Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 12)

Since my last Playoff recap the Vikings have fallen to the fringe of the playoff radar. My rule before was that you had to be .500 to get consideration, but I'm changing the rules because I think the Vikings still have a shot (my Kool Aid gets stronger with each passing week).

Current Playoff Scenarios (records in () are overall, conference, divisional)

NFC East - NY Giants (6-4, 5-2, 3-0) - NYG has gone 1-2 in the last 3 weeks and are tied with Dallas, but I think the Giants are safe due to their divisional and conferenc records. They are @ Tenn this week before the Cowboys come to town for the game that could give them yet another tie breaker over Dallas.
NFC North - Chicago (9-1, 7-0, 3-0) - The Bears are only playing for homefield throughout and with a 3 game lead over anybody in the NFC they should clinch that sooner rather than later.
NFC South - Carolina (6-4, 4-3, 3-1) - The Panthers passed Atlanta and New Orleans in the last 3 weeks to hold a slight lead for division champs. They are tied with the Saints at 6-4, but hold the head to head, at least until they meet in the Superdome in week 17.
NFC West - Seattle (6-4, 5-3, 3-1) - The Panthers seemed to clinch when they beat St. Louis for the 2nd time in week 10, but lost a bad game to SanFran in week 11. Fortunately for them St. Louis has fallen off the map with 5 straight losses.

Wild Card (overall and NFC record)

3 weeks ago the WC teams were Atlanta and Minnesota, they have both lost 3 straight and are fighting for their playoff lives. I also mentioned that there is always one team to come out of no where and make a run at the WC, this year's team appears to be San Fran. They certainly were not on anybody's radar 3 weeks ago and at 5-5 they are in the mix. Here is the current list of teams fighting to get in.

IN - New Orleans (6-4, 5-1) - NFC record of 5-1 gives them the edge over the Cowboys. The Saints have a tough remaining schedule including their next 3 vs. teams fighting for NFC playoffs. Their next 3 games may determine their fate. Key games @Atl(wk12), vSF(wk13), @Dal(wk14). H2H Tiebreakers Philly
IN - Dallas (6-4, 3-3) - Their recent win over Indy solidified them as a legit NFL team but really didn't boost their NFC resume all that much. Ultimately they are 3-3 in the NFC and only 1-3 in their own division. Tie breakers are not currently in their favor so they must have a 1 game lead over somebody to make the playoffs. Key games @NYG(wk13) vNO(wk14). H2H Tiebreakers Car

OUT - Philadelphia (5-5, 4-3) - Lost 3 of last 4 to fall out of playoffs. This team may head south in a hurry with McNabb out for the season, a trip tin Indianapolis this week and 4 road games in next 6 weeks. Key games vCar(wk13). H2H Tiebreaker - GB, SF
OUT - SanFrancisco (5-5, 4-3) - Look out, here come the new and improved Niners. After getting pummeled by the Bears they have won 3 straight. Some key games in the next 3 weeks put them in a similar boat as New Orleans. Win or play the last 3 for fun or draft position. @Stl(wk12), @NO(wk13), vGB(wk14). H2H Tiebreaker - Min
OUT - Atlanta (5-5, 3-3) - Vick surges, Falcons are in; Vick struggles, Falcons are out. It has been that simple through 10 weeks. So would the real Vick please stand up. After this week's game with NO, Atl can make up some ground vs. Was and TB or they can get back in the Brady Quinn sweepstakes. Key games vNO(wk12). H2H Tiebreaker - none
OUT - Minnnesota (4-6, 4-3) - 4 straight losses have made things very dicey for MN. But they remain on the list because of their tie breakers. They could have really solidified their playoff spot by beating SF in an ugly game and by beating GB at home, but they didn't and they sit at the bottom of teams with a shot. 5-1 to finish the season isn't unreasonable and with tie-breakers 9-7 MIGHT be enough, but ultimately they'll need some help. Key games all of them. H2H Tiebreaker - Car, Sea

Green Bay (4-6, 3-4) - with 3-4 conference record and no significant H2H wins outside of their division they'll have to go 6-0 and get some help.
St. Louis (4-6, 3-4) - same boat as Green Bay but they do have 4 of 6 remaining games at home.

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