Lucky for me I had an hour drive after the New York Giants‘ embarrassing 34-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. As upset, annoyed, frustrated, embarrassed and angry I am at the Giants for the loss, they still control their own fate moving forward.
After a loss like this, where absolutely nothing worked and the entire team was dominated, it is hard to take them seriously. Are we supposed to believe in a team that can be dominated like this? I mean, this was the worst loss by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history. Well, while they may be inconsistent, they’ve shown they can beat anyone when they’re at their best. We just don’t know when that best is going to show its face.
A few weeks ago, the Wild Card seemed like an impossible fate for an NFC East team. Now, the Giants simply need to win out and they are guaranteed a playoff spot.
The Washington Redskins won today and took over the division lead, and assuming they win out like I believe they will (Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on the schedule), they would win the division with a better record in the division than both New York and Dallas.
No matter what, if the Cowboys and Redskins get to 10 wins, they’ll hold the tie breaker over the Giants. But given that they play each other in the final game of the year, only one of them will get to 10 wins even if they both win in Week 16 (and the Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers).
So let’s look at the more realistic fate for the Giants with the Wild Card. The Seattle Seahawks have the inside track for the top spot after hammering the Buffalo Bills. Even if they catch the San Francisco 49ers and win the division, the 49ers have the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 and should finish 10-5-1 at the very worst. The top Wild Card spot will come from the NFC West.
The first Wild Card tie breaker (in the event there is no head-to-head matchup) is conference record. The Giants are 7-4 in conference with one game left. The Chicago Bears are 5-5 in conference and the Minnesota Vikings are 6-5 in conference.
There it is. The Giants will without a doubt make the playoffs if they win out. Even if the Bears and Vikings win out, the Giants would hold the tie breaker with a better conference record.
Three weeks ago I would have never imagined it possible for any NFC East team earning a Wild Card spot. But as it was in 2011, the Giants now control their own fate. Can they respond the way they did last season? With the Baltimore Ravens imploding and the Eagleshaving a ton of injuries, winning out is not out of the question.