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The Jeff Falconio Blog

Week 13 NFC playoff picture

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As Phil Simms once said "Thanksgiving Day, time to start thinking about the playoffs."  With three playoff contenders in action today here's the NFC playoff picture:

In Need Of A Festivus Miracle

New York Giants (4-7)
Combine a four game winning streak with a weak NFC East and the Giants remain relevant despite seeing that winning streak snapped last week.  9-7 could be good enough to win the East however New York has lost the tiebreaker with Dallas and that makes an uphill climb even steeper.

St. Louis Rams (5-6)
We can say this much: the Rams are fun to watch.  Thanks to two straight wins St. Louis is hanging around but they're in the toughest division in the NFL and they have a brutal stretch to end the season.  A win against the 49ers on Sunday keeps them around for yet another week.

In Need Of Help

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1)
Last week's tie was a season saver and it helped that Detroit and Chicago both lost.  As we like to say, to win the division you must win within the division.  It appears that the Packers can only make the playoffs as a division winner thus making today a must-win.

Chicago Bears (6-5)
The Bears are tied with the Lions but have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker so despite a manageable schedule to close out the season Chicago needs help to win the division.  Of course, a wild card birth isn't out of the question either though the Bears are hurt by a 3-5 NFC record.

Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)
Everything is pointing to the Week 17 showdown between Dallas and Philly for NFC East supremacy.  However, the Eagles have a tough road ahead with matchups against Arizona, Detroit and Chicago over the next four weeks.

Arizona Cardinals (7-4)
The Cardinals are flying on the wings of a four game winning streak but there's still some work to do.  By virtue of an October loss to San Francisco and an 0-3 divisional record the Cardinals lose any tiebreaker to the 49ers.  Arizona gets the 49ers at home in the season finale but they'll likely need to leap frog over San Fran due to that winless divisional record.

Controlling Their Destiny

San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
The Monday night win over Washington snapped a two game losing skid and put the 49ers on the path to the playoffs.  Now they face key back-to-back divisional games that will make-or-break the Niners slim chance of winning the division.

Carolina Panthers (8-3)
And Carolina just keeps winning.  The Panthers have notched seven straight wins and in doing so have become the top wild card team.  More importantly, Carolina is right on the heels of New Orleans and have two matchups with the Saints coming up.

Division Leaders

Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
The Cowboys scored a huge divisional road win against the Giants last week and now they sit in the driver's seat in the putrid NFC East.  However, the Cowboys have been in this position before and have melted after Thanksgiving.  Will it happen again?

Detroit Lions (6-5)
Detroit is in the rare position of leading the division in late November.  A win over Green Bay today would put the Lions on the fast track to the playoffs thanks to the tiebreaker over Chicago.  Like the Bears and Packers, Detroit also has a manageable December schedule.

New Orleans Saints (9-2)
The Saints have been fantastic but they can't shake Carolina.  But before the Saints host the Panthers they hit the road to play Seattle in the game that will likely decide home field advantage in the NFC.

Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
Seattle has a rugged three game stretch with the Saints, 49ers and Giants but only a colossal collapse will keep the Seahawks from the postseason.

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