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NFC Playoff Projections Week 13

The NFL playoffs are approaching. Normally, I’d want an idea of who’s in and who’s out of the playoff picture. Except this year. I can’t letdown all four of my readers who depend on these projections, though, so here we go. NFC today. AFC whenever I find time to figure that mess out.

A few points to consider before viewing and undoubtedly hating my playoff projections:

First, the projections are based on each team’s health and performance RIGHT NOW. Obviously, some teams will go on winning streaks while some will unexpectedly lose three of four. Others may even lose a critical piece of their team to injury, perhaps a quarterback or defensive end. There’s just so much that can happen between now and the end of the season. Obviously, my projections are a complete guess and mostly for my own entertainment.

Second, the projections will be continually updated to accommodate for injuries, poor play, coaching changes, and whatever moronic thing Ndamukong Suh does next.

Third, the tiebreakers used to determine the final standings use the projected finishes of each team. Therefore, tiebreakers will change as frequently as the projections (unless of course I predict everything perfectly).

Finally, my method for choosing who wins and loses each week is neither logical nor methodical. Mostly, I pick according to my gut, and sometimes, I even pick games based on specific scenarios that may or may not happen. It’s not perfect. It’s not science. It’s totally subjective.

That’s all for now. And in case you’re wondering, I will absolutely add the Eagles to these projections next week if they win in Seattle. I don’t care if they’re multiple games out. I will continue to torture myself with hope until the mathematicians say I can stop. Onto the projections.

(Click for full size)

(Click for full size)

I know it’s crazy, but I’m not writing off the Giants just yet. The Packers were begging to lose throughout that 1st half on Thanksgiving. The Lions just weren’t good enough to capitalize. The Giants are home and beyond desperate. The Packers have a two game lead in the conference and a pretty soft schedule after Week 13, including three of their last four at home, so I doubt they’ll match New York’s urgency. Also, I gave the Packers a loss to Detroit in Week 17 because it’s a meaningless game to the Packers.

I wouldn’t be shocked if San Francisco slipped up against a division foe, but I wasn’t bold enough to pick which game. I do, however, have them losing on the final weekend to the Rams, but that’s simply because it won’t matter. As long as the 49ers don’t lose an NFC game before that final week, they’ll own the conference record tiebreaker over New Orleans. Thus, the 49ers likely sit their starters for most of that final game.

As good as Drew Brees and the Saints have been at home, they’ve lost to the Rams and Buccaneers on the road. The Titans will be in the midst of a Wildcard hunt AND pursuing the Texans in the AFC South as well. Take the Saints out of the dome and they lose that intimidation factor. Plus, that New Orleans defense isn’t very good, despite what Jon Gruden says. The Saints lose to the Panthers because it’s meaningless, as they would have already clinched the division over Atlanta with a superior division record.

Dallas wins the NFC East on conference record after division record and record in common games failed to decide a winner. I’m not sold on Dallas just yet. Even if the Giants lose against Green Bay, the Giants still control their own destiny in the NFC East. I wouldn’t look twice if the Giants were to knock off the Cowboys both times and steal the division on the head-to-head tiebreaker. I also have the Cowboys losing to the Eagles. (C’mon!? Can’t I have some joy?)

Tough break for the Falcons. A surprise loss in Week 14 to the Panthers ultimately costs them the NFC South. Farfetched? Maybe. But the Panthers are too scrappy not to steal at least one game from the division’s heavyweights. Besides, Atlanta already lucked out by getting to visit Houston in Week 13 without Matt Schaub or Matt Leinart. By the way, that 4th and 1 overtime flop will ultimately cost the Falcons a home playoff game.

I almost gave Chicago a win over the Broncos in Denver. Then I remembered no team with an average offense could possibly defeat Tim Tebow and that vicious Denver defense. It’s just impossible. Regardless, the Bears hang on without Cutler and snag the final Wildcard spot with a better conference record than the Giants.

As I mentioned before, write off the Giants at your own risk. If they lose to the Packers and then to Dallas, then fine. They’re finished. But not until then. Also, with how crappy the NFC East turned out, it’s even more embarrassing the Eagles couldn’t get to ten wins. (On the other hand, the Eagles might finish 5-1 in the division, so I guess it’s a moot point.)

Ok, so giving Detroit a loss to the hapless Chargers at home is a little harsh. It doesn’t matter, though. A win still wouldn’t give the Lions the tiebreaker over the Bears. At this point, the Lions need a small miracle to get into the playoffs. Winning in New Orleans on Sunday night would be a start.

And there you have it. You can take the next month to travel the world and ignore the NFL because I’ve already told you the playoff lineup. What? You don’t believe my projections?

(Yeah, good call.)

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