Sunday, December 19, 2004


Well, now that the early games are over, I can more easily sketch the scenario under which the Redskins make the playoffs. I'm not sure if this is the only way they can make the playoffs (it may be), but this is what they need...

  • The Redskins win their remaining 2 games.
  • Either Seattle or St. Louis loses the rest of their games.
  • The Giants lose one of their remaining two games.
  • Whoever wins the Tampa Bay-New Orleans game today has to lose one of their remaining two games.
  • Carolina loses one of their two remaining games.

In an earlier version of this post, I left out Carolina, and computed the probability that the Skins would make the playoffs, assuming each game is a 50/50 proposition. The probability drops a little bit once I do this (ahem) correctly, but the fact remains that if the Skins win out, they have a 12.9% chance of making the playoffs. Not high, but not bad for a 5-9 team. That probability should go up after St. Louis loses to Arizona today.

Disclaimer: Of course, the Skins don't deserve to make the playoffs after the season they've had. Still, it amuses me to figure out the possibilities.

[Update: St. Louis did lose. New Orleans won. The scenario simplifies to:

  • The Redskins win their remaining 2 games.
  • Either Seattle or St. Louis loses the rest of their games.
  • The Giants lose one of their remaining two games.
  • The winner of the final week's Carolina-New Orleans game has to lose next week.

So in order for the Redskins to be eliminated next week, one of the following things has to happen.

  • The Redskins lose.
  • Both Seattle and St. Louis win.
  • Both Carolina and New Orleans win.]


OK, during the conference, I have wireless access to use during the...less interesting talks. It's my turn to have the laptop today, but don't feel bad for Christina -- she has the Town Car today.

Aside from researching video poker strategies, I'm using this time to follow NFL games. The Redskins, at 5-9, ridiculously have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. What better to do during the mathematics conference than figure out what it takes to be mathematically eliminated?

Of the teams they might end up tied with (at 7-9) for a playoff spot, the Redskins would win the tiebreaker with Seattle, Minnesota, Carolina, Detroit, Chicago, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans. They would lose the tiebreaker with St. Louis, Dallas, and the Giants.

Therefore, if Seattle, Minnesota and St. Louis win today, the Redskins are eliminated. Seattle and Minnesota would have better records than the Skins, and St. Louis would win a tiebreaker. One of Seattle and St. Louis would win the division, and the other would beat out the Skins for the tiebreaker.

If any of these teams lose, the Redskins have their hopes alive for another week. (Though to be truthful, I don't know how many of them are actually thinking about this.) Seattle looks like it's going to lose, and Minnesota is in a close game, so we'll see.

Vegas, Baby!

Here are just a few of the pictures we've taken so far. I suspect Christina and I will have some more to post...

One of the reasons for staying at the Las Vegas Hilton is the Star Trek Experience and other themed Star Trek activity. I can't overly recommend the food at Quark's Bar, but the ambiance is entertaining...

One of the features of Las Vegas is the classic buffet. USA Today published some suggestions this week, and we thought we'd try a few out. This prompted road trips to a few of Vegas' newer casinos. (The road trips are a pleasure in and of themselves in the Lincoln Town Car I ended up renting.)

Christina has concerns with the constant objectification of women in Las Vegas.

But it's hard to object to the wide variety of entrees on offer at the Palms...