20 Days of Football: NFC East Showdown
Perhaps the worst part of Green Bay's 37-36 loss yesterday was the fact that the NFC wild card is still very much in play. The New York Giants are 1 1/2 games behind the Packers and will play Washington tonight so of course a Giants win puts them only one game back. The Packers still control their destiny but should the Packers and Giants end up tied in two weeks the common opponents tiebreaker will come into play.
And that's bad news. There are four common opponents: Dallas, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Minnesota. Thanks to a sweep over Dallas the Giants are 3-1 with the Vikings coming up in Week 17. Against those same teams the Packers are 1-3 and a win over the Cardinals in Week 17 will not be enough.
So tonight's game looms large if the Giants win. New York defeated Washington 23-17 in Week 1 and going into that game the Redskins had a healthy backfield while there were questions about how effective New York would be without Plaxico Burress. Clinton Portis rushed for only 62 yards and Eli Manning threw for 256 yards, proving that Burress was not needed. Now Washington is without Portis or backup Ladell Betts and Manning is coming off his best game of the season. Yesterday's loss just keeps looking worse and worse.