks to May and June being the two highest traffic months in the history of my blog (as well as April being the 4th highest to date), instead of sitting just shy of my goal pace, I’m over 1.2 times my goal pace5If we look solely at the May/June pace, it would be nearly 1.6 times my pace. That would be nice to see the rest of the year.. Averaging 250 visits per month would mean that I would get 3,000 site visits by the end of the year. If I continue my current yearly pace, this site should end the year in the neighborhood of 3,500 site visits. Hitting 3,500 would be impressive, especially considering I felt like 3,000 was a bit ambitious. I’m hoping that the launch of my Patreon will drive additional traffic to the blog, meaning there may even be an outside chance to get to 4,000 site visits. That would be amazing. The more fun fact that lets me be optimistic about this goal as we hit the second half of the year is that nearly every month this year has seen growth in the number of site visits AND unique visitors to the blog per day. It makes me hopeful that the growth is sustainable.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

While my first two goals saw growth from Q1 to Q2, my comment count goal — though still being ahead of pace — wasn’t quite as fortunate these past three months. It wasn’t a major downtick in comment count, hence still making the goal pace. That said, I’d love to get this back on my original pace from Q1. Considering there are some extra posts going up in July (as well as potentially August), there will be extra opportunities for comments. We’ll see if that helps though.

How are you doing on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, have you made changes to your goals for the year? Sound off in the comments.


Like the work I do? Want to help me make more, better written content? Consider pledging your support on Patreon.

2018 Blog Goals – Q1 Review

At the beginning of this year, I decided to set some blog goals for 2018. I was inspired by someone on Twitter (I swear it was Kaytie Zimmerman from Optimistic Millennial, but I can’t find her goals post or tweet talking about this) to try set some sort of plan for myself to grow my blog in a few ways during the new year. It’s something I’ve only done one other time in the history of any of the other sites I’ve written for6On my old blog, I set a goal to write 365 posts in 2011. I think I ended with 435ish.. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try this year, particularly since I had some new projects I was planning on doing this year. I’ve talked about a couple of those projects so far, with a couple of them still on the way.

So…how am I doing on the three goals I set this year? Let’s take a look.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

Let’s lead off with the goal that is going the least well, shall we? In 2017, I picked up 16 new WordPress followers, so I figured I’d try to grow this total by 20 this year. In retrospect, this might not have been the best goal, particularly since 12 of the 16 new followers in 2017 came in the first half of the year. While 2018 started off good, with the blog gaining a new follower in the first week of the year, I’m well behind pace on this one. I’m at a loss on how to improve this one at the moment, particularly since even in the heyday of my older blogs, I don’t believe I ever topped 100 total WordPress followers. If you blog and have suggestions, I’m open to them.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

While I’m not on pace to hit this goal so far this year, I’m relatively happy with how this has gone so far. As you can see from the table above7If you needed further proof that I’m a spreadsheet nerd, I started a sentence in a blog post like that., while I hit my goal in January, I fell short of the goal in both February and March. That said, the fact that I was over 200 visitors in all three months shows that I’m sustaining growth, as the last month I was under 200 visitors was August 2017. On top of that, the 708 visitors by the end of March represents a 51.9% growth over where That Tiny Website was at the end of March 2017 (466 to 708). So while I’m not quite at the 750 visitors that would mean I’m meeting this goal, I feel pretty good about this pace so far.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

I have to be honest. I expected this goal to be the hardest to achieve by a large margin. I don’t have the number of commenters on my posts that I once did. Yet, despite expecting struggles with comments, I’m shockingly ahead of pace on this one. Technically, I could not get a single comment in April and only be one comment behind pace for the year8Please don’t do that. I love you all.. But seeing how well this one has gone has been a nice surprise for the start of the year.

How are your 2018 blog goals going? Do you have any ideas how I can solve my follower struggles? Would you like to encourage people to flood to my site and click follow? Awesome. Sound off in the comments.