NFL Playoff Scenarios 2013: Sunday's Biggest Potential Surprises

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 10:  The NFL Shield logo is shown on the field before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Atlanta Falcons on December 10, 2006 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Falcons defeated the Bucs 17-6. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With the 2013 NFL playoffs approaching fast, there are plenty of scenarios that could unfold and change the landscape of how we view the postseason.

All of the playoff possibilities open up some huge potential surprises.

Both of the following teams—the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants—have an outside chance to shock the world and become favorites in the 2013 NFL playoffs.


Seattle Wins the NFC West

While the Seattle Seahawks should just feel proud to have made the playoffs, there is still an outside chance that the team could steal the NFC West from the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17.

If the 49ers lose to the awful Arizona Cardinals—a thought that would have been laughed off before last week’s blowout loss for San Francisco—and the Seahawks can beat the St. Louis Rams, Seattle wins the division outright and gains a home playoff game.

As seen by the team’s sheer dominance on its own field, Seattle getting a home game is the last thing any team in the NFC wants to see right now. With the right pieces falling into place Sunday, it could feasibly happen.


New York Giants Win the NFC Wild Card

While this is a long shot, the way the NFC East has played out so far in 2012, there is little doubt that the New York Giants could squeeze into the final wild-card spot.

The team needs serious help, but what’s one more wild week in the NFL?

For the Giants to make the playoffs this season, the Dallas Cowboys must lose or tie the Washington Redskins in Week 17, the Chicago Bears must lose and the Minnesota Vikings must also lose.

That’s not so bad, right?

Even with all considered, New York is the kind of team that will make it into the postseason on a fluke outcome like this and make another serious run at the Super Bowl.



 No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (13-2) Clinched NFC South & Home-Field Advantage
 No. 2 Seed Green Bay Packers (11-4) Clinched NFC North
 No. 3 Seed San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) Lead NFC West; Clinched Playoff Berth 
 No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (9-6) Lead NFC East


 No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (10-5); Clinched Playoff Berth
 No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (9-6)


 Chicago Bears (9-6)
 Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
 New York Giants (8-7)



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


 No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (10-5); Clinched Playoff Berth
 No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (9-6); Clinched Playoff Berth


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