Let’s take a look at how each team in the race got on this week.
While it was a very good week for the top three seeds (currently) in the NFC, the rest of the playoff contenders had an off week.
Green Bay (12-0) beat the New York Giants (6-6) on a dramatic last minute comeback to extend the Packers unbeaten season. New York now sitting at .500 could be in some trouble.
What helped their case was a loss from the Dallas Cowboys (7-5) at Arizona making the NFC East battle and the wild card still options for the Giants.
Elsewhere in the wild card hunt Chicago (7-5) lost in poor fashion at home to the Kansas City Chiefs. Making it even worse for Chicago is the looming injury concern for RB Matt Forte.
Detroit (7-5), another wild card hopeful lost convincingly at the hands of the Saints (9-3) in the Superdome. A Saints win combined with the Falcons (7-5) loss in Houston, pretty much wraps up the NFC South title for the Saints, as the Falcons are now effectively two and a half games back due to tie breakers.
The final team involved in the NFC playoff picture was San Francisco, and they easily beat St.Louis at home, keeping their aspirations of a first round bye alive.
- 1. Green Bay Packers (12-0)
- 2. San Francisco 49ers (10-2)
- 3. New Orleans Saints (9-3)
- 4. Dallas Cowboys (7-5)
- 5. Chicago Bears (7-5)
- 6. Atlanta Falcons (7-5)
This would leave the Detroit Lions (7-5) and the New York Giants (6-6) on the outside looking in. With each team having 4games 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 12-0) – vs Raiders, @Chiefs, vs Bears, vs Lions
- San Francisco 49ers (West) (Currently 10-2) – @Cardinals, vs Steelers, @Seahawks, @Rams
- New Orleans Saints (South) (Currently 9-3) – @Titans, @Vikings, vs Falcons, vs Panthers.
- Dallas Cowboys (East) (Currently 7-5) – vs Giants, @Bucs, vs Eagles, @Giants.
- Atlanta Falcons (South) (Currently 7-5) – @Panthers, vs Jaguars, @Saints, vs Bucs.
- Chicago Bears (North) (Currently 7-5) – @Broncos, vs Seahawks, @Packers, @Vikings.
- Detroit Lions (North) (Currently 7-5) – vs Vikings, @Raiders, vs Chargers, @Packers.
- New York Giants (East) (Currently 6-6) – @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 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 3 games, they will still have the edge over the Falcons 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.