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The NFL has released the full schedule for wildcard weekend. My early impressions actually favor a lot of the road teams. The Saints should beat whoever comes out of the NFC West. The Ravens will feel pretty good heading into Arrowhead and the Colts are a total crapshoot right now.
The Eagles/Packers game is arguably the most intriguing game of the weekend pitting the NFC’s best defense (Packers) against the NFC’s best offense (Eagles). The Eagles will be a little fresher after resting all their starters this weekend, but the Packers will feel like they’re on a roll. Should be a great game.
(5) Ravens @ (4) Chiefs, 1:00 pm (CBS)
(6) Packers @ (3) Eagles, 4:30 pm (FOX)
With the early games coming to a close there’s a few more things that we can say we know. The Steelers blowout win over the Browns means they’ve locked up the #2 seed in the AFC and will get a bye. The Ravens are locked into the #5 seed while the Jets will be the #6. Who the Jets and Ravens will play however is stlll up in the air thanks to the fact that Kansas City Chiefs were blown out at home by the Oakland Raiders. That means that if the Colts win this afternoon, they will leapfrog KC for the #3 seed and will get the Jets.
In the NFC, the Falcons locked up the #1 overall seed and a first round bye. That means the Bears are locked into the #2 seed regardless of whether they lose to the Packers. Whether that affects how the Bears play or whether they decide to rest some guys is still unknown. That game is very significant for the final wildcard spot in the NFC. If the Packers win they’re in. The Giants need a Packers loss and win at the Redskins to get in. Tampa Bay actually beat the Saints today to keep themselves alive, they now need losses by Green Bay and New York to get themselves in.
Whoever gets in between the Packers, Giants, or Bucs will head to Philadelphia next weekend. New Orleans will go on the road to face the winner of tonight’s matchup between the Seahawks & Rams which will decide the NFC West.
The winner of the Eagles/#6 seed game then goes to Chicago, while the winner of the Saints/NFC West winner goes to Atlanta.
The majority of the NFC playoff picture will be decided by the end of the 4pm games today. After that point, only the winner of the NFC West (who will be the #4 seed) will be left to be decided. Right now the Falcons, Bears, Eagles, & Saints have all clinched but only the Eagles are locked into a particular seed.
The Bears need a Falcons loss and a win over the Green Bay Packers to get the #1 overall seed. Otherwise, they’ll be no worse than the #2 and will have a bye.
The Packers need a win over Chicago or a Giants loss to secure the final wildcard spot. The Giants need to beat the Redskins and a Packers loss at home to the Bears. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to beat the Saints in New Orleans and for both the Giants and Packers to lose. Whoever gets this wildcard spot faces the Eagles next weekend in Philadelphia.
The Saints can still win the NFC South and get a first round bye if they beat the Bucs and the Falcons lose to the Panthers.
The Eagles were upset by the Minnesota Vikings in a game that could end up hurting other NFC teams even more than the Eagles. For Philadelphia, it means that they’re locked into the #3 seed regardless of whether they win or lose next week against the Cowboys. The Eagles loss means the Bears clinch a first round bye and whoever ends up winning the NFC South will get the other.
So while the Eagles eliminated themselves from a shot at a first round bye, they could choose to give themselves a bye of sorts by resting some beat up starters next week against the Cowboys. As I said, a win or loss next will will have effect on their playoff seed.
The Eagles loss also means that the Bears could potentially take it a bit easier next week as well. They still have a shot at a #1 seed so it’s not like they have nothing to play for… but they’ll be on the road in Green Bay next week with a bye already locked up. If they get down in that game they may just decide that discretion is the better part of valor and not risk injuries to their important players For the Packers, it’s a win and they’re in game. So if they face a lesser Bears team and win, that means the Giants and Buccaneers would be eliminated.
The Giants would have wanted the Bears still playing for a bye next week.
The Eagles won’t be happy after a poor showing, but having the opportunity to give beat up guys like Michael Vick and Asante Samuel a week off is a big deal. The Eagles will be playing their 3rd game in 12 days when the playoffs begin.
