Every week for the past few weeks I have done a playoff scenario fanpost. With only 2 games left, the scenarios have greatly shrunk. The wild card scenario is what interests me, as the division scenario is pretty easy. The Cowboys win out and they win the division. Or they lose to the Saints, but beat the Redskins and the Giants lose at least one game. The Giants...I've found, during my research, that they hold a very important key to the playoff chances for the Cowboys. Let's take a look at the whole picture for the wild card:
#1: Seattle 9-5
#2: Minnesota 8-6
#3: Chicago 8-6
#4: Dallas 8-6
#5: New York 8-6
Here's how the Giants hold the key to our wild card hopes. If the Cowboys lose to the Saints but beat the Redskins, they finish 9-7. If the Giants win out, they finish 10-6 and win the division. Believe it or not, this helps our wild card chances. Because of the common game tiebreaker, the Cowboys eliminate the Redskins from wild card consideration. That leaves the Bears and the Vikings for the 2nd wild card spot (Seattle is all but certain to grab the 1st).
The Bears simply need to lose 1 game and finish 9-7. They play the Cardinals and Lions. Hopefully one of those teams shows up and plays hard. The Vikings are the next key here. They must beat the Texans this week (unlikely, but there's a chance) and lose to the Packers in the last week (Packers could be resting players). The Vikings finish 9-7, but more importantly they are now tied with the Cowboys for conference record. The Cowboys beat them based on the common game tiebreaker. They grab that last spot. All because we beat the Redskins and it's the Giants who win the division.
But the Giants must win out and win the division. The other wild card scenario is not good. Say the Cowboys beat the Saints but lose to the Redskins. They have the same record at 9-7 but the Redskins win the division. In this scenario, Minnesota either holds a conference tiebreaker on us or a strength of victory tiebreaker, assuming they finish 9-7 and depending on what game they lose. The common game tiebreaker is now tied because we didn't beat the Redskins, who beat the Vikings earlier in the year. The Bears hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on us if it's the Bears at 9-7. Both the Bears and Vikings must lose out and the Giants must lose one game for us to get in as a wild card, as we hold the division tiebreaker over them. Once again, the Giants are key here.
Well, sadly, that's pretty much all the wild card scenario possibilities for us. I crunched it every other way and that's all I found. The first scenario is much more doable than the second, so, as odd as this may sound, we should hope the Giants win out. Or we just go ahead and win the division and not worry about this!