With four weeks left in the regular season, there are still nine teams thinking they have a chance to take one of the two NFC Wild Card slots. With an 8-4 record the New York Giants would seem to have the inside track for one of them, but they're good at late-season fades and weren't exactly dominating in beating Chicago on Sunday.
Eight teams with 6-6 or 5-7 records are also sort of still alive. If the season ended today, and some teams probably wish it were over already (hello Miami!), Arizona would get the sixth and final playoff slot. Here is the remaining schedule for the Wild Card pretenders, with their current record, conference (c) and division (d) records, and my prediction of how the rest of the season plays out. If things go as I see them, we won't even need a tiebreaker!
NY Giants 8-4 (c 6-4, d 4-2): at Philadelphia, Washington, at Buffalo, New England
The Giants are safe, although I see a stumble against the Eagles (wishful thinking on my part?) they’ll take care of Washington and Buffalo and finish 10-6.
Minnesota 6-6 (c 4-5, d 2-3): at San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, at Denver
With Adrian Peterson back and the Vikes on a 3-game win streak thanks to an impressive run defense, they might be the surest bet. They run the win streak to 6 and finish 9-7, enough to take the final playoff spot.
Arizona 6-6 (c 3-5, d 2-2): at Seattle, at New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Louis
The Cardinals are hurting at receiver right now, and Kurt Warner can’t possibly hold up, can he? They’ll lose the next two, which they need the most, and finish 8-8.
New Orleans 5-7 (c 4-4, d 2-3): at Atlanta, Arizona, Philadelphia, at Chicago
The Saints have been inexplicable this year, so I think they’ll win three and feel great about their chances, only to flop in their finale and end up 8-8.
Chicago 5-7 (c 2-6, d 1-3): at Washington, at Minnesota, Green Bay, New Orleans
The win over the Saints will be the only prize the Bears get, until they trade for Donovan McNabb in the offseason. 7-9.
Detroit 6-6 (c 4-6, d 3-2): Dallas, at San Diego, Kansas City, at Green Bay
A team in mid-collapse. They could lose out, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and a win against the Chiefs, so the Lions end up from 6-2 to 7-9.
Philadelphia 5