With the Packers losing to the Patriots tonight, the Giants now have their destiny in their own hands, not to mention a couple of other scenarios that could work in their favor.
The easiest of those scenarios is to beat the Packers next weekend. I’ve examined it every which way, and a win next weekend against Green Bay will secure the one of the final wild card spots even if they lose their remaining game with the Redskins.
If they lose to Green Bay, it gets a bit cloudier.
Assuming they lose to Green Bay and beat Washington they would finish at 10-6. If the Packers then go on to win the division, meaning the Bears lost one of their two games against Minnesota and the Jets AND lose to the Packers, then the Giants would go ahead of the Bears and Bucs based on the head to head matchup and strength of schedule, respectively.
If the Bears win the division (assuming the same GB loss, WAS win scenario), they could still potentially make the playoffs if Packers finished 9-7, which is still possible if they lost to the Bears.
This latter scenario is the most likely, since the Bears can clinch the division with a win over Minnesota tomorrow. Even if they lost to the Bears in the final week, the Bears would still be 5-1 in the division and the Packers would be 4-2.
The worst that could happen is if the Packers beat the Giants and the Bears, but still lose to the Bears in the divisional race if the Bears win tomorrow’s game. However, with the Bears in a fight for the No. 2 seed, they would still probably have something to play for in the final week, which would be good for the Giants.
The only way the Giants could make the playoffs if they lose their remaining games is if the Bears lost all of their games remaining, including one tomorrow night against the Vikings and their third string QB, and the Bucs lost one of their final two.
The NFC playoff picture didn’t get any more clear this weekend, but it should start to clear up after next week.