NFL Playoff Scenarios 2013: Breaking Down How NFC Playoff Berths Will Shake out

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after a Washington Redskins first down in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Okay everyone, take a deep breath—we're about to dive into the NFC playoff scenarios, a muddled mess of possibilities that takes us down the wormhole of "what ifs?", tiebreakers and all kinds of seeding permutations.

Actually, everything could be pretty simple. If the Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers win, the playoff seeding will work itself out quite nicely as follows:

1. Atlanta Falcons

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. Green Bay Packers

4. Washington Redskins

5. Seattle Seahawks

6. Minnesota Vikings

But you don't actually think it will be that easy, do you?

Of course not. The first wrench we could see is for the Vikings, who face the Packers. And Green Bay is currently holding on to the second seed in the NFC and a first-round bye, so you know they'll want to beat the Vikings.

And they will. Sorry, Minnesota.

The Vikings will be alive even with a loss, though. Sure, they'll need the Chicago Bears to lose to the Detroit Lions (not happening), New York Giants to lose the Philadelphia Eagles (probably not happening) and the Dallas Cowboys to lose to the Redskins (very strong possibility that will happen) to earn the final seed in the NFC.

But they'll still have a chance.

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing it. And that means, folks, that the Chicago Bears are going to be your final playoff team in the NFC. That's right, despite winning just two of their last seven games, the Bears will still head to the playoffs.

So what about the crazy NFC East? Well, it all comes down to a game between the Redskins and the Cowboys, winner take all on Sunday Night Football. What fun!

Yup, despite losing last week, the Cowboys still win the division with a win. 

So who would you put your money on in this game? The team that comes into this contest on a six-game winning streak, or the team that just lost a key game at home against a New Orleans Saints team that would be just as effective defensively if it didn't put any defensive players on the field.

Actually, I think this game will be a really tight affair that could go either way. However, I'm not betting against the Redskins, the hottest team in the NFL outside of Denver these days. 

All that's left is the matter of which team will win the NFC West. Let's save the drama—the 49ers only need to win to win the division, and they play the Arizona Cardinals this week. In other words, there isn't a chance in hell the 49ers will lose.

And Seattle holds the tiebreaker (head-to-head win) over the Bears, so even if the Seahawks lose, they'll still be the five-seed.

Thus, the NFC will shake out as follows:

1. Atlanta Falcons

2. Green Bay Packers

3. San Francisco 49ers

4. Washington Redskins

5. Seattle Seahawks

6. Chicago Bears

See, that wasn't so hard, was it? It sets up some pretty intriguing wild card games as well, especially a clash between the two hottest teams in the NFC, the Seahawks and Redskins.

Of course, there are a lot of other ways this might play out. It's going to be an awesome weekend of football, that much is for sure.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets have the permutations locked and loaded.

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