How Week 15 Affected The NFC Playoff Picture

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

As we all know, we dominated the Jacksonville Jags 41-14 to move to 9-5. Dallas (8-6) were in action on Saturday and beat our NFC South rivals Tampa Bay comfortably, to give Dallas the lead in the NFC East.

Green Bay (13-1) fell flat and destroyed their opportunity at an undefeated season, with sloppy loss at Kansas City. Despite the loss they are still very much the favourtie to secure home field advantage.

San Francisco (11-3) performed very well last night in beating one of the AFC’s best the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is still nip an tuck to see who out themselves and New Orleans will secure the 2nd seed.

The aforementioned Saints (11-3) gave the Vikings a beat down, one week ahead of the showdown with our Falcons.

Detroit (9-5), scraped past Oakland after coming back in dramatic fashion to win the ball game.

In the wild card hunt Chicago (7-7) lost at home to the Seattle Seahawks (7-7), who are now very much in this picture now and are probably the favorite to step into one of the wild card spots should Detroit fall off.

The New York Giants (7-7) dropped the ball big style this week against a poor Washington team at home. Their chances are now pretty much reduced to only winning the division, as the wild card is now out of reach.

Lets have a look at the seeds after week 15..

  • 1. Green Bay Packers (13-1)
  • 2. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
  • 3. New Orleans Saints (11-3)
  • 4. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
  • 5. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
  • 6. Detroit Lions (9-5)

This would leave the New York Giants (7-7), the Seattle Seahawks (7-7), Arizona Cardinals (7-7) and the Chicago Bears (7-7) two games back in the chase with two games to go.  With each team having 2 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.

1. Green Bay Packers (North) (Currently 13-1) – vs Bears, vs Lions

2. San Francisco 49ers (West) (Currently 11-3) – @Seahawks, @Rams

3. New Orleans Saints (South) (Currently 11-3) – vs Falcons, vs Panthers.

4. Dallas Cowboys (East) (Currently 8-6) – vs Eagles, @Giants.

5. Atlanta Falcons (South) (Currently 9-5) – @Saints, vs Bucs.

6. Detroit Lions (North) (Currently 9-5) – vs Chargers, @Packers.

7. Seattle Seahawks (West) (Currently 7-7) – vs 49ers, @Cardinals

8. Chicago Bears (North) (Currently 7-7) – @Packers, @Vikings.

9. New York Giants (East) (Currently 7-7)@Jets, vs Cowboys.

10. Arizona Cardinals (West) (Currently 7-7) – @Bengals, vs Seahawks.

The race for the wild card spots are almost over. With Atlanta and Detroit winning and other teams around them losing both teams only need one more win to secure their respective playoff berths.
Atlanta can still win the division however, to do this we will need some help. First step is to beat the Saints next week on MNF, we will also then need to beat Tampa at home and hope that New Orleans loses at home to Carolina. If that happens we are NFC South champions.
However at this point that is quite unlikely, and we will likely be jostling for the 5th seed with the Lions. We have the tie-breaker over the Lions due to beating them in week 7, which helps. Regardless of any other factors, if the Lions and us both have the same record at the end of the year, we will get the better seed.
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, for that to be a concern we will have to lose both of our games, and Chicago to win their two remaining games, which seems unlikely at the moment.
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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