The Falcons were handed their third loss of the season and their first at home as they fell to the New Orleans Saints 17-14 in Atlanta. Their loss opens up the door for the Bears, Eagles & the Saints to possibly grab the top seed in the NFC. Should the Falcons lose next week, all three of those of those teams will hold a tiebreaker which would put them ahead of Atlanta. The Falcons could potentially fall as far as the #5 seed.
However, the Falcons host the Panthers next week. Carolina has the worst record in the NFL… so unless Atlanta forfeits, their #1 seed is probably safe. The biggest takeaway from the game is the chinks that are now appearing the Falcons armor. By the time the season ends, Atlanta will likely be 4-3 against playoff teams. They will have also lost to arguably the top two other threats in the NFC (New Orleans & Philadelphia). After scoring just one offensive TD tonight, the Falcons suddenly don’t look so invincible at home. Also, Falcons fans can’t have enjoyed hearing all those stupid “Who Dat?” chants from the many Saints fans in attendance.
The Saints clinched at least a wildcard tonight and while they’ve still got a shot at the NFC South, the likelihood is that they’ll be the #5 seed and will face the winner of next week’s Seahawks vs Rams game. That means either the Eagles or Bears will face whichever of the Packers, Giants & Buccaneers get the final wildcard spot.
There are precious few playoff spots remaining after week 16 of the NFL season, but there’s lots of seeding still to be done. The Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC West with their win over Tennessee, the Jets clinched a wildcard despite losing and the Eagles won the NFC East without even playing.
The top spot in the NFC is Atlanta’s to lose. The Falcons need only one win tomorrow against the Saints or the following week at home against the Panthers. Unless the entire Falcons team eats bad shellfish or tests positive for PEDs and are forced to forfeit, there’s pretty much no way they’ll lose the Panther game. However, since the Eagles hold a head to head tiebreaker over them they haven’t mathematically clinched yet.
The #2 seed is up for grabs, but the Bears control their own destiny. If they beat the Packers next week in Green Bay, they’ve got the #2 seed and a bye. They could lose and still get the #2 seed should the Eagles lose either of their next two.
The Saints appear to have the #5 seed all locked up, and by virtue of their blowout of the New York Giants the Packers are now in control of the final wildcard spot. A Giants loss or a Packer win over Chicago means they’re in. The Buccaneers are also still in the hunt, but they need to beat the Saints and have both the Packers and Giants lose. The big loser in the NFC this weekend has to be the Giants, who came in controlling their destiny and now do not.
Over in the AFC, the Patriots clinched the #1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Colts took a big step toward winning the AFC South thanks to their win over the Raiders and the Jaguars loss to the Redskins. The Chiefs won the AFC West after they beat the Titans and the Chargers spit the bit in Cincy. The Chargers will miss the playoffs despite ranked in the top 5 in both offense and defense for virtually the entire season. The Jets secured the final wildcard spot despite their loss in Chicago. The Jaguars could catch the Colts and win the AFC South with a win at the Texans and a Colts loss to the Titans.
The Eagles host the Vikings this Sunday night with a chance to clinch the NFC East. However, the division could actually be locked before the birds even take the field.
The Philadelphia Eagles can clinch the NFC East with:
The Eagles can actually still clinch a playoff spot even if they lose and the Giants win.
The Philadelphia Eagles can clinch a playoff spot with:
1. An Eagles tie with Minnesota OR 2. Tampa Bay loss or tie
The NFL Playoff scenarios are becoming much clearer for the top teams in each conference, but the wildcard spots are still pretty much up for grabs in the NFC. The Steelers and Falcons were the only teams to clinch this weekend. The Eagles virtually locked up the NFC East, which the Bears can also do with a win tonight.
Let’s start with the NFC where the Falcons, Bears, & Eagles are the top three seeds. The Bears hold a head to head tiebreaker over the Eagles, so Philly would need to finish a game ahead of the Bears to secure a #2 seed. The leader of the NFC worst is the Rams by default. Every team in the division lost weekend and they assured themselves of not having a single team with a winning record. With two weeks to go, it seems very likely that the winner of this division will be at best 7-9. The Rams and Seahawks play each other in the final week of the season, which will likely decide the #4 seed in the NFC.
