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NFC Picture

December 24, 2012

This Sunday all 32 NFL teams conclude their regular season. The NFC has two games where both teams control their fate concerning playoff qualification or seeding.

First in the late afternoon at Minnesota, the Vikings host the Green Bay Packers. At night, for a second straight season, the Dallas Cowboys need a road win in the regular season finale to become the NFC four seed. Again, however, a loss would eliminate the Cowboys. This time the “Pokes” are in the nation’s capital facing the Redskins.

The Packers have a half game lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the race for the NFC “two seed.” If Green Bay prevails at Minnesota, they get a wild card round bye and would host a divisional round game the following week. The Packers would fall to a “three” seed if they lose and either the Niners or suddenly high powered, playoff bound, Seattle Seahawks win. The Vikings are in the playoffs with a win but likely would be out of the playoffs if they lose to Green Bay.

At night, for the second straight year, the NFC East Title is at stake in the season’s final game. The winner of Dallas at Washington takes the crown and the four seed/home wild card game that goes with it. Dallas is out if they lose while the Redskins likely, but far from definitely, will take the field Sunday night needing a win to qualify for the playoffs. No matter the results of earlier “related” games, the Redskins will need a win or very unlikely tie vs Dallas to win the division and play at home in the wild card round.

Two other NFC teams, each playing in games starting earlier in the day, still have a chance to make the playoffs. The Chicago Bears need a win at the Detroit Lions and a Packers’ win at Minnesota to qualify for the post season. Both the Bears and Packers are field goal favorites making the odds of the Bears getting what they need less than two to one. On the other hand, the defending champion New York Giants need to win vs the Philadelphia Eagles and then get help in the form of Detroit, Green Bay and Washington wins. In what is likely to be Andy Reid’s last game as Eagles coach, the Giants are ten point favorites. The other three games possibly concerning the Giants all have three point lines, with two of the teams the Giants would need to win (the Packers and Redskins) the favorite. I conservatively estimate the odds against the Giants playoff qualification as a bit over seven to one.

Speaking of seven, a Giants win would produce another seven loss season (9-7). Last year, despite that mediocre record, the Giants won the Super Bowl. Very likely, this year as should be the case with such a record, the Giants will not make the playoffs.

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