New York Giants (10-4)
What may work against them is that the Giants have been unpredictable and, at times, have had their offense, which is scoring only 19.5 PPG, shut down. They underperformed against the Eagles last week and lost. Plus, the Redskins beat them earlier this season 29-27.
Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
The Falcons, who have an 85% chance of getting to the 2016-17 NFC playoffs, play the Panthers on Carolina and then the Saints in Atlanta. That’s a fairly light schedule and it’s two teams they beat earlier in the season. QB Matt Ryan is having one heck of a year. The Falcons are averaging 33.5 PPG. Finally, they control their own destiny.
Although the Falcons have a PF/PA differential of +111, they are allowing opponents just over 25 PPG. They are going up against two good passing teams. Atlanta has a pretty good pass rush, but their secondary is not as good as they’d like it to be.
Detroit Lions (9-5)
The Lions have a tough road to go and that could stop them from getting into the 2016-17 NFC playoffs. They have to go to Dallas and play the Cowboys and then they must meet the Packers in Detroit. The Lions have beaten eight teams this year with losing records. The one club they defeated that has a winning record is the Redskins. Now they must play two of the best in the league who are capable of blowing teams away.
Green Bay Packers (8-6)
The Packers have a 68% chance of getting into the postseason. The primary reason is its offense. Aaron Rodgers has been right on target and he’s been running the offense with aplomb. He’s got a deep unit of receivers and, somehow, the Pack now has a bit of a rush attack. Green Bay does have confidence associated with their four-game winning streak.
There are two problems for the Packers. The first is the defense. Yes, they have been playing much better lately, but they’ve had their moments. As an example, last week against the Bears, they suddenly gave up 17 points in the fourth quarter letting Chicago in the door. The other problem is Aaron Rodger’s injury. A few bad hits could knock him out of a game, and he is essential to this team’s success.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)
There are various problems, including that one tie they have which may help or hurt them. The offense has struggled. The offensive line has to give QB Jameis Winston time to pass. This can be a big problem in their final game against Carolina.
Washington Redskins (7-6-1)
The Redskins may end up being the team that could have but did not. The club, which has a 26% of making it to the playoffs, has a fine offense, which is run by the very competent Kirk Cousins, and an effective defense.
They will have a tough time getting into the playoffs for various reasons. First, is their schedule where they have to play two solid defensive teams, the Bears and the Giants. Plus, their defense can often miss the big play.
2016-17 NFC Playoffs Almost Here
There’s far less competition for the final four playoff spots in the NFC than in the AFC. The AFC has seven teams battling for four slots, while the NFC has six looking to be seeded in four slots. The entire West Division has been eliminated from the wild card. That has helped to cut back on the number of teams that have a real shot at the postseason. Much of this could be decided by the end of week 16. We’ll see as the 2016-17 NFC playoffs approach.