How Week 14 Affected The NFC Playoff Race

Let’s take a look at how each team in the race got on this week.

Green Bay (13-0) continued their goal of an undefeated season by dismantling the Oakland Raiders (7-6). Heading into Lambeau will be tough for any team

San Francisco (10-3) is beginning to show a few signs of weakness dropping one late to the Arizona Cardinals (6-7) 21-19. Arizona could have a shot at 6-7 at making the playoff as a wild card if all hell breaks lose.

With the San Francisco loss, the Saints (10-3) now have a great shot at securing the first round bye after a tricky win over the Titans.

Elsewhere in the wild card hunt Chicago (7-6) got Tebow’d losing in OT to the hot Denver Broncos. With Forte and Cutler out, the Bears playoff chances are slipping away.

Detroit (8-5), scraped past Minnesota by the skin of their teeth and were very fortunate to win the game, given that the game ending fumble by the Vikings QB, should of been called back due to a facemask penalty.

In the big Sunday night game, the Giants (7-6) came back to beat the Cowboys (7-6) in the 4th quarter. With both teams having to face each other again, it seems likely that only one of those two teams will make the playoffs.

Finally, as we know the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) came back from a 16 point deficit to defeat the Carolina Panthers, to give the Falcons a leg up in the NFC Wild card race.

  • 1. Green Bay Packers (13-0)
  • 2. San Francisco 49ers (10-3)
  • 3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
  • 4. New York Giants (7-6)
  • 5. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
  • 6. Detroit Lions (8-5)

This would leave the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) and the Chicago Bears (7-6) on the outside looking in. With the Arizona Cardinals waiting in the wings at 6-7 and possibly even Seattle depending on the MNF result. With each team having 3 games remaining, here is a look at the all important schedules for each team.

Follow the jump to see analysis of every team’s schedule and all the tie breakers.

  • Green Bay Packers (North) (Currently 13-0) – @Chiefs, vs Bears, vs Lions
  • San Francisco 49ers (West) (Currently 10-3) – vs Steelers, @Seahawks, @Rams
  • New Orleans Saints (South) (Currently 10-3) – @Vikings, vs Falcons, vs Panthers.
  • New York Giants (East) (Currently 7-6) – vs Redskins, @Jets, vs Cowboys.
  • Atlanta Falcons (South) (Currently 8-5)vs Jaguars, @Saints, vs Bucs.
  • Detroit Lions (North) (Currently 8-5)@Raiders, vs Chargers, @Packers.
  • Chicago Bears (North) (Currently 7-6) – vs Seahawks, @Packers, @Vikings.
  • Dallas Cowboys (East) (Currently 7-6) – @Bucs, vs Eagles, @Giants.
Looking at the schedules Atlanta has a very good shot at making it as a wild card, getting the division will be very difficult now, because of tie – breaking procedures.
Even if the Falcons beat the Saints in week 16, and the Saints lose another one of their other 2 games, they will still have the edge over the Falcons because of record against common opponents. So if Atlanta to win the division the Saints will have to lose their remaining three games. Given the Saints play the Panthers and the Vikings in those two games, that seems highly unlikely.
In the wild card hunt, we are looking good, currently slotted as the 5th seed. We have the tie-breaker over the Lions due to beating them in week 7. Regardless of any other factors, if the Lions and us both have the same record at the end of the year, we will get in ahead of them.
Unfortunately the opposite is the case with Chicago, because of our week 1 loss in Chicago, any situation where we finish with the same record, Chicago will get in. However, with the way Chicago is playing it will be difficult for them to finish level with us given their schedule.
Against the Cowboys and Giants, it is a bit trickier as we have not had a head to head matchup with either side. The first tie breaker is conference wins and losses. Over the Cowboys, we should be ok, however if we lose to the Saints or the Bucs and the Cowboys win out, they would have the tie breaker over us.
No such concern with the Giants, given their current 4-6 in-conference record, the Falcons will get in ahead of the Giants if it comes down to that.
If i were a gambling man, I would expect Green Bay to win out and go undefeated, with either SF and NO in the 2nd seed and the other in the 3rd seed.
As for the rest I think the Cowboys will get in at the 4th seed by beating the Giants in the week 17 rematch. The Falcons will be the 5th seed and the 6th seed will go to the Detroit Lions.
Go Falcons!

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