The wildcard contenders in the NFC pretty much all lost. The Saints, Giants, Packers & Buccaneers could have all asserted themselves and didn’t this weekend. The Saints are still in line for the #5 seed at 10-4 and the Giants lead the rest of the pack at 9-5. The Buccaneers blew a game at home to the Lions for their 6th loss and the Packers lost a road game to the Patriots.
The Packers are actually in pretty good position. They’ll get Aaron Rodgers back next week and they host the Giants in Green Bay. If they win that game they pull ahead of the Giants by virtue of the head to head tiebreaker.
The Ravens got a big win over the Saints this weekend to pull even with the Steelers, who lost to the Jets. They remain behind the Steelers due to tiebreakers, but could still end up taking the AFC North and possibly get a first round bye. The aforementioned Jets stopped their freefall in a big way with a road win in Pittsburgh, which really solidified their shot at a wildcard. The other AFC wildcard seems destined to be the runner up in the AFC North.
We’re just about through Week 14 of the NFL season and the playoff picture still isn’t looking any clearer. In fact, after this weekend it seems like even more teams are alive than last weekend. That said, we did get our first clinching team this weekend when the Patriots blew out the Bears in Chicago. Interestingly enough, 11 wins is enough to clinch in the AFC but not the NFC. Atlanta got to 11 wins and still did not mathematically clinch this weekend.
The AFC wildcards right now are the Ravens and Jets. The Chargers, Colts and Dolphins are still in the hunt. For the Chargers and Colts, their best shot at the postseason will probably be by winning their divisions, which are still in play. The Colts play the division leading Jags next week with a chance to pull even.
The wild cards right now are the 10-3 Saints and the Giants. Yes, it’s very possible that the Saints the could win 12 or 13 games and get a wild card while the Rams finish below .500 and get a home game.
The Packers fell out of the playoffs with their loss to the Detroit on Sunday and if Aaron Rodgers can’t play next week they could find themselves in real trouble. They’re just a game behind the Bears in the NFC North but play at New England, home to the Giants and then the Bears to close out the season. It’s a brutal final three games. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept themselves in the race with a win at Washington thanks to a botched extra point. Were the Giants to lose tonight, the Bucs would pull dead even with them in the wild card race. They’d have the same overall record, division record and conference record.
The Seahawks are tied with the Rams stop the NFC west at 6-7 and the 49ers are only a game back at 5-8. Neither team has a shot at wild card, but they could get themselves into the postseason by winning the awful NFC West.
Week 13 of the NFL season is over the NFC and all the contenders basically held serve. The only real loser this week was Tampa… Luckily, there are some big games between NFC contenders in the coming weeks which will cause some separation at the top.
The Philadelphia Eagles started the week with Thursday night victory of the Texans. The New York Giants kept pace in the NFC East with an expected win over the Washington Redskins. The Eagles and Giants are even at 8-4, with the Eagles holding the tiebreaker for beating the Giants head to head. They will meet in New York in two weeks. In the meantime, the Giants have a tough game in Green Bay next week while the Eagles head to Dallas.
The NFC South got a little clearer as the Atlanta Falcons effectively eliminated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from division contention. At 7-4 the Bucs are behind three other teams for two wildcard spots. Their loss today just may have put them out of the playoffs altogether. The Saints stayed alive in the South with a last minute victory at the Bengals. The defending champs are now just a game back of the Falcons, with the two teams scheduled to play week 16 in Atlanta. The Falcons by the way, now have the easiest schedule in football to end the year.
The NFC West now has two teams at .500! The consensus worst division in football finally has some separation with the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks at 6-6. The Rams hold the head to head tiebreaker for now, but the two will play at Seattle in the final week of the year. It’s going to be a tough road for the young Rams however, as they have games against the Saints on the road and the likely playoff bound Chiefs. Plus of course, that last game is in Seattle. That said, the Seahawks don’t have it any easier with games against Atlanta and at Tampa.
