The NFC Playoff Race

With Week 12 in the book, it's time to see how the playoff race is shaping out.  Before we jump into quick predictions, lets take a look at the contenders: Falcons, Saints, Giants, Cowboys, Lions, Bears, Packers, and 49ers.  We'll take a look at each of the contenders remaining games and make a prediction as to how the remainder of the season plays out.  Each week this will be updated for accuracy.

Saints- Coming off a 3 game winning streak with an easy schedule ahead of them, it's difficult not to predict the Saints as legit contenders. 

Games Remaining: Detroit, @Tennessee, @Minnesota, Atlanta, Carolina

Prediction: They win the rest of their geames in the Regular Season.

Record: 13-3, 3 conference losses

Falcons- Currently the Falcons are sitting in 2nd place in the NFC South with a 7-4 record.  It seems like luck is finally starting to lean their way as they are coming off two straight wins and head to Houston to most likely match up against their 3rd string QB. 

Games Remaining: @Houston, @Carolina, Jacksonville, @New Orleans, Tampa Bay

Prediction: Their only remaining loss occurs @ New Orleans

Record: 11-5, 4 conference losses

Cowboys- Dallas is riding a four game winning streak and really seemed to have developed the consistency needed to reach the playoffs. 

Games Remaining: @Arizona, Giants, @Tampa Bay, Philly, @Giants

Prediction: Split series with the Giants and Tampa Bay gets an upset.

Record: 10-6, 4 conference losses

Giants- New York is ice cold at the moment and their schedule coming up isn't making things any easier.  This is a very talented team riding on little to no momentum right now.  

Games Remaining: Green Bay, @Dallas, Washington, @Jets, Dallas

Prediction: Split the series with Dallas and lose to Green Bay

Record: 9-7, 7 conference losses

Lions- Detroit seems to be cold right now, but they are still very much in the playoff race.  With Suh likely to be suspended for 2 games, the odds are against Detroit in upsetting New Orleans next week.

Games Remaining: @New Orleans, Minnesota, @Oakland, San Diego, @Green Bay

Prediction: One loss to the Saints, and they upset the Packers in Week 17.

Record: 11-5, 5 conference losses

Bears- An easy schedule lies ahead of them works in their favor, but it rides on the shoulders of backup QB Chad Hanie.

Games Remaining: Kansas City, @Denver, Seattle, @Green Bay, @Minnesota

Prediction: Losses to Denver, Green Bay, and Minnesota.  Minnesota gains some momentum by beating the Bears in the final week of the season and keeping them out of the playoffs.

Record: 9-7, 5 conference losses. 

Packers- Green Bay is on the right track to gain it's 14th World Championship.  Being 11-0 certainly qualifies as being on the right track.  Can they go 16-0?  Maybe, maybe not.  They have had some close games recently and if the Lions had a more disciplined team, they certainly appeared capable of beating the Packers.  Being 11-0 doesn't mean this team is unbeatable though, because they are certainly vulnerable and can be beat.  The big question lies on whether or not Rodgers can maintain consistency at a high level of play and if the defense can keep forcing turnovers.

Games Remaining: @Giants, Oakland, @Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit

Prediction: Simply because the thought of going 16-0 is too difficult, I'm marking one loss to the Packers.  It'll either happen against the Giants or Lions.  Whether you want to admit it or not, Detroit is more than capable of beating the Packers IF they can play disciplined.  Therefore, I see the Lions finally putting a 'L' in the loss column for the Packers. 

Record: 15-1, 1 conference loss

49ers- This is a very interesting team this year.  A lot of credit is being handed to their defense and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.  One thing that is for certain with this team: they are very lucky to be playing in the weakest division in the NFL.

Games Remaining: St. Louis, @Arizona, Pittsburgh, @Seattle, @St. Louis

Prediction: They appear to be in good shape at 9-2, but they are certainly a beatable team and I predict them to lose to the Steelers and have a huge upset from the Rams in Week 17.  The Week 17 loss will cost them a first round bye in the playoffs.

Record: 12-4, 2 conference losses


Current Playoff Seeding

1. Packers: 11-0

2. 49ers: 9-2

3. Saints: 8-3

4. Cowboys: 7-4

5. Bears: 7-4

6. Falcons: 7-4

In the hunt: Lions (7-4) , Giants (6-5)


Predicted Playoff Seeding

1. Packers: 15-1

2. Saints: 13-3

3. 49ers: 12-4

4. Cowboys: 10-6

5. Falcons: 11-5

6. Lions: 11-5

In the hunt: Bears (9-7), Giants (9-7)

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