How Week 12 Affected The NFC Playoff Race


This past week in the NFC, narrowed down the contenders to firmly 8 team vying for 6 spots. Let’s take a look at how each team in the race got on this week.

San Francisco lost in the Thursday night game to Baltimore, and drop to 9-2.

Green Bay (11-0) defeated Detroit, which drops the Lions to 7-4 in the first Thanksgiving day game. Other NFC North contender Chicago lost at Oakland 25-20 to also bring them down to 7-4.

In the NFC East race Dallas scraped by Miami to improve to 7-4. Meanwhile the New York Giants are in potential trouble at 6-5 following a loss to the now 8-3 New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. To finish the group off as we know Atlanta defeated Minnesota 24-14 to improve to 7-4. If the season ended today, the seeds would be as follows.

  • 1. Green Bay Packers (11-0)
  • 2. San Francisco 49ers (9-2)
  • 3. New Orleans Saints (8-3)
  • 4. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
  • 5. Chicago Bears (7-4)
  • 6. Atlanta Falcons (7-4)

This would leave the Detroit Lions (7-4) and the New York Giants (6-5) on the outside looking in. With each team having 5 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 11-0) – @Giants, vs Raiders, @Chiefs, vs Bears, vs Lions
  • San Francisco 49ers (West) (Currently 9-2) – vs Rams, @Cardinals, vs Steelers, @Seahawks, @Rams
  • New Orleans Saints (South) (Currently 8-3) – vs Lions, @Titans, @Vikings, vs Falcons, vs Panthers.
  • Dallas Cowboys (East) (Currently 7-4) – @Cardinals, vs Giants, @Bucs, vs Eagles, @Giants.
  • Atlanta Falcons (South) (Currently 7-4) – @Texans, @Panthers, vs Jaguars, @Saints, vs Bucs.
  • Chicago Bears (North) (Currently 7-4) – vs Chiefs, @Broncos, vs Seahawks, @Packers, @Vikings.
  • Detroit Lions (North) (Currently 7-4) – @Saints, vs Vikings, @Raiders, vs Chargers, @Packers.
  • New York Giants (East) (Currently 6-5) – vs Packers, @Cowboys, vs Redskins, @Jets, vs Cowboys.

Looking at the schedules Atlanta has a very good shot at making it as a wild card, getting the division will be a little more difficult, because of tie – breaking procedures.

Even if the Falcons beat the Saints in week 16, and both teams win the remainder of their games and both sit at 12-4. Saints have the edge because of record against common opponents. Where as we lost to the Chicago Bears, they beat them and as that is the only result which differs then we would lose out. Therefore for us to have a chance of winning the division, the Saints must lose to us as well as another team.

In the wild card race, we benefit from that rule over the Cowboys, if it comes down to that the Falcons would have the tie breaker. Due to the Falcons beating the Eagles and Lions, where the Cowboys have lost to both.

We also 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.

At the moment, the Giants look unlikely to make the playoffs as a wild card due to declining play and a tough schedule. However 2 games against the Cowboys still give them a very good shot of winning the NFC East division.

Go Falcons!