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Your NFC playoff picture

Jay Cutler, Mike Devito, Bryan Thomas

We broke down the AFC playoff picture earlier Sunday night.  The NFC is a little more complicated.  Here goes:

1. Atlanta (12-2): The Falcons clinch the NFC South and the No. 1 seed with a win at home against the Saints Monday night or a win against the Panthers in Week 17.  So Monday night’s game oddly isn’t that big.  (Unless Jimmy Clausen is a lot better in 2011 than 2010.)

2. Chicago (11-4): The Bears are NFC North champs.  They clinch a bye with a win in Green Bay next week or with a loss by the Eagles.  (If the Bears lose in Green Bay, we could have Bears-Packers in back-to-back weeks.  Sweet.)

3.  Philadelphia (10-4): The Eagles won the NFC East following the Giants’ loss Sunday.  Philly can still pass Chicago for a bye with two home wins (against the Vikings and Cowboys) and a little help from Green Bay.

4. St. Louis (7-8): The Rams can hit .500 and win the division with a victory in Seattle on Sunday Night Football next week. Simple.

5. New Orleans (10-4): The Saints only need one more win to get in, but a loss Monday night against Atlanta would make Week 17 very interesting.  Tampa heads to New Orleans for the finale and the Bucs would own tiebreaks over the Saints if both teams finished 10-6.  (On common opponents.  Those Cardinals and Browns losses would really hurt the Saints then.)

While it’s possible the Bucs and Saints could get in (if the Packers and Giants lose), that’s very unlikely.  Basically the Saints need another victory for a playoff spot.  (Two wins and a miracle by Clausen for the division.)

6. Green Bay (9-6): The Packers are in with a win next week against the Bears.  They could also get in with a loss IF the Giants and Bucs lost next week.  The Packers hold strength of victory tiebreaks in the event of a three-way tie.  They beat the Giants Sunday, so obviously have the head-to-head tiebreak.

Essentially, the Packers are first in line in the event of tiebreaks.

7. New York (9-6): It’s not over.  Really.  The Giants are in if they can win in Washington next week and the Packers lose to the Bears.  It’s dark right now for Giants fans, but that’s not that crazy a scenario.

8. Tampa Bay (9-6): They need a lot of help, and will really be in trouble if the Saints win in Atlanta Monday night.  In that scenario, the Bucs would need the following to happen.  1) Win in New Orleans 2) Packers lose 3) Giants lose.   The Bucs’ official website breaks it down in greater detail.

9. Seahawks (6-9): It’s hard to imagine this team beating anyone.  They haven’t been closer than 15 points to a team other than Carolina in six weeks. Still, the Seahawks could be the first losing team to make the playoffs if they beat St. Louis.  Barf.

10-16. Everyone else:  Sorry.

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35 Responses to “Your NFC playoff picture”
  1. macjacmccoy says: Dec 26, 2010 11:20 PM

    So what happens if the Eagles, Falcons, and Saints are tied at 12-4. I know that gives the Saints the division but who would get home field advantage through out the playoffs(asuming the Bears lose next week vs the Packers)?

    Also what happens if the Eagles, Bears, and Falcons all end the season at 12-4? The Eagles hold the advantage over the Falcons but the Bears hold the advantage over the Eagles. How does the playoff seeding work out? Is it Bears 1, Eagles 2, Falcons 3?

  2. ladybucsandsteelersnut says: Dec 26, 2010 11:25 PM

    Gregg, really nice breakdown that makes the possibilities easy to understand – thanx!

    One point, though – your #9 comment about the Seahawks is the perfect argument against NBC broadcasting the Seattle/St. Louis game. What a huge disappointment that is for the last regular game broadcast!

  3. claymath52 says: Dec 26, 2010 11:37 PM

    2. Chicago (11-4): The Bears are NFC North champs. They clinch a bye with a win in Green Bay next week or with a loss by the Eagles. (If the Bears lose in Green Bay, we could have Bears-Packers in back-to-back weeks. Sweet.)

