Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Giants: Playoff Forecasts

The Giants did their part this past Sunday by beating the pathetic Redskins, but their main opponents in the NFC playoff race all won, so there was no relative movement of the teams. Technically, because this was a conference win for the Giants, they have the lead in the wild card race, but things change week to week, so it is too early to predict anything tangible. The only team that lost was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they are a game behind the pack at 7-5. Bucs also had a serious blow when they lost their starting CB to injury today.

It looks like the Falcons will win their division and have the best shot at the number 1 seed because of their remaining schedule. They have three nearly sure wins, with two games against the Panthers and one against the Seahawks. The fourth game on their schedule is the Saints. The Saints have a tougher schedule with a game against the underrated Rams, against the Ravens on the road and against the Buccaneers. If the Saints lose one other game, their game against the Falcons won't matter. If the Saints should run the table, I think the Falcons still get tiebreakers over the Saints. So, all in all we can certainly assume that the Falcons will win the NFC South. It looks like the Saints, currently with 9 wins should get one wild card. In the West, the Rams or Seahawks will win the division but there will be no wild card coming from the west.

That means that the Bears and Packers will fight it out for the NFC North; the Giants and Eagles will vie for the NFC East and the loser of those division races will compete with each other for the second wild card. Even though the Bears have a 1 game lead in the NFC-N, they are not a lock to win it over the Packers. Bears have a tough schedule with games against the Patriots, Vikings and Jets, while the Packers play the Lions, Patriots and Giants. The Bears and Packers close against each other. I can certainly see the Bears losing 2 out of the next 3 while the Packers win 2 out of 3. If that happens, the last game of the season between the Packers and Bears in Chicago would be for the NFC-N division title. The loser of that game would then have 10 wins and might not make it in to the playoffs at all.

The easiest path for the Giants to the playoffs is for them to win 3 out of 4 including their 2 division games against the Redskins and Eagles. If that happens, it looks like the Giants would win the division on the third tie breaker, which is conference record. If they were to lose to the Eagles but beat the Packers, they would lose the division to the Eagles but would win the wild card tie breaker against the Packers.

The big question is: what has to happen for the Giants to make the playoffs with only 10 wins? There are too many possibilities to consider, but the Giants have to beat the Eagles for one of their two wins and hope that the Eagles split their two games with the Cowboys. Packers have the Patriots on the road, so there certainly could be a loss for them and a chance for the Giants to pass them in the playoff standings .

Too many permutations and possibilities to really consider what could happen, but f the Giants win 11 they are  in. If they get only 10 wins they will need some help from the Patriots, Jets and even the Cowboys.

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