With Week 16 upon the football world, the NFL Playoff scenarios are starting to come into focus, but still remain unclear. The NFL playoff standings have some sure hits and some sure misses, but there are still a few teams—some with greater likelihood than others—fighting to make it to the postseason. Here are some of the NFL playoff scenarios.
Let’s start with what we know.
The NFC has only one team locked into a playoff spot. Seattle has all but sewn up the NFC West at 12-2 and can do so with a win in either of its final two games. This Sunday they face the Arizona Cardinals, a team just on the outside of the playoff pack that is sure to bring their A-game. Next week the Seahawks face the mediocre St. Louis Rams and can count on at least one more win. San Francisco is likely bound for the playoffs at 10-4. At 9-5, Arizona has their work cut out for them, taking on both teams in their quest for a wildcard berth in the 2014 NFL Playoffs.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears enjoy just a one-win margin on top of the NFC North and South, respectively. These two divisions are the murkiest in the NFL playoffs hunt and will pan out with the final game to figure out the division winners. After those scenarios are resolved, the Wildcard berths will solidify.
Philadelphia has to hold off the Dallas Cowboys and will take them on in Week 17. Prior to that, Dallas faces off against the hapless Washington Redskins while the Eagles match up against the Bears. Chicago faces a Philly team needing a win just as badly and then matches up against the Green Bay Packers seven days later, one of two teams knocking on the door of the NFC North. The Packers are finding a way to win without Aaron Rodgers, whereas the other threat, the Detroit Lions, is on a two game skid. The Lions have the easier road, however, facing the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. The North is the NFL division to watch in the next few weeks as these playoff scenarios unfold.
The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are neck and neck in the NFC South, with each team sitting at 10-4. The Saints get the edge with their win in the head-to-head game, something subject to change this Sunday when the two teams face off. Both the Panthers and Saints have what some might call a gimme seven days later in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, respectively, making this week’s head-to-head tilt that much more important.
What do you think of the NFL playoff scenarios? How likely are the scenarios in which Dallas, Detroit or Green Bay make the NFL playoffs?
Locked in: Seattle Seahawks
Likely: New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers
Subject to change: Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles
Still alive: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys