NFC Playoff Picture

Updated 11/29/2005.

Seed
Team
Record
Div.
Conf.
1
Seattle Seahawks
9-2
5-0
8-1
2
Chicago Bears
8-3
3-0
7-1
3
Carolina Panthers
8-3
1-1
5-2
4
Dallas Cowboys
7-4
3-1
6-2
5
New York Giants
7-4
2-1
6-3
6
Tampa Bay Buccanneers
7-4
1-1
5-3
Atlanta Falcons
7-4
1-1
4-3
Minnesota Vikings
6-5
3-1
5-4

TIEBREAKERS:

1.) Chicago wins the head-to-head matchup tiebreaker over Carolina.

2.) Dallas wins the head-to-head matchup tiebreaker against New York. (so far)

3.) New York wins the conference record tiebreaker over Tampa Bay.

4.) Tampa Bay wins the head-to-head matchup tiebreaker over Atlanta. (so far)

Jay Feely’s monster choke job in Seattle — which showed us all just how big an idiot Jeremy Shockey is — has helped cement the Seahawks’ position at the top of the NFC playoff race. At 9-2 with only one above-.500 team remaining on their schedule (the Colts), there’s little to knock this team off its perch now.

The Panthers, meanwhile, won a tough road game to push itself ahead of the NFC South pack for now. They still have a long way to go, though, and if they stay even with Chicago, they’re not going to get a first-round bye. In fact, if Carolina and Chicago win their divisions and finish with the same record — no guarantee, either, since the Panthers have yet to face Señor Mexico — then the Panthers might have to go through Chicago to advance to the NFC Championship.

I like the city of Chicago. Great place to hang out. Bad spot for the Panthers in January.

Meanwhile, the Redskins fell off the playoff picture after letting LaDainian Tomlinson run roughshod over them. The Vikings, believe it or don’t, are still alive in this thing, and the new love affair has just begun. Would this have happened if Daunte Culpepper hadn’t blown out his knee? I wonder…

THIS WEEK’S BIG GAMES:

1.) Atlanta at Carolina (Sun., 1:00 PM, FOX): After two years of close, classic matchups, how did this not become a Sunday night or Monday night game? Seriously. Atlanta’s season hinges on this one. Win it, and they retake control of the NFC South. Lose it, and they fall two games behind and face an ugly uphill battle. Carolina hasn’t beaten Mexico yet. Will this be the year?

2.) Dallas at New York Giants (Sun., 1:00 PM, FOX): I’m not predicting a shootout for this one, but I am predicting a rough-and-tumble game with plenty of extra-curricular action. I also predict that continued Google searches for “Eli Manning girlfriend” will eventually lead people to this very page.

3.) Tampa Bay at New Orleans (Sun., 1:00 PM, Baton Rouge, FOX): Another choking kicker may have cost the Bucs playoff position last week, but with Carolina and Atlanta duking it out, the Bucs can’t afford another letdown. Wins by Tampa Bay and Atlanta will put three NFC South teams at 8-4. You want to face any of ’em?

4.) Seattle at Philadelphia (Mon., 9:00 PM, ABC): Think the Eagles want to do to Shaun Alexander what they did to Tomlinson?

5.) Green Bay at Chicago (Sun., 1:00 PM, FOX): Brett Favre can’t seem to find his receivers anymore. Maybe it’s because they’re all on the sideline in street clothes and casts. Nathan Vasher will get at least one INT in this game. Bank on it.

6.) Minnesota at Detroit (Sun., 1:00 PM, FOX): Is it just me, or have the Vikings had a pretty easy schedule the last few weeks? Sure, the Giants were no gimme, but they’re a young team that’s prone to the occasional letdown — as opposed to the Lions, who are prone to decades-long letdowns. The entire blogosphere is questioning Matt Millen’s continued employment. Except this guy. Which is why I don’t write for MVN.

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