Monday, December 8, 2008

UPDATED NFC playoff picture entering tonight's game

Sunday's results really couldn't have gone any better for the Panthers -- or Tampa Bay -- entering tonight's huge Monday Night Football game.

One of these teams will have four losses by about 11:30 p.m. Monday, but that team's chances to be the No.5 seed in the playoffs (rather than fall out of them entirely) got better Sunday due to practically every NFC wild-card contender losing. Dallas lost to Pittsburgh, Atlanta lost to New Orleans and Washington lost to Baltimore.

PLUS, the New York Giants got upset by Philly. That means that the WINNER tonight has a shot at the No.1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs (with Carolina likely needing to upset the Giants on the road Dec.21 to make that happen).

If you're really thinking positive, Carolina now CONTROLS its own destiny -- 4 straight wins, including tonight, and the Panthers would lock up the No.1 seed. That's not going to happen, but you're welcome to dream.

But all of those losses Sunday will give some cushion to tonight's loser, which will still be a game ahead in the wild-card race with three to go. Here are the current NFL standings. Check my charts out below to see how it will look Tuesday morning if the Panthers WIN and if they LOSE tonight:


1. NY Giants 11-2
2. CAROLINA 10-3 (and with a chance for homefield advantage if Panthers could beat the Giants Dec.21)
3. Minnesota 8-5
4. Arizona 8-5 (has clinched division and no worse than a No.4 spot; could move to No.3 with win over Vikings next Sunday)
5. TAMPA BAY 9-4
6. DALLAS (6-4 conference record slightly better than Atlanta's 5-4, so 8-5 Falcons would be out at the moment, along with all the 7-win teams)


1. NY Giants 11-2
2. Tampa Bay 10-3
3. Minnesota 8-5
4. Arizona 8-5
5. CAROLINA 9-4 (Panthers probably wouldn't have any home playoff games in this scenario -- too much ground to make up on Tampa Bay)
6. DALLAS 8-5

So, obviously, this game has gotten even a little more important due to the results of the past 24 hours.

1 comment:

John said...

Bear in mind, either Tampa or Atlanta will have ANOTHER loss next Sunday when these two team play each other... and the game is in Atlanta (the NFC South is 23-2 at home so far)