    Sweet Indeed. Can’t think of anything better than to beat the Bears two weeks in a row. The BEARS STILL SUCK!!!

  4. wydok says: Dec 26, 2010 11:43 PM

    @macjacmccoy: I think the Eagles would be 1st seed, since they have the head-to-head win over the Falcons. I looked up the tiebreaker rules, and I didn’t see any for that specific scenario, but since head-to-head is the 1st tiebreaker used for wild card teams, I assume that would be true for the 1st through 4th seeds, too.

  5. xtb3 says: Dec 26, 2010 11:54 PM

    Giants can get in with a win over Washington and a Green Bay loss to Chicago.

    Or if the Saints lose their last 2 games, the Giants beat Washington and the Buccaneers win next week. The Giants, Saints and Bucs would all be 10-6, but the Giants would get a playoff slot.

    The Giants get in ahead of the Saints in that scenario because of the way the NFL breaks ties – within the division 1st. So the Bucs would eliminate the Saints because of a better winning percentage in common games. That would pit the Giants and Bucs in a tiebreaker. The Giants would win that one because of a better record in common games.

    If the Giants go head-to-head with the Saints in a tiebreaker, they would lose out because of a worse winning percentage in common games. Saints are 5-0, Giants are 3-1.

  6. cobrala says: Dec 27, 2010 12:00 AM

    How could the Packers and Giants lose next week?

  7. mattlion says: Dec 27, 2010 12:03 AM

    So what happens if the Eagles, Falcons, and Saints are tied at 12-4. I know that gives the Saints the division but who would get home field advantage through out the playoffs(asuming the Bears lose next week vs the Packers)?

    Also what happens if the Eagles, Bears, and Falcons all end the season at 12-4? The Eagles hold the advantage over the Falcons but the Bears hold the advantage over the Eagles. How does the playoff seeding work out? Is it Bears 1, Eagles 2, Falcons 3?

    The first tiebreaker after head-to-head for teams in different divisions is conference record. So, in scenario 1 (Eagles/Falcons/Saints all 12-4) the Saints would be the 1, the Eagles would be the 2. The Saints, if they finish 12-4, would have a 10-2 conference record, beating the Eagles’ 9-3.

    In scenario 2 (Eagles/Bears/Falcons all 12-4) you can’t do head to head since there is no sweep involved (the Eagles went 1-1 against the other 2 and the Falcons and Bears didn’t play), they would all be 9-3 in conference, so it would go to common games…. which I don’t have time to figure out….

  8. dontbugmeanymore says: Dec 27, 2010 12:08 AM

    The Bucs’ official website appears to refer to a tiebreaker with Atlanta (which can’t apply since ATL can’t have less than 12 wins) when it should refer to Green Bay, thus everything the Bucs’ official website claims has to be consider suspect.

    If you want to check for yourself, see the second scenario 1 (yes, it has 2 scenarios listed as scenario #1, at least from my reading) bullet point 5, sentence 3.

    Of course, I don’t blame anyone. The Yahoo playoff scenario generator is having problems too (listing the Eagle’s w/ 17 games).

    What does this all mean, just read Gregg Rosenthal’s post and you’ll know enough to make it to next Sunday.

  9. cowboys4life says: Dec 27, 2010 12:08 AM

    Colts V Falcons.. Peyton Manning wins his last superbowl….mark it

  10. scra22 says: Dec 27, 2010 12:27 AM

    macjacmccoy says: Dec 26, 2010 11:20 PM
    So what happens if the Eagles, Falcons, and Saints are tied at 12-4. I know that gives the Saints the division but who would get home field advantage through out the playoffs(asuming the Bears lose next week vs the Packers)?
    =======
    If the Saints and Falcons both ended up at 12-4, the Falcons would be the 5th seed. The Eagles have 3 NFC losses and the Saints only have 2, so the Saints would be #1 and Eagles #2.

