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As playoff race heats up, Giants stay ahead of Redskins, Cowboys

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Everyone in the NFC East won on Sunday, which means the race for the division race didn’t change. And that’s good news for the Giants.

On the strength of their win over the Saints, the Giants improved to 8-5 and stayed a game ahead of the Redskins and Cowboys, who both won to improve to 7-6. With only three weeks left, the Redskins and Cowboys are running out of time to catch the Giants. But if they keep winning, the Redskins and Cowboys will at least be in the playoff mix when they meet each other in Week 17.

In the AFC, the Ravens tried and failed to clinch a playoff berth for the second straight week: Baltimore is on a two-game losing streak, but the Ravens remain the favorites to win the AFC North, thanks to the Steelers and Bengals both losing on Sunday as well.

Below we provide the state of the playoff race, with the six playoff teams that would be in the postseason in each conference if the playoffs started today.

NFC

1. Falcons (11-2): Despite losing at Carolina on Sunday, the Falcons remain the favorites to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

2. 49ers (9-3-1): San Francisco probably won’t catch Atlanta, but the 49ers remain poised to earn a first-round playoff bye.

3. Packers (9-4): Beating the Lions while the Bears lost to the Vikings put the Packers in command of the NFC North.

4. Giants (8-5): New York stays ahead in the NFC East race.

5. Seahawks (8-5): Sunday’s blowout win over the Cardinals makes Seattle look like a safe bet to earn one of the NFC’s two wild card berths.

6. Bears (8-5): Chicago is in free fall, having lost four of five. It doesn’t get any easier next week, when the Packers come to town.

In the mix: The 7-6 Redskins, 7-6 Cowboys and 7-6 Vikings all have a shot, while the 6-6-1 Rams are staying alive but probably have too much ground to make up and not enough time to do it.

AFC

1. Texans (11-1): Even if they lose to the Patriots on Monday night, the Texans will have the inside track for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

2. Broncos (10-3): At the moment, the Broncos are half a game ahead of the Patriots in the race for a first-round playoff bye.

3. Patriots (9-3): If they beat the Texans, the Patriots will move ahead of the Broncos on the strength of New England’s head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Denver.

4. Ravens (9-4): Baltimore’s two-game losing streak has dimmed its hopes of earning home-field advantage in the playoffs.

5. Colts (9-4): Indianapolis hasn’t actually clinched, but there are very few scenarios left under which the Colts don’t get to the playoffs.

6. Steelers (7-6): Pittsburgh still gets in based on the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Cincinnati.

In the mix: The 7-6 Bengals’ playoff hopes took a hit with a loss to Dallas, but if they beat the Steelers in Week 16, the Bengals will probably get to the playoffs. The 6-7 Jets are, amazingly, still in the playoff hunt, but they’re a long shot.

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22 Responses to “As playoff race heats up, Giants stay ahead of Redskins, Cowboys”
  1. schmedley69 says: Dec 9, 2012 11:42 PM

    The Redskins will lose-out and finish 7-9. They are more like the 3-6 team that started the season than the team that has won 4 straight. RG-Knee won’t be able to move around as well the rest of the year, and their defense is really bad.

  2. specialagentjohnnyutah says: Dec 9, 2012 11:46 PM

    Don’t assume the Seahawks will be just be a wild card. They handle business against buffalo and NE handles SF next week then the division is up for grabs in Seattle week 16.

  3. charlutes says: Dec 10, 2012 12:12 AM

    enjoyable, great article.

  4. bleedburgandyandgold says: Dec 10, 2012 12:14 AM

    I’ll be happy if the redskins go 9-7 and finish with a winning record. It feels like its been decades since our last one. At least now there’s hope for the future and at the beginning of seasons to come I won’t feel like I lie to myself when I say we are going to have a great year! HAIL!

  5. commonsensedude says: Dec 10, 2012 12:17 AM

    Of course, the Seahawks’ current playoff position should come with an asterisk, since they only have that spot due to the error made by the replacement refs during the Monday Night debacle that brought back the regular refs.

    Not that illegitimacy ever bothered Pete Carroll before. “Interference? What interference? Looked like a clean touchdown to me!! Oh, and you’re telling me that Reggie Bush did something wrong at USC?”

  6. crapboys says: Dec 10, 2012 12:23 AM

    Schmedley69. Go 69 your mom as your handle suggests. RG3 will be back and rock the browns! Cya hater!

    HTTR!

  7. eventhorizon04 says: Dec 10, 2012 12:43 AM

    “Don’t assume the Seahawks will be just be a wild card. They handle business against buffalo and NE handles SF next week then the division is up for grabs in Seattle week 16.”

    Agreed. Especially because the 49’ers offense looks like it’s regressed with Kaepernick back there.

  8. skins23 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:00 AM

    Can’t wait to take the Broncos -9.5 over the Colts Wild Card weekend and scoop up all the suckers money.