The NFC North is still a two team race between the 9-3 Bears and the 8-4 Packers. The Bears have the toughest final games of any team in the NFL hosting New England, traveling to Minnesota, hosting the Jets and then heading to Green Bay in week 17. Getting the Jets and Pats home is helpful for Chicago, but there’s not an easy game in that stretch. The Packers have only a marginally easier schedule as they go to Detroit, then face the Patriots on the road, come for the Giants and finish the year at home against the Bears. That week 17 game could very well be for the division. The Bears have already beaten the Packers this season, so that’s a huge must win for the Pack.
As for the wildcard race, the Saints are in the drivers season at 9-4. The Packers are Giants are tied at 8-4 and since the two will play next week, the other tiebreakers don’t really matter. Tampa is just behind them at 7-5.
Week 13 of the NFL season kicked off on Thursday night as the Eagles defeated the Houston Texans, which bolstered the former's playoff credentials and put the latter's in serious doubt. We're going to take a look at the rest of week 13 and see what the playoff picture could look like by Tuesday morning.
I ran the Yahoo! NFL playoff scenario generator through the end of the season based on current winning percentages and this is what it came up with. In the NFC, the Falcons & Eagles took the #1 and #2 seeds. The #6 seed Giants would travel to Chicago to take on the #3 seed Bears(who had the toughest remaining schedule in the league). Finally, the #5 seed Saints get the gift of heading to St Louis to take on the 8-8 Rams.
Here's a division by division look at the playoff scenarios.
NFC East - Two teams alive
The Eagles sit atop the NFC East at 8-4, a record that the second place Giants can equal with a win at home over the Redskins tomorrow. Right now, the Eagles hold tiebreakers against the Giants with a better division record plus the head to head win. The two will play again this season and those tiebreakers could be out the window.
NFC North - Two teams alive
The Bears lead the division by a game over the Packers heading into a weekend where both teams are heavy favorites to get a win. This division will likely be decided by the week 17 matchup between these two teams.
NFC South - Three teams alive
This division has the Falcons, Saints, & Buccaneers in that order. The Falcons and Bucs play each other this weekend in what could be an elimination game for the Bucs. At 7-4 they're tied with Green Bay & New York for the final wildcard. At this point, it looks as if at least one wildcard comes out of this division. The other will likely be the runner up in the NFC East or North.
NFC West - Three teams alive
This division doesn't have a single team over .500 and the only squad getting into the playoffs is whoever gets the automatic berth by winning the division. There's an embarrassing possibility of the winner of this division being 7-9. The 49ers, who already have 7 losses are still in this because the Rams and Seahawks, who are tied atop, are 5-6.
AFC East - Two teams alive
Jets & Patriots play Monday night in a game that will likely decide this division. The lose probably gets a wildcard berth at worst.
AFC North - Two teams alive
Ditto above. The Ravens & Steelers play each other this weekend. If the Ravens win, they will have swept Pittsburgh and therefore defeat all possible tiebreakers. The Steelers would then need a total collapse from Baltimore to win this division. The loser likely gets the wildcard.
AFC South - Three teams alive
The Jaguars and Colts are both 6-5, while the Titans are only a game back at 5-6. To be fair, the Texans are 5-7, but they could be three games back at the end of the week which would pretty much bury them for the division. No wildcard will come out of the South, so there's three teams for one spot.
AFC West - Two teams alive
I'm going to write off Oakland, who are two games back in the division with no real hope for a wildcard. So that leaves the 7-4 Chiefs and the 6-5 Chargers. San Diego has a better conference record and if they get a win at home against the Chiefs in a few weeks they'll likely take this division. The Chiefs have a marginally tougher road to end the season. The Chargers probably can't afford more than one more loss to have even a shot at a wildcard. If Kansas City loses to the Chargers in two weeks, they could find themselves out of the playoffs even if it's their only loss from here on out.
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