The 2012-13 XML 8 Playoff Picture: NFC Edition


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    The 2012-13 XML 8 Playoff Picture: NFC Edition

    Post by lilgame on December 19th 2011, 9:47 pm

    XML 8 Playoff Picture: NFC Edition

    It's that time of year again! Playoff time! We're a little late, we know, but hey, its never too late for the playoffs. Just like last year, three of the four NFC divisions are going to come down to the final weeks before we know who will be in the playoffs or not. Lets dig into the this NFC edition of the playoff picture. If you want to see the AFC edition, click the link at the bottom of the post.

    WEEK 16

    x - Clinched playoff
    y - Clinched Wild Card
    z - Clinched Division
    * - Clinched Division and Homefield Advantage

    NFC Division Leaders (W-L-T, Conference Record, Division Record)
    1.) (x) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-2, 8-2, 4-1)
    2.) Washington Redskins (9-5, 8-2, 4-1)
    3.) (z) Green Bay Packers (8-6, 7-3, 6-0)
    4.) Arizona Cardinals (8-6, 6-4, 3-3)

    NFC Wild Card Leaders
    5.) Atlanta Falcons (10-4, 8-2, 4-1)
    6.) Carolina Panthers (9-5, 7-3, 2-3)

    NFC Teams "In The Hunt"
    7.) Dallas Cowboys (9-5, 7-3, 3-1)
    8.) Seattle Seahawks (8-6, 6-6, 3-3)
    9.) St. Louis Rams (7-7, 5-5, 2-3)

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a run into the playoffs last season, ultimately falling to the Packers in the Divisional round. Now, they are sitting pretty on top of the NFC, looking to finish up the season with a number 1 seed and a first round bye. While being known for being a horrendous passing team (ranked 30th in the league), they are the leagues top rushing offense, ranked 5th in offensive points, ranked first in rush defense, and 2nd in points allowed. As most of the football experts would say, to win in January, you have to run the ball and play defense, and the Buccaneers are the poster boy team for just that this season. But all is not well yet. They host a hungry Rams team this week, and if they lose and the Falcons win in Week 16, it will set up a one game playoff for the NFC South Division in Atlanta in Week 17. The Bucs already lost to the Falcons earlier this season. With a win over the Rams though, they will indeed lock the division and could look to resting starters in Week 17.

    Surprise team number 1 in the NFC? The Washington Redskins! This team went through last year decimated by a owner that made terrible transactions via trades and free agent pick ups, and left the fan base in flux. But under new ownership, they have turned things around and righted the ship. Roy Helu and rookie safety DeAires Justice have been great finds for them, respectively leading the offense and defense. Unfortunately for this cinderella story, they have the Cowboys attached to their hip. While they did beat them two weeks ago, they have a week 17 matchup in Washington that could decide the NFC East. But before that, they need to take care of business against the Cardinals.

    Last years NFC Champion Green Bay Packers havent been so champion like this season, managing to only pull together for an 8-6 record. Six of their eight wins have come from their rather weak division. But even so, they rank in the top 10 in all defensive categories, and are a top 10 rushing team, two things that will come in handy when hosting a playoff game at Lambeau Field in January. First though, they have to take on the Falcons and Saints in order to make some moves around in the seeding.

    The NFC West is in for another wild finish. But the team sitting at the top for now is the Arizona Cardinals. Coming off of a division title in 2011, the Cardinals are looking to prove they can do it again and make some noise in the playoffs this time around. They rank in the top 10 in most of the major offensive categories, making them a formidable scoring opponent. But they have the surging Seahawks and Rams closely behind them, waiting for a stumble. If they can manage to win out over the Redskins and Panthers, they'll be fine and primed to lock the division. But both of those opponents are fighting for their playoff lives, making this the hardest remaining schedule for any team remaining in the playoff race.

    The Atlanta Falcons have had a great bounce back season. If the Bucs falter in week 16, and the Falcons win in Week 16, their Week 17 matchup in the Georgia dome could very well be the biggest game of the century, with not only the division on the line, but the shot at the number 1 seed. This team defensively can stack up with the best of them, ranking in the top 3 in points allowed, yards allowed, and pass defense.

    The Carolina Panthers were last years NFC South champions. But this year, they suffered a couple of rough performances by 2nd year QB Cam Newton that has them lagging behind but holding up a wild card spot. They finish their season against the Saints and Cardinals and need to win both of them badly to hang on to their wild card spot, otherwise the Cowboys and teams of the NFC West will be more than happy to jump in front of them.

    Speaking of the Cowboys, they are once again a playoff caliber team, but their loss to the Redskins a couple weeks ago hurt them in the standings. But with a week 17 rematch against them, they could be back into the thick of things with a couple of wins to end this regular season. Otherwise, they'll be hoping the Panthers slip up and give up their wild card spot.

    The Seattle Seahawks are yet another one of big time surprises this season. For now, they sit on the outside looking in, but with matchups remaining against the lowly Bengals, and the Ravens who will possibly be resting starters, they have a shot at either sneaking in as a wild card team, or snatching the NFC West away from the Cardinals.

    The Rams have an outside shot at making a run toward the division, but that would require both the Cardinals and Seahawks to falter, and to win out over the Bucs and 49ers.

    The 49ers, Giants, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Vikings, and Saints have all been eliminated from playoff contention in 2012.

    For the AFC Playoff Picture, click here =>>>

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