Sunday, December 14, 2008

UPDATED NFC playoff picture

Here's how it looks in the NFC after ALL of Sunday's results, including the Panthers' big 30-10 win over Denver and Dallas' 20-8 victory over the suddenly slumping Giants. It's now for sure that Carolina and the Giants will play for the No.1 NFC playoff seed and homefield advantage Sunday, Dec.21 at 8:15 p.m. in Giants Stadium on NBC.

But if the season ended today, these would be your 1-6 seeds in the NFC. Seeds 1-4 would host at least one playoff game as division winners. Seeds 1 and 2 also would get a first-round bye and would play their first playoff games the weekend of Jan.10-11.

1. New York Giants (11-3)
2. CAROLINA (11-3)
3. Minnesota (9-5)
4. Arizona (8-6)
5. Dallas (9-5)
6. Tampa Bay (9-5)

OUT of the playoffs at the moment but still on the bubble: Atlanta (9-5), Philadelphia (7-5-1) and Chicago (8-6)

If the Panthers beat the Giants, they will be the No.1 NFC seed (which Carolina has never been before), can rest their key starters against New Orleans AND the road to the Super Bowl will go through Charlotte.

Carolina needs just one win to take the NFC South in its final two games, no matter what the Falcons and Bucs do. And even if the Panthers lose to the Giants, a win at New Orleans Dec.28 would clinch the Panthers the No.2 NFC playoff seed, a first-round playoff bye and a home playoff game.


Trinitarian Mouse Fan said...

Thanks for the update, Scott. What's the tiebreaker outlook between ATL, TB, and Dallas?

Michael said...

Dallas is currently ahead of TB on head-to-head (a 13-9 win in Dallas) and ATL on conference record (8-4 to 6-4), TMF. Then, TB is ahead of ATL, also on conference record (8-4 to 6-4.)

Ben said...

How could the Panther end up OUT of the playoffs?

They're still not assured of being in if they lose out and other teams win out. Right?

Matt said...

I would love to see the Panthers win next week and guarantee themselves the top seeded spot a week early, but one thing I would dislike seeing is a throwaway game against the Saints. I've never appreciated seeing teams rest their starters in the final regular season game, because it kills momentum, even more so when you have a bye week. The Panthers might be the hottest team in the league right now - my thought is that they ought to keep their foot on the gas and maintain full speed into the playoffs.

Nellie said...

If just one of Dallas, Atlanta, and Tampa loses next week, the Panthers will clinch at least a playoff berth before they play. If both Atlanta and Tampa lose, they clinch the division. Tampa is not likely to lose to San Diego, but Dallas could lose to an ANGRY Baltimore team and Minnesota seems to be playing well while Atlanta had a sloppy, hard-fought win against Tampa. But even if Dallas, Atlanta, and Tampa all win, the Panthers can clinch everything--playoffs, division, bye, AND home-field by beating the Giants.

Michael said...

Ben...if we lose out while DAL, TB, and ATL win out, we would miss the playoffs. TB would win the South while Dallas and ATL would get wild cards ahead of us on conference records (all of our 5 losses would be in-conference, which is one of the first tiebreakers after head to head.)

Chadman said...

This all leaves me with a very queasy...uneasy....we are playing so well... type feeling. Never, ever want the season to come down to a team that can heal a big wound missing the playoffs (Saints),by crushing a division rivals hopes and keeping them out of the playoffs. Let's settle this with a win Sunday.