Ten NFC teams are either in or within one game of a playoff spot heading into Week 13. Shockingly, that includes the 3-7-1 Carolina Panthers, who are one game out of the division lead in the decrepit NFC South. Here's an overview of the current NFC playoff standings:
|Packers (2)||8||3||North Champion||head-to-head record vs Eagles|
|Eagles (3)||8||3||East Champion||division win percentage over Cowboys|
|Atlanta (4)||4||7||debris floating atop the NFC South||head-to-head record vs Saints|
||8||3||Wild Card #1|
|Seahawks (6)||7||4||Wild Card #2||better win percentage in common games over
Lions; division win percentage over 49ers
|Detroit||7||4||conference win percentage over 49ers
It's by no means certain that the Cowboys will win the Thanksgiving game against the Eagles. But if the Eagles were to lose and you could have one additional guaranteed NFC loss from the remaining Week 13 games, which one would you take?
In the first game of the Thanksgiving triple-header, the Bears travel to Detroit in a game that could impact the Cowboys. The Bears ar two games out of a wildcard spot, and with just five games remaining, Football Outsiders put their chances of making the playoffs at 2.4%, low enough for us to dismiss them outright. The Lions on the other hand could be a contender for one of the NFC wildcard spots. Or do we root for the Lions in the hope that they some way, some how beat out the Packers for the NFC North?
In the late game on Thanksgiving, Seattle travels to San Francisco. The Cowboys hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, but the 49ers have a head-to-head advantage over the Cowboys. Do you want the Seahawks to lose and have them desperate for a win next week in Philadelphia? Or do you want the 49ers to lose to make sure their tiebreaker over the Cowboys doesn't matter - and because a 49ers loss is always a good thing, regardless of circumstances and tiebreakers?
In early-Sunday action, the Giants and Redskins play a pair of games that are as meaningless as the two teams are to the playoff picture in the NFC. Three NFC South teams (Saints, Panthers, Buccaneers) also play in games that are of no interest whatsoever to the Cowboys.
In one of the late afternoon games, the Falcons host the Cardinals in a game that could have ramifications for the Cowboys. The Cardinals also hold a head-to-head advantage over the Cowboys, which could play an important role in the playoff seeding if both teams were to win their divisions. It would probably be a good thing if the Cardinals wouldn't win their division, which would make a Cardinals loss, coupled with a Seahawks win over the 49ers, a very interesting scenario for the Cowboys.
And finally, there's the second late afternoon game featuring New England at Green Bay. The Packers are a direct competitor for playoff seeding and home field advantage, and since there's nobody in their right mind wants to play a playoff game in Green Bay, rooting for Tom Brady looks like the lesser of two evils in this game.
Tell us in the poll and in the comments below which team you'd most like to see lose this week.