It's do-or-die time for some playoff contenders in the NFC with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Washington Redskins are in control of the NFC East at the moment, but that could change in a hurry. The San Francisco 49ers still have to beat the Seattle Seahawks this week to clinch the NFC West, and the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys are all fighting for playoff spots.
But who will take the remaining playoff seeds in the NFC?
Here are my predictions.
2. San Francisco 49ers (12-3-1)
I expect the 49ers to win their next two games against the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals to claim the NFC West and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Seattle will give San Francisco a challenge, especially at CenturyLink Field, but I like the 49ers' rushing attack against the Seahawks' beatable run defense.
4. Washington Redskins (10-6)
With the NFC East on the line, look for the Redskins to win their next two games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.
Robert Griffin III is expected to return to the field against the bumbling Eagles (per NFL.com) and the Cowboys have had trouble stopping the run this season, allowing 4.5 yards per carry (23rd in the league).
5. New York Giants (10-6)
By winning their next two games against the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, I expect the Giants to sneak into the playoffs.
Eli Manning had a rough game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15, but I don't expect that to continue against a disappointing Ravens pass defense. Also, Baltimore's offense has been mighty inconsistent this season, evidenced by the team's 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 15.
6. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
I wouldn't count the Seahawks out against the 49ers in Week 16, but I do think they lose that contest.
However, they play at home again in Week 17 against the St. Louis Rams and a win there should boost them into the playoffs. Although the Seahawks lost to the Rams in Week 3, this is a completely different team now, and it starts with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Note: I see the Vikings losing to the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys losing to the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins. The Chicago Bears will win both of their games against the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions, but it won't matter.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
|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 (10-4) Clinched NFC North|
|No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (8-6) Lead NFC East|
|WILD CARD LEADERS|
|No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (9-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (8-6)|
|IN THE HUNT|
|Chicago Bears (8-6)|
|Dallas Cowboys (8-6)|
|New York Giants (8-6)|
|St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)|
| New Orleans Saints (6-8)|
AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
|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 North; Clinched Playoff Berth|
|WILD CARD LEADERS|
|No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (9-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)|
|IN THE HUNT|
|Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)|
| Miami Dolphins (6-8)|
Atlanta: vs. Detroit, vs. Chicago
San Francisco: at Seattle, vs. Arizona
Green Bay: vs. Tennessee, at Minnesota
Washington: at Philadelphia, vs. Dallas
Seattle: vs. San Francisco, vs. St. Louis
Minnesota: at Houston, vs. Green Bay
Chicago: at Arizona, vs. Detroit
Dallas: vs. New Orleans, at Washington
New York: at Baltimore, vs. Philadelphia
St. Louis: at Tampa Bay, at Seattle
New Orleans: at Dallas, vs. Carolina
Houston: vs. Minnesota, at Indianapolis
Denver: vs. Cleveland, vs. Kansas City
New England: at Jacksonville, vs. Miami
Baltimore: vs. New York Giants, at Cincinnati
Indianapolis: at Kansas City, vs. Houston
Cincinnati: at Pittsburgh, vs. Baltimore
Pittsburgh: vs. Cincinnati, vs. Cleveland
Miami: vs. Buffalo, at New England
Playoff scenarios on NFL.com (for reference).
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