The NFC Play Off Picture
With a win this weekend and a loss for the Seahawks and Lions the Cowboys would clinch the No.1 seed in the NFC with three games to spare. Just a win will clinch the division for them so it is safe to say they will be playing playoff football this year.
The Seahawks still have a bit of work to do to clinch a first round bye, but they are all but certain to win division with the Cardinals three games back and hardly looking like they are going to put a run together, even if Seattle slips up.
These two will be the favourites to head to Houston and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Almost Definitely In But I Can’t Quite Call It A Lock
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Jim Caldwell looked set to lose his job and now the Lions look set to take a division crown for the first time since 1993 when they were still playing in the NFC Central. A win against the Bears this week will take them to nine wins and what should be enough to take a wildcard spot, even if the Packers or Vikings put a run together to steal the division away from Detroit.
The Wild Card Contenders
Giants, Falcons, Buccaneers, Redskins, Vikings, Packers
At 8-4 the Giants could maybe be in the category above but with a brutal end to the season, they could see themselves slip out of the playoff spots.
A few weeks ago the Falcons may well have made it into the locks section but some losses paired with a resurgent Buccaneers team means that they are in danger of losing both the division and slipping out of the playoffs entirely. With the Rams and 49ers up next you would think they would have enough to hold on, but if the Julio Jones injury is more serious than it appears right now, the Bucs will be there waiting to pounce on any mistake from Atlanta. The runner-up in this division would still have a good chance at a wild cards spot with nine wins looking like the mark to get in in the NFC.
The Redskins have played well at times this year but haven’t had the consistency they need. Back to back losses have put them in a precarious situation and they may need three wins from their last four to sneak in.
The Packers and Vikings both still have a chance of snatching the NFC North from the Lions. The Vikings appear to be trending in the wrong direction though while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers seem to be getting hot at the right time. It may well take four wins to win the division and at least three to have any hope of a wild card spot. Both are capable but there is little room for error for either of them.
On Life Support
Eagles, Saints, Cardinals
These could perhaps all be written off completely and fans can start pencilling in events for weekends in January but it’s not totally over quite yet. All three teams would need to win their remaining games to have any hope of playing playoff football this season.
The Saints look most likely with Drew Brees having yet another wonderful season. He is capable of carrying the team over the line but that flimsy defence may cost them in the end.
The Cardinals got the win they needed last week and have a team with enough talent to put a run together.
The Eagles look the least likely of the three teams though. After a great start on both sides of the ball, they have crashed back to earth. However, they have shown they can put a run together, even if it is a very, very slim chance that they do it again.
You Can Start Booking Things for January
Panthers, Rams, Bears, 49ers
At least Panthers fans won’t have the disappointment of a Super Bowl loss this year. I guess that is a positive right?
The season will soon be over and these teams can start worrying about the draft and for the 49ers and Bears a nice new quarterback with the top 3 or 4 pick. That worked out great for the Rams.