Projecting Odds for Every Playoff Seed for New York Giants
Through 10 games, the New York Giants have posted a 6-4 record, which is good enough for a two-game lead in the NFC East. If the regular season were to end today, the Giants would earn a No. 4 seed and home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
A rough road lies ahead for New York, though. After the Giants’ Week 11 bye, they will have to take on the Green Bay Packers (home), Washington Redskins (away), New Orleans Saints (home), Atlanta Falcons (away), Baltimore Ravens (away) and Philadelphia Eagles (home).
The currently slumping Giants will need to find the anecdote to their offensive and defensive inefficiencies during the bye week. Last season, the Giants went almost an entire calendar month without winning a game but eventually bounced back and won the Super Bowl. The season before, New York’s midseason slump turned into a total collapse, and the team missed the playoffs.
Will the 2012 Giants be remembered as a resilient cast of winners, or a grossly underperforming group of superstars?
This slideshow will project the Giants' chances of claiming each of the six available NFC playoff seeds.
A First Round Bye
No. 1 Seed: 100/1
As of right now, the Giants’ chances of claiming the NFC’s top seed are highly unlikely. With two losses in the past two weeks, the Giants are certainly not playing like the best team in their conference.
The Falcons (8-1) and Bears (7-2) seem to be the class of the NFC. Unless the Packers or 49ers make a strong late-season push, one of those teams will claim the No. 1 seed.
The Giants aren’t mathematically incapable of nabbing the NFC’s highest playoff seed, of course. However, even if Big Blue wins out the remainder of its schedule, the team’s hopes of attaining a No. 1 seed will still rely on some other teams to lose a few along the way.
My Prediction: Atlanta Falcons (14-2)
No. 2 Seed: 30/1
With only four losses, the Giants can technically go 12-4 if they put it all together after the break. That’s usually a good enough record to earn a No. 2 seed—since the 2002 division realignment, the NFC’s No. 2 seed has had more than 12 wins only twice (’07 Cowboys and ’11 49ers).
If this season’s NFC is anywhere near as competitive as it was last year (and it looks like it will be), 12 wins may only be enough to garner a mid-range playoff seeding. The Packers (15-1), 49ers (13-3) and Saints (13-3) took the conference’s top three seeds in 2011.
At this point, a 12-win season and a No. 2 seed is a much more likely scenario for New York, but it’s still a bit of a long shot,
My Prediction: Chicago Bears (13-3)
No. 3 Seed: 10/1
With Atlanta and Chicago in position to grab the NFC’s top two seeds, the No. 3 seed will likely be up for grabs between the winner of the NFC East and the NFC West. If the playoffs were to start today, the 49ers would earn the No. 3 seed, and the Giants would be left with the No. 4 seed.
The Giants were 26-3 victors in their Week 6 head-to-head matchup with the 49ers, but that advantage was rendered virtually useless by the 49ers tie on Sunday. In order for the tiebreaker to go into effect, the Giants would also need to tie one of their final six games.
As a whole, the NFC West has outperformed the NFC East thus far. I see the NFC’s No. 3 seed coming from the West this year.
My Prediction: San Francisco 49ers (10-5-1)
No. 4 Seed: 5/1
The Giants’ most likely playoff scenario has them as the NFC’s No. 4 seed. If this ends up being the case, New York will get to host at least one home game at MetLife Stadium during the postseason.
New York may be best off with a No. 4 seed because it will be a familiar position. The Giants were a No. 4 seed during last January’s Super Bowl run. Besides, this is a team that plays its best ball with a chip on its shoulder.
The Giants will have a tough time going .500 or better in the back half of the season, but even a 4-4 record over the last eight games will place the Giants at 10-6 overall. New York should win the division with 10 wins, as the second-place Cowboys still have to make up a 2.5-game deficit.
My Prediction: New York Giants (10-6)
Wild Card Spots
No. 5 Seed: 50/1
Not so surprisingly, the No. 5 seed will be more difficult for the Giants to claim than the No. 4 seed. For the past five seasons, either one or both of the Wild Card teams have had better regular season records than the No. 4 seed.
This seed will be so difficult for the Giants to attain, because they would have to lose enough games to blow the lead in the East while also maintaining the best record of any other non-division winner in the NFC. Given the NFC East’s weakness in recent years, this scenario is highly unlikely.
My Prediction: Green Bay Packers (12-4)
No. 6 Seed: 15/1
The No. 6 seed will be much more likely for the Giants to capture. The NFC’s lowest-seeded playoff berth would provide an upward climb for New York.
While the Giants would certainly not be entering the playoffs as Super Bowl favorites if they fall all the way to the No. 6 seed, but the 2010 Packers proved that even the conference’s biggest underdogs can end up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Even if the Giants’ late-season struggles continue into the weeks following the bye, New York can still salvage its title defense season by clinching the final Wild Card spot in the season’s last couple games.
My Prediction: Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
A Squandered Opportunity
No Seed: 40/1
The Giants are far from locking anything up. If they crumble in the final six games of the season, they could finish with a 6-10 record. It may not be likely, but it’s still mathematically possible.
What if Manning and his receivers never rediscover their timing and chemistry? What if the defense can’t tighten up some of the gaping holes it has in the secondary? What if Coughlin can’t pull his team out of its slump a la 2010?
The bye week isn’t a magic cure-all. New York still has a lot of work to do in order to get back on a winning track. If the Giants fail to hit their stride in the home stretch, they could end up missing the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.