As we enter week 12 in the NFL this weekend, it’s time to start thinking about the postseason. By this point in the season, we have a good idea of which teams we will see compete for a Super Bowl, but there’s still time for others to make a move and a push towards getting into the playoffs. Here is how things are shaping up in the NFC and a quick glimpse and this weekend’s contests involving teams in the NFC who are in the hunt for those coveted playoff spots.
NFC East-N.Y. Giants 6-4, Washington 5-6, Dallas 5-6, Philadelphia 3-7
NFC West- San Francisco 7-2-1, Seattle 6-4, Arizona 4-6, St. Louis 3-6-1
NFC North-Green Bay 7-3, Chicago 7-3, Minnesota 6-4, Detroit 4-7
NFC South- Atlanta 9-1, Tampa Bay 6-4, New Orleans 5-5, Carolina 2-8
The East is certainly the most shaky division. The Giants have an opportunity to extend their lead to two games this weekend, but it won’t come easy, as they have to take on the Packers, who are playing like they did when they won the Super Bowl a couple of years back. The Pack will be going for their sixth straight win, however they are going up against s team that is only one removed from the Super Bowl and a team that should be able to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers. I like the Giants at home in this one to cover -3 and improve to 7-4.
We already determined the Packers’ win-streak will be snapped, so who will be able to take advantage in the battle between Chicago and Minnesota? The Bears have proven themselves to be incapable of defeating strong opponents, with only one of their seven wins coming against a team over .500. There is also uncertainty at the quarterback position for the Bears, as Jay Cutler suffered a concussion two weeks ago. Look for Minnesota to hand Chicago it’s third straight loss and easily cover +7 on the road. This will create a rare three-way tie atop the division, but consider Green Bay still the favorite.
Atlanta has had a stranglehold on the South all year long, but Tampa Bay and New Orleans still have wild card spots to play for and each are very hot. Tampa’s won four straight and you would think they would have a tough time making it five against the Falcons, but they match up quite well, with a strong running game against the 26th ranked run defense, not to mention Tampa has the best run defense in the league itself. Take Tampa Bay at home to cover +1.
New Orleans will have a tough go against the 49ers, as they have the worst ranked run defense, going up against the top ranked NFL run game of San Fran. New Orleans won’t be able to keep rolling here and will fall to 5-6, which should be too much to overcome to make the postseason.
The 49ers should have no problem with the Saints and their NFL worst run defense and second worse pass defense, so take them to cover -1 on the road. Seattle will face another roadblock in its quest to earn a wild card spot in Miami, but should be able to run over it with Marshawn Lynch and one of the league’s best ground games. Take Seattle to cover -3 and keep pace with Tampa and Minnesota in the wild card.
There’s still a long way to go, but here are my playoff picks in the NFC as of week 12:
East Champ-New York
North Champ-Green Bay
West Champ-San Francisco
Wildcards-Tampa Bay, Seattle