    Andrew Luck is an inaccurate turnover machine and he won’t get the benefit of playing the Jags/Titans/Bills/Browns/Chiefs in the playoffs.

  9. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:06 AM

    I have the Seabags winning the West. Had it from the beginning of the season and sticking with it.

  10. specialagentjohnnyutah says: Dec 10, 2012 1:12 AM

    commonsensedude says:
    Dec 10, 2012 12:17 AM
    Of course, the Seahawks’ current playoff position should come with an asterisk, since they only have that spot due to the error made by the replacement refs during the Monday Night debacle that brought back the regular refs.

    ————–

    Yep, your spot on. They ONLY have that spot because of that one game months ago, nothing they have done since then has gotten them where they are. For the umpteenth time, THE SEAHAWKS DIDNT MAKE THE CALL!!!! Quit blaming them, no other team would have given the W back either…….let it go!!!

  11. redwoodking says: Dec 10, 2012 1:37 AM

    As an SF fan, I don’t think the offense has regressed as much as they’ve been playing down to opponents. The Bears and Saints were huge wins, but also against marquee teams. Those are easy to get pumped for. The Rams and Dolphins not so much. I just hope they realize they need to be rolling teams, not just getting W’s.

  12. txnative61 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:39 AM

    People continuing to dwell on the Seahawks win over the Packers’ effect on the playoff’s is an exercise in futility. Did the Saints reject their Lombardi after the bounty scandal? Actually, Aaron Rodgers said it well after today’s victory—“An ugly win is better than a well played loss.” Questionable calls are, and will always be part of the game, and moving forward instead of looking back remains the best strategy because the records will remain the same, unless it is allowed to become a distraction. It’s not a given that the Seahawks will beat the Rams and 49’s at home to make the playoffs. The rest of the season should be interesting. I hope the playoffs are as good as last year, whoever makes it.

  13. manningbowl88 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:43 AM

    GMEN

  14. profootballwalk says: Dec 10, 2012 2:07 AM

    Is Fireman Ed back yet?

  15. larryboodry says: Dec 10, 2012 2:54 AM

    crapboys says: Dec 10, 2012 12:23 AM

    “Schmedley69. Go 69 your mom as your handle suggests.”

    Someone writes a post you don’t like, so you tell them to go 69 their mom??? Dude, you are the type of ‘fan’ that makes the rest of us look bad…Your fellow ‘Skins fans must love (he said sarcastically) being associated with septic-tank seepage like you.

  16. jshawaii22 says: Dec 10, 2012 3:00 AM

    Dude of no Common Sense,

    And they should do what? Give the win back? And Pete had NOTHING to do with it. He didn’t make the call, go under the hood, consult with the non-replacement NFL paid ref in the booth and he certainly didn’t call it a TD after the review, now did he? Another Pete hater…. bet on the Packers, didn’t ya Mr. Common Sense.

    js

  17. mungman69 says: Dec 10, 2012 4:16 AM

    If RG3 is hindered the Skins chances are dimmed. But they still control their own destiny.

  18. Jamal Wilson says: Dec 10, 2012 7:31 AM

    all it takes is for chicago and the giants to lose 1 dammmmm game! and i have a huge feeling both of those occurs next week. chicago play packers, they will drop to 8-6. giants will lose to atl in georgia dome which will make them 8-6, and the hungry redskins will take out cleveland and advance to 8-6, sorry giants but we dont want the wild card, we want the division, and we plan on making that happen. #HTTR btw, rg3 knee is OK

  19. bosfaninva says: Dec 10, 2012 10:48 AM

    Although it will be tough, I think the Skins can eke out a win over the improved Browns with Cousins at QB. But if I were a betting man I wouldn’t go near this game!

  20. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 10, 2012 2:10 PM

    Tired of people whining about that Seattle/Green Bay game. The lone TD Green Bay scored was ref-aided.

  21. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 10, 2012 2:11 PM

    Jamal Wilson says: Dec 10, 2012 7:31 AM

    all it takes is for chicago and the giants to lose 1 dammmmm game! and i have a huge feeling both of those occurs next week. chicago play packers, they will drop to 8-6. giants will lose to atl in georgia dome which will make them 8-6, and the hungry redskins will take out cleveland and advance to 8-6, sorry giants but we dont want the wild card, we want the division, and we plan on making that happen. #HTTR btw, rg3 knee is OK
    ————-

    You better be praying Eli gets hurt, because with the way Matthew Melt is playing, and that toothless defense of theirs can’t even slow down the Panthers (nevermind the fact the Giants OWN Atlanta) I wouldn’t be teasing that Atlanta game with points unless you know something the rest of us do not ha.

  22. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 10, 2012 2:12 PM

    The Browns are going to beat the Redskins regardless of who the Redskins QB is. I said the Panthers would beat the Falcons unflinchingly in my bettors guide last week and I’m saying that now about Cleveland.

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