Now that we've reached the mid point of the year it's time to take the pulse of the NFC to see how the playoffs are shaping up. So far the NFC North has been shaping up nicely. The Lions are quite good, the Packers are awesome and the Bears are still being the Bears by hanging around and making things interesting. Huh? There's a fourth team in the division? Well, the Vikings are playing NFL level football again now that they have a guy interested in playing QB on the field, but even their most ardent fans have resigned themselves to the Vikings playing more of a spoiler role this year than an actual contender.
But this is a more global view of our conference. Right now arodgb has a great discussion going about our division, I recommend checking it out, but here let's focus on who is going to make it to the NFC....and who might have a shot to beat the Packers in the playoffs.
As with the last time I took on this endeavor there are three basic breakdowns of those that are probably going to go, those who still have a punchers chance and those that are basically done for the year. On a whim I also decided to name each of the categories after TV shows.
So join me after the jump to look at one fan's impression of how the teams are shaping up in the playoff race.
The Playoff Community
1. The Packers. The question isn't if they will make the playoffs, but what seed and who could beat them.
2. The 49ers. An interesting team right now. With their soft division could it be possible they steal homefield advantage throughout the playoffs?
3. The Saints. Terrible loss shows that the team can lose focus and it should hurt them more on getting the first round bye rather than their race for the NFC South.
4. The Lions. aarodgb asked a good question about this team being the rebirth of the early McD Broncos. I don't think so and expect them to make the playoffs, but it's something to keep an eye on.
5. The Giants. Some point in the near future I'm going to write a post about how much I hate the NFC East in general. That division is simply a mess right now and since they have big cities in the area they will get more attention than actual good teams. Giants have the lead in the division, but who knows what could happen.
6. The Bears. This is a team with some key tie breakers and enough experience winning games they should win that they are more than able to sneak in as a sixth seed and make noise.
Grimm Playoff Chances
1. The Falcons. I left them for dead after the Packers beat them, but two wins against the Panthers and the Lions have brought this team back to life. If they can make a push. Their biggest problem is going to be some of the games they dropped early in the season like against the Bears and Bucs which could be important tie breaking games.
2. The Eagles. It's trendy to like the Eagles again after they have found a way to not throw up on themselves and lose. Personally I'm not sold on the team until they have an actual winning record, but if they keep winning games they should be in the hunt.
3. The Buccaneers. Can someone tell me what to expect out of this team? Are they the team that can beat Atlanta or New Orleans? Or are they really the team that got dominated by San Francisco and Chicago?
4. Tie, the Cowboys and the Redskins. These two teams belong together here. They only make it to this part of the list because the NFC East is terrible and anyone can step up and take it in theory. Really both of these look bad more often than they look good and I don't think are going to be major contenders for that playoff spot.
The Vikings, Cardinals, Panthers, Rams, and the Seahawks. I can say the same thing about most of these teams. They aren't going to win their division, they aren't going to make a wild card push. They also probably have too many wins right now to really Suck for Luck (although once the dust settles some of these teams might try for a trade up to that number one spot). For the most part these franchises are either hoping for better days (the Vikings and the Panthers most notably with their shiny new QB's) or going through the motions wondering what is going to come next.
So which of these teams could be trouble for the Packers in the playoffs? Right now my main concern is with San Francisco. They have the ability to push the Packers with their defense and control the ball with their offense. More concerning though is the fact that their schedule is easier than ours and could possibly steal homefield advantage. Other than that it's going to be the usual suspects with the Lions being a tough match up with Calvin Johnson and their defense; as well as the Saints and their explosive offense.