  11. geauxformore says: Dec 27, 2010 12:41 AM

    Saints beating the Falclowns. Is it Monday yet?

  12. 54bear55 says: Dec 27, 2010 1:42 AM

    I guess the #5 seed is the most desirable spot in the nfc, barring a first round bye. That team will get to play against one of the worst playoff teams in recent memory, regardless of who comes out on top Sunday night.

  13. dirksimmons says: Dec 27, 2010 2:41 AM

    I went on ESPN’s playoff machine and here’s what I got:

    -To get the #1 seed, ATL needs to win one remaining game.
    -To get the #1 seed, CHI needs to win their last remaining game, have ATL lose both remaining games and have PHI lose one of their remaining games. If Eagles finish 12-4, somehow the Falcons would regain the #1 seed from the Bears.
    -To get the #1 seed, PHI needs to win both remaining games, have CHI lose their last remaining game, have ATL lose both remaining games, and have Saints lose against the Bucs.
    -To get the #1 seed, the Saints need to win both remaining games and have ATL lose to CAR.

  14. voodoochild47 says: Dec 27, 2010 5:59 AM

    Great man! Heart was in the wrong place but when I saw him and Troy Smith go at it I knew he was on the way out!

  15. voodoochild47 says: Dec 27, 2010 6:00 AM

    sorry…meant heart was in the right place…

  16. voodoochild47 says: Dec 27, 2010 6:15 AM

    The Giants don’t deserve to make it into the playoffs! They better take a page from the Cowboys playbook and get a new coach!

  17. iluvwikileaks says: Dec 27, 2010 7:18 AM

    The Seababies drool. I hope the Rams beat them. They are a better team and deserve it. Hasselbeck is one of the biggest busts of any NFL quarterback. Next to Carson Palmer. I still smile recalling the Steelers kicking his @$$ in the Super Bowl 5 years ago:)

    I hope the Bucs get in.

  18. brasho says: Dec 27, 2010 7:31 AM

    I also have the Bucs getting in if they beat the Saints and the Giants lose with the Saints owning the better conference record.

  19. brasho says: Dec 27, 2010 7:33 AM

    Ooops, I meant the Bucs having the better conference record than the Packers.

  20. eaglesnoles05 says: Dec 27, 2010 7:38 AM

    Falcons will get it done. And if they don’t lose their 1st playoff game, Philly will go to ATL for the nfc championship game. Some…how…that…seems…like…it…might…be…intriguing… for…some…reason…

  21. biglebronski says: Dec 27, 2010 8:05 AM

    Well, this likely won’t happen every year, but moving division games to the last three weeks looks like a great idea right now.

  22. jimmysee says: Dec 27, 2010 8:14 AM

    claymath52 says:
    Dec 26, 2010 11:37 PM

    Sweet Indeed. Can’t think of anything better than to beat the Bears two weeks in a row. The BEARS STILL SUCK!!!

    ————————————————————

    Seems to me if there’s anything that’s been shown this season it’s that the Bears do not suck. The team has come through adversity and continued to win.

    That being said, next Sunday’s game at Lambeau will be a rumble. Possibly followed by a further rumble at Soldier Field.

  23. 1historian says: Dec 27, 2010 8:56 AM

    Bears v. Packers outside in January with playoff implications.

    Sounds good to me

  24. mysticdriver says: Dec 27, 2010 9:12 AM

    Getting good chuckles reading the what-if scenarios that entertain the possibility that Atlanta going 12/4.
    Are you that desperate to come up with any illusion that would help you feel better about your teams chances? Why not accept that ATL will be #1 seed going 14/2 and figure your seeds predicated on that fact? Do you honestly expect us to believe that ATL will lose the next 2 @ home? What if there REALLY is a Santa Claus?

  25. dukemarc says: Dec 27, 2010 9:26 AM

    1. Done – whether it’s this week or next.

    2. No bye for you, see #6

    3. Philly gets the other bye, also see #6

    4. Who cares?

    5. Saints are in – they’ll get at least one win over the next two weeks.

    6. Book it – Bears lose by 20 and 14 in back to back weeks. Unfortunately for Bears fans – Lovie and Angelo return for another 2 years.

