Breaking Down the Potential Playoff Scenarios in the NFC
Potential Playoff Scenarios in the NFC
There is no question that the NFC is the best conference in the NFL. It is by far the most competitive and contains the most complete teams in the league. Unlike the AFC, the NFC is not a parody league. As Week 17 marks the end of the regular season, a significant amount can change in the NFC playoff picture. No teams can sleep-walk through their match-up.
Unlike the AFC, there are not many teams fighting for the playoff seed, rather the No. 1 through the No. 6 seeds are all exchangeable. The Seattle Seahawks, who have been dubbed the best team in the NFL, could potentially lose the No. 1 seed. If both the No. 2 Carolina Panthers and the No. 5 San Francisco 49ers win, and Seattle loses to the St. Louis Rams, then Carolina would earn the No. 1 seed, the 49ers would become No. 2, and Seattle would drop to No. 5. It may be far-fetched, but the Rams always give Seattle a run for their money, so anything can happen.
The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds are currently unknowns. Again, the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds are interchangeable. The NFC is not exactly wide open, but there are no guarantees and it could end being a lot different. As of now, the No. 6 seed belongs to the New Orleans Saints, the No. 5 seed belongs to the 49ers, the No. 4 seed belongs to the Chicago Bears and the No. 3 seed is held by the Philadelphia Eagles. There are three teams fighting to take over some of those spots. The Green Bay Packers are fighting for the Bears’ position, the Dallas Cowboys plan to knock out the Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals hope to get lucky and earn the last playoff spot. Here’s how those teams could end up competing in the playoffs.
5. New Orleans Saints
The Saints could essentially earn a first-round bye, or miss the playoffs entirely this week. With a win and a Carolina loss, New Orleans would sneak away with a bye. But, if the Cardinals win, and the Saints lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Drew Brees will not be playing in the playoffs this year. Luckily, they are playing the Buccaneers, and they should be able to take care of business.
Prediction: Saints beat Buccaneers 34-23
4. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals absolutely deserve to be in the playoffs this year. How they are winning games, I have no idea. Unfortunately, they'll need a great amount of luck in order to reach the sixth seed in the NFC. Not only does Arizona need to beat the powerful 49ers, but they need Drew Brees to choke versus Tamba Bay. I think the Cards can come away with the win, but the Saints aren't losing. Instead, theyll help the Saints earn the No. 5, and bump the 49ers down to the No. 6 seed.
Prediction: Cardinals beat 49ers 20-17
3. Green Bay Packers/Chicago Bears
Whoever wins, clinches the NFC North and earns the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. If the Cowboys beat the Eagles, then the Bears would get the No. 3 seed. If Aaron Rodgers doesn't play, it's going to be a tough battle for Green Bay. It'll most likely be a high-scoring affair. However, after the Bears' loss last week, I don't think they have what it takes this year. The Packers will ride Eddie Lacy's back to victory. The Bears have the worst run defense in the league. Hopefully Rodgers will be ready for the playoffs and the Packers can make some noise.
Prediction: Packers beat Bears 31-30
2. Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys
Another win or go home situation for both teams. Whoever wins, clinches the NFC East and is headed to the playoffs. The loss of Tony Romo is detrimental for the Dallas Cowboys. They will have to rely on Kyle Orton to deliver and earn Dallas a playoff seed. On the other hand, the Eagles have a more complete offense and Nick Foles has been on a role. The Cowboys won't be able to stop the Eagles, and will not be able to score enough points to keep up. The Eagles will be the NFC East champions.
Prediction: Eagles beat Cowboys 34-24
1. NFC Playoff Predictions
Seattle will hold on to beat the Rams, and Carolina will also take care of the Atlanta Falcons to maintain the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NFC playoffs.
No. 1-Seattle Seahawks
No. 2-Carolina Panthers
No. 3-Philadelphia Eagles
No. 4-Green Bay Packers
No. 5-New Orleans Saints
No. 6-San Francisco 49ers
49ers beat Eagles. Saints beat Packers. Seahawks beat 49ers. Saints beat Panthers. Seahawks beat Saints to clinch the NFC.