With just a few weeks left in the regular season, the NFC playoff race is getting crazy. As of right now, four teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs with more fighting for it. The NFC South is still “up for grabs” but the thing to look out for is the last two wildcards spots.
Playoffs for the Giants
The New York Giants came out hot and looked like a lock for the playoffs halfway through the year. However, after their 6-1 start, they have gone 2-4-1. Their defense and run game were the main attractions in New York, however, there have been some injuries. Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney have been injured for a good amount of games now, which hurt their secondary a lot. The defense has not been as good since their absence and it has been a big part of their slump. Rookie tackle Evan Neal, while he has not played great, has also been hurt. Missing an upcoming start tackle definitely will slow the run game and Saquon has faced the consequences.
The Giants can clinch the playoffs this week with a win and a loss by two of the three 7-7 teams. Those teams are the Lions, Seahawks, and Commanders. I think that the Giants will be one of the seven teams to make the playoffs. With those guys coming back from injury soon, I think the Giants can close out the season and make the playoffs in the NFC.
Playoffs for the Commanders
The Washington Commanders are a very weird team. Taylor Heinicke, a much less talented quarterback than Carson Wentz, has led the team to a lot of wins to turn around their season. The Commanders have one of the best defensive lines in football and that has made their defense look great. Nothing about this team stands out though. They have a serviceable run game, a decent passing game, and a good defense. There really is no reason why Heinicke has won them games unless you ask the locker room. The team gets behind Taylor like no other quarterback and they want to play for him.
Currently, he has led them to the seven seed at 7-6-1 after Wentz started 2-4. However, even with this 5-2-1 run, I do not think they will be able to make the playoffs. There are more talented teams with easier schedules in the final three games so I cannot see a path for Washington to make it in.
Playoffs for the Seahawks
Seattle is a great story. Backup veteran quarterback Geno Smith comes in and has a near MVP season leading the Seahawks to way more wins than expected after trading Russell Wilson. The passing game has been elite as Smith is the most efficient quarterback in the league. He currently is second in QB rating and first in completion percentage. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker II has been a great surprise for the team after Rashaad Penny suffered a season-ending injury. The offense is very fun to watch with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett going off nearly every game. The defense is atrocious outside of a couple of guys.
Seattle ranks twenty-ninth in yards allowed and points allowed, they can not stop a snail from scoring. Their schedule the rest of the way is not easy, as they have to face some very tough teams. The Chiefs and Jets are no easy task so it is a bumpy road ahead. They have to pray that any of the teams around them lose a couple of games so that they can squeak into the postseason. Geno Smith deserves it with how well he has been playing, but I do not know how realistic it is.
Playoffs for the Lions
Wow. Who would have thought this would be a topic? The Lions being a potential playoff team, crazy. After starting out 1-6, they flipped that record and have gone 6-1 in their last 7. Dan Campbell is the guy for Detroit, I don’t know if I have seen a coach lift the spirits of his players like this. Detroit is not a winning franchise, just ask TJ Hockenson who left because they were losing. Nothing about the Lions speaks out to you, except for Amon-Ra St. Brown and Dan Campbell. However, those two amongst a ton of role players have done the impossible and have the Lions at 7-7 with three games left.
Statistically, they have one of the worst defenses I have ever seen, at the bottom of the ranking in almost every category, but it does not matter. The offense led by quarterback Jared Goff is a top-ten unit. The Lions have a very easy schedule ahead, playing Carolina, Chicago, and Greenbay. There is a chance they could end up 10-7 at the end of the season. If Detroit can win at least two of those games, there is a chance that they can be a playoff team for the first time in forever.
Playoff Chances for the NFC South
Someone has to win the NFC South and all four teams have a chance currently. The Buccaneers are the favorite playoff contender for the division, but each team has a decent chance. For any of the teams to be a playoff team, they most likely will have to finish with eight wins. The Bucs are 6-8 while the Falcons, Panthers, and Saints are 5-9. To be honest, there is no chance Tom Brady does not make the playoffs so this conversation is basically over. The other three teams are god awful, they are just lucky the Buccaneers are having a down season so they can all have a chance. The Buccaneers have a very easy schedule, Arizona, Carolina, and Atlanta. All three of those teams have different quarterbacks than they did in week 1, so it is pretty safe to say Brady is gonna be in the playoffs.
The NFC playoff race is absolutely wild and I am all here for it. I think the Buccaneers will win the NFC South, and the Giants and Lions will be the sixth and seventh seeds. Seattle still has a great chance of making it, just a tough road ahead, but the Commanders don’t really have a shot in my eyes. The NFC playoffs will be very fun to watch come January and there most likely will be a lot of upsets, especially whoever plays the Minnesota Vikings in the Wildcard round.
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