    7. Sorry Giants, you had your chance. Good luck next year with a new coach.

    8. Nice story but ain’t happening. Still waiting for them to beat a good team. Maybe they’ll prove they belong next year.

    9. Again, who cares?

  26. dukemarc says: Dec 27, 2010 9:28 AM

    The team has come through adversity and continued to win.
    ———————————

    Huh? What adversity? They’ve played against how many 2nd and 3rd string QBs this year? Adversity my ass…..

  27. txbearmeat says: Dec 27, 2010 9:41 AM

    Assuming the Iggles win their last two, there should be no doubt at all the Packers win both upcoming games with da Burrs.

    The recipe for beating them is simple: Don’t turn it over, and don’t kick to Hester. GB is more talented and will prove that come Sunday.

  28. claymath52 says: Dec 27, 2010 10:13 AM

    Seems to me if there’s anything that’s been shown this season it’s that the Bears do not suck. The team has come through adversity and continued to win.

    That being said, next Sunday’s game at Lambeau will be a rumble. Possibly followed by a further rumble at Soldier Field.

    Agreed. It would be tough to beat the Bears twice in a row with the second game in Chicago. With that said, “The Bears still suck,” is mostly just a chant Packers fans like to use weather it is accurate or not.

  29. gamustangdude says: Dec 27, 2010 10:26 AM

    This game on
    Monday is nothing more than a rivalry game. It is more meaningful to the saints then the falcons. If Atlanta wins they rest next week vs the panthers that’s our only incentive. To beat the saints twice would be great but on the grand scheme of things should not be treated no differently then the last preseason game by Atlanta.

  30. touchdownroddywhite says: Dec 27, 2010 11:35 AM

    Falcons will see 14-2 tied for the best record in the league, with the Pats, to start building the hype for a Falcons-Pats Super Bowl, which is what every football fan in America, who doesn’t want to see an Eagles-Pats rematch, wants to see whether they realize it or not.

    Falcons-Pats – Best Super Bowl in a decade. Mark my words.

  31. kev86 says: Dec 27, 2010 1:52 PM

    I think the Giants are going to make it in. They are getting thrashed by the local/national media pretty good (deservingly so) but have the talent to snap out of it and get hot.

  32. clownburger says: Dec 27, 2010 2:34 PM

    To help those who don’t know:

    The 4 division winners get the top 4 seeds, period. The seeding among those 4 is decided by the records, best record being #1 seed and so on.

    So whoever DOESN’T win the NFC South, is the #5 seed (aka, the #1 Wild Card team)

    People often forget that the whole point of there being 2 wild card teams is to reward the top 2 teams in the conference who DID NOT win their division.

    The moral of the story is that winning your division is a big deal in the NFL, but if you didn’t win your division and are still pretty good, you still have a shot.

  33. rammerray says: Dec 27, 2010 3:58 PM

    RAMS fan here. I know a lot of people out there don’t like the NFC West. Well, after 3 VERY frustrating years, I’m glad that my RAMS have a shot. After winning only 6 games the last 3 years combined, winning 7 in one season IS a big deal here. And for all of you who’s team is doing well now, what goes around comes around. They won’t be on top forever!!!

  34. bigrickonsports says: Dec 28, 2010 2:16 PM

    I still think the Ravens are the team to beat. They have a punishing defense that can carry them all the way to a Lombardi Trophy. And let us not forget what they did to the Pats last season.

  35. comeonnowguys says: Dec 28, 2010 2:44 PM

    “Falcons-Pats – Best Super Bowl in a decade. Mark my words.”

    Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiight.

    Also, I love when people end their posts with “Book it!” “You heard it here first!” or “Mark my words!” Like anybody is going to keep track of what some anonymous schmuck on one site predicts.

    Sincerely yours,
    Some anonymous schmuck

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