NFL Playoff Scenarios 2012-13: Power Ranking NFC's Wild-Card Contenders

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 16: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts late in the game after building up a comfortable lead during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on December 16, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2012

The NFC wild-card picture is a cluttered disaster. If the season ended today, we'd be going deep into the tiebreakers before finding the Minnesota Vikings in the postseason. 

The Vikings are one of five NFC teams at 8-6. The Redskins are in that group, but they are currently excused from the wild-card mess because the tiebreakers have them as the NFC East leader. 

I've got the Redskins beating the Eagles next week and closing out with a victory at home over the Cowboys. That would have them as the NFC East champs, so you will not find them in these power rankings. 

So let's rank the rest of the contenders, and check out the wild playoff picture for both conferences, below. 


No. 5: Minnesota Vikings

Remaining Schedule: at Houston Texans, vs. Green Bay Packers

The Minnesota Vikings may currently have the edge in the race for the final wild-card spot, but they are not in a good position. 

Look at that schedule! Adrian Peterson is amazing, but he can't do everything against quality teams like those two, and Christian Ponder and the Vikings' passing attack have been sinking into oblivion. 

Both the Texans and Packers have already locked up their respective divisions, but playoff seeding will keep them playing hard. The Texans are trying to lock up the AFC's No. 1 seed, and the Packers are a half game behind the 49ers for a vital first-round bye. 


No. 4: Dallas Cowboys

Remaining Schedule: vs. New Orleans Saints, at Washington Redskins

The Cowboys are coming on strong. They have won three in a row and five of their last six. It has been an impressive turnaround. 

Unfortunately for them, it will prove to be too little too late. It is going to take 10 wins to claim one of these wild-card spots, and the Cowboys are not going to be able to beat both the Saints and the Redskins. 

The Redskins already beat the Cowboys earlier in the season and that one was in Dallas. 


No. 3: Chicago Bears

Remaining Schedule: at Arizona Cardinals, at Detroit Lions

The Bears have been playing terribly. They've lost five of their last six games, but that has come against a difficult schedule. 

Their schedule the rest of the way is not difficult, and if there is one thing that the Bears proved with their hot start, it is that they can handle lesser teams. 

Despite their recent woes, the Bears have an excellent shot at running the table. 


No. 2: New York Giants

Remaining Schedule: at Baltimore Ravens, vs. Philadelphia Eagles

If this group of Giants hadn't proved their resilience on numerous occasions, they would be at the bottom of these power rankings, because New York looked terrible last week while losing 34-0 to the Atlanta Falcons. 

They will play the playoff-bound Ravens this week, but Baltimore has lost three straight and is getting worse by the week. I fully expect the Giants to bounce back with a big performance. 

They will then end the season against a bad Eagles team with nothing to play for, and my money is on them finding themselves in the postseason again. 


No. 1: Seattle Seahawks

Remaining Schedule: vs. San Francisco 49ers, vs. St. Louis Rams

The Seahawks have a one-game cushion in this race, and they might not need it.

Yes, they have a tough game against the 49ers, but they get them in Seattle, and the Seahawks are tough to beat at home. They are undefeated there this season.

They will then get an improving Rams team in Seattle, but they will easily handle them.




 No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (12-2) Clinched NFC South
 No. 2 Seed San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) Lead NFC West; Clinched Playoff Berth
 No. 3 Seed Green Bay Packers (9-4) Clinched NFC North
 No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (8-6) Lead NFC East


 No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
 No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (8-6)


 Chicago Bears (8-6)
 Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
 New York Giants (8-6)
 St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)
 New Orleans Saints (6-8)



 No. 1 Seed Houston Texans (12-2) Clinched AFC South
 No. 2 Seed Denver Broncos (11-3) Clinched AFC West
 No. 3 Seed New England Patriots (10-4) Clinched AFC East
 No. 4 Seed Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Lead AFC South; Clinched Playoff Berth


 No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
 No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (8-6)


 Chicago Bears (8-6)
 Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
 New York Giants (8-6)
 St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)
 New Orleans Saints (6-8)

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