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NFC Playoff Picture as of Week 12

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From SB Nation....

NFC Playoff Picture

No. 1: Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Remaining opponents: Seahawks, Bears, Rams, Lions, Colts, Cowboys
Projected finish: 14-3

Despite the embarrassing loss to Carolina in Week 10, the Cardinals have a really beneficial schedule down the stretch that sees only the Rams and Cowboys as legitimate tests. I think they cruise to a 14-3 record and the No. 1 seed.

No. 2: Green Bay Packers (8-3)

Remaining opponents: Vikings, Rams, Bears, Ravens, Browns, Lions
Projected finish: 13-4

I’m willing to write off the loss to the Vikings as a blip on the radar, but there is definitely some holes in the armor and a really physical stretch to close the season. They’ll make the playoffs, but this might not be as obvious as it once looked.

No. 3: Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

Remaining opponents: Raiders, Saints, Washington (twice), Giants, Cardinals, Eagles
Projected finish: 13-4

I got dragged for thinking the Cowboys had a slate where they could go unbeaten, then they got embarrassed by the Chiefs. Lesson learned. It’s still a really easy close to the season, but those two bird games to close the year could be problems.

No. 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

Remaining opponents: Colts, Falcons, Bills, Saints, Panthers (twice), Jets
Projected finish: 12-5

The Bucs are in disarray right now, making this a real toss-up, but I think this team can pull it together. I do have a couple of losses baked in here, just because I don’t see them winning out. This is not quite as dominant as the team a year ago.

No. 5: Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

Remaining opponents: Packers, Jaguars, Seahawks, Cardinals, Vikings, Ravens, 49ers
Projected finish: 12-5

The Rams’ debacle on Monday Night Football in Week 10 showed a vulnerability this team had that a lot of people didn’t expect. I don’t know if they have enough gas to make it to the end — but Los Angeles has a good enough record to coast in.

No. 6: Minnesota Vikings (6-4)

Remaining opponents: 49ers, Lions, Steelers, Bears (twice), Rams, Packers
Projected finish: 11-6

The Vikings have decided to call competent games, making this a real chance they could win a lot more down the stretch. This is a really easy back end to the season, now we just see if they can take advantage.

No. 7: New Orleans Saints (5-5)

Remaining opponents: Bills, Cowboys, Jets, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Panthers, Falcons
Projected finish: 8-9

The Saints have been incredibly inconsistent and have a rough final stretch. I think they drop four more games and bump themselves out of the playoffs.

Who can make it in from the bubble?

In the NFC there are reasonably three teams that can make a run:

  • 49ers (5-5)
  • Eagles (5-6)
  • Panthers (5-6)

Of these three I’m projecting one team to make a jump and replace the Saints, and for my money that’s the Eagles. Philadelphia has become sneaky good, and their back end to the season features two games against the Giants, one against the Jets and two vs. Washington. All completely winnable. I can see them finishing 9-8 or 10-7 and getting in.

NFC Playoff Picture

No. 1: Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Remaining opponents: Seahawks, Bears, Rams, Lions, Colts, Cowboys
Projected finish: 14-3

Despite the embarrassing loss to Carolina in Week 10, the Cardinals have a really beneficial schedule down the stretch that sees only the Rams and Cowboys as legitimate tests. I think they cruise to a 14-3 record and the No. 1 seed.

No. 2: Green Bay Packers (8-3)

Remaining opponents: Vikings, Rams, Bears, Ravens, Browns, Lions
Projected finish: 13-4

I’m willing to write off the loss to the Vikings as a blip on the radar, but there is definitely some holes in the armor and a really physical stretch to close the season. They’ll make the playoffs, but this might not be as obvious as it once looked.

No. 3: Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

Remaining opponents: Raiders, Saints, Washington (twice), Giants, Cardinals, Eagles
Projected finish: 13-4

I got dragged for thinking the Cowboys had a slate where they could go unbeaten, then they got embarrassed by the Chiefs. Lesson learned. It’s still a really easy close to the season, but those two bird games to close the year could be problems.

No. 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

Remaining opponents: Colts, Falcons, Bills, Saints, Panthers (twice), Jets
Projected finish: 12-5

The Bucs are in disarray right now, making this a real toss-up, but I think this team can pull it together. I do have a couple of losses baked in here, just because I don’t see them winning out. This is not quite as dominant as the team a year ago.

No. 5: Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

Remaining opponents: Packers, Jaguars, Seahawks, Cardinals, Vikings, Ravens, 49ers
Projected finish: 12-5

The Rams’ debacle on Monday Night Football in Week 10 showed a vulnerability this team had that a lot of people didn’t expect. I don’t know if they have enough gas to make it to the end — but Los Angeles has a good enough record to coast in.

No. 6: Minnesota Vikings (6-4)

Remaining opponents: 49ers, Lions, Steelers, Bears (twice), Rams, Packers
Projected finish: 11-6

The Vikings have decided to call competent games, making this a real chance they could win a lot more down the stretch. This is a really easy back end to the season, now we just see if they can take advantage.

No. 7: New Orleans Saints (5-5)

Remaining opponents: Bills, Cowboys, Jets, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Panthers, Falcons
Projected finish: 8-9

The Saints have been incredibly inconsistent and have a rough final stretch. I think they drop four more games and bump themselves out of the playoffs.

Who can make it in from the bubble?

In the NFC there are reasonably three teams that can make a run:

  • 49ers (5-5)
  • Eagles (5-6)
  • Panthers (5-6)

Of these three I’m projecting one team to make a jump and replace the Saints, and for my money that’s the Eagles. Philadelphia has become sneaky good, and their back end to the season features two games against the Giants, one against the Jets and two vs. Washington. All completely winnable. I can see them finishing 9-8 or 10-7 and getting in.

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