Week 15 NFC Playoff Picture
In Need Of A Festivus Miracle
San Francisco 49ers (5-9) In the spirit of giving, I'm keeping the 49ers in the playoff picture based on one incredibly outlandish scenario: San Francisco wins out, Seattle & St. Louis both lose their next two games and then tie in Week 17. That would mean San Francisco wins the division at 7-9 with the Seahawks and Rams at 6-9-1.
In Need Of Help
Seattle Seahawks (6-7) The Seahawks did themselves no favor by losing to the 49ers last week. Even though Seattle is tied with St. Louis for the NFC West lead the Seahawks face a tough stretch to end the season with Atlanta, Tampa Bay, then a crucial showdown against the Rams.
Green Bay Packers (8-5) After last week's embarrassing loss to Detroit the Packers find their playoff hopes fading fast. The Packers go into tonight's game against New England without Aaron Rodgers and will need plenty of help from around the NFC.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) Tampa Bay is still hanging around though like the Packers they need help. The Buccaneers can nail down the common opponents tiebreaker over the Packers with a win over Detroit today. But even if Tampa Bay finishes 11-5 the Buccaneers may not clinch a playoff birth due to a weak strength of victory number.
Controlling Their Destiny
New York Giants (9-4) Coming off a short week the Giants have a monster showdown with Philadelphia today. A loss will nearly crush New York's chances of winning the division as they would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Giants can clinch a playoff birth today with a win and losses to the Bears, Packers and Buccaneers. Win or lose the Giants have to turn around and face another big game in Green Bay.
New Orleans Saints (10-3) New Orleans has won six in a row but they can't seem to catch Atlanta. In fact, the Saints could end the year 13-3 and still not be a division winner. The next two weeks are big for the Saints as they play Baltimore today and at Atlanta next week. New Orleans clinches a playoff spot with a win, a Tampa Bay loss and a loss to any of these three teams: Giants, Bears or Packers.
St. Louis Rams (6-7) The Rams won't clinch anything today but they do need to keep pace with Seattle and that includes beating Kansas City today. In reality, the West will likely be decided in Week 17.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) A win today all but guarantees a division title for the Eagles. After today Philly ends the season with home games against Minnesota and Dallas and will be a factor in the playoff chase the rest of the way.
Chicago Bears (9-4) Chicago clinches the North with a win and a Packers loss. Then it becomes a question of nailing down a first round bye but first the Bears must beat Minnesota on the road in frigid conditions.
Atlanta Falcons (11-2) Atlanta clinches a playoff bid with a win or a loss to any of these teams: Giants, Bears or Packers. However the Falcons can't clinch the division until next week.