These three NFC teams were all off to promising starts, Giants (5 - 0), 49ers (3 - 1), and Packers (4 - 2). After suffering tough fourth quarter losses yesterday all of these teams are looking at up hill battles to climb back into the playoff picture.
New York Giants (5 - 4)
The G-Men came into this past weekends' games with the most difficult test of the three downward spiraling teams drawing the San Deigo Super Chargers.
For some reason it was built up as the Philip Rivers revenge game. Even though he won the game the big picture still remains: Eli Manning brought the New York fans a Superbowl and Rivers has to fight for winning seasons on one of the most talented football teams in the AFC.
Coughlin and players stressed that this was a 'must win' but when it came time to put it away, they got a costly penalty and went conservative with the play calling.
On top of that the defense, that looked outstanding for most of the game, allowed the Chargers to march down the field and toss a game winning touchdown.
The Giants have lost four straight and are now a game and half behind the Cowboys for the division lead heading into the bye week.
If the Giants don't figure out what's wrong and turn things around quickly after the bye week they'll be wondering what happened to the quick start.
San Francsico 49ers (3 - 5)
When the year started not too many fans and experts thought this Niners team would have a shot at the playoffs. After the 3 - 1 start and taking the 7 - 1 Vikings to the wire people started to believe that this team was capable of hanging around to the end.
This game against the Titans was the kind of game that a team with playoff aspirations should find a way to win. Instead the 49ers found a way to collapse in the fourth quarter surrendering 17 points and losing at home.
This game against 1 - 6 Tennesse was a 'must win' and would have kept them within one game of division leading Arizona, who they already beat once earlier this season.
The bright side for the Niners is that the next four games are all winable before the rematch with the division leading Cardinals. They Play Chicago, @ Green Bay, Jacksonville, @ Seattle and then get the Cards at home.
If they can get things headed in the right direction over the next four weeks and beat their divisional foe again, they may have a healthy shot at the playoffs. Especially since they get to finish up their season against the Lions and the Rams.
Green Bay Packers (4 - 4)
On the road at Tampa, playing a winless team, facing a rookie QB and up by 11. This was the biggest let down of any of the three teams involved in this break down.
I know the Packers were coming off of a tough, emotional loss from Favre and the Vikings, but to allow 21 unanswered points is unexcusable for a team with any playoff hopes.
With this loss the Packers have now fallen three games behind the Vikings in the standings and might as well consider it four because the Vikes hold the tie breaker.
Between the below average line and Rodgers hanging on to the ball for so long they have a very up hill battle in front of them if they wish to be playing in January.
There isn't much of a glass half full situation happening for the Packers in the second half of the season. Starting next week they're home against the 6 -2 Cowboys and still have to go to Chicago, Pittsburg, and Arizona. With a game against the Ravens sandwiched in between there for some fun.
Even with a win on Sunday against the winless Bucs, the Packers still would have been fighting tooth and nail for a chance to play for the Lombardi trophy.
I believe that this is the week that we may look back on for all three of these teams when all is said and done in week 17.
I don't think that any of these teams will make the playoffs especially since it looks like the Packers and Niners have to finish 6 - 2. The Giants have to finish 5 - 2 and may still narrowly miss out on the playoffs.