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Breaking Down the 2012 NFC Playoff Picture

With five games left to play, the playoff race is getting down to the final stretch. The NFC is full of potentially dangerous teams on the brink of the playoff picture such as the Saints, Buccaneers, and Redskins.

Teams in bold would be in the playoffs if they began today.

  1. Atlanta Falcons 10-1
  2. San Francisco 49ers 8-2-1
  3. Chicago Bears 8-3
  4. New York Giants 7-4
  5. Green Bay Packers 7-4
  6. Seattle Seahawks 6-5
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-5
  8. Minnesota Vikings 6-5
  9. Washington Redskins 5-6
  10. Dallas Cowboys 5-6
  11. New Orleans Saints 5-6

The Falcons and 49ers are cruising towards winning their division, but the 49ers are far from having home field locked up. With the Bears on their heels the 49ers will certainly not overlook the importance of Sunday’s matchup with the Rams. The Bears have the Packers right on their hells for the division lead, and even though there is a strong possibility that both teams make the playoffs there is still much to be gained. Chicago takes on Seattle at home this week in a game that has the potential to shake up the playoff picture.

Speaking of Seattle, they are currently holding onto the last playoff spot by a thread. A loss to Chicago and victories by either Tampa or Minnesota could knock them out of the immediate picture.  Seattle won some gritty games early in the season over New England and Green Bay (ahem.) which can certainly pay off come playoff time. The Seahawks remaining schedule is Chicago, Arizona, Buffalo, San Francisco, St. Louis, which is certainly not an unreasonable task.

The Vikings are still in the playoff mix but may have the lowest chances out of any team on the board. Down the stretch Minnesota plays Green Bay twice, Chicago once more, the Houston Texans, and St. Louis Rams. It would not surprise me if Minnesota lost all but the Rams game. The Vikings defense isn’t scaring anyone and despite lining up Adrian Peterson in the backfield, their offense hasn’t been consistent of late.  

The resurgent Saints have been a hot topic of conversation over the last few weeks but expectations need to be tempered. Like the Vikings, New Orleans’ schedule may just be too difficult to overcome. Division rival Tampa Bay does not have an easy going either, but with their one game lead and the recent emergence of Doug Martin this might be the team to overtake Seattle for the last wild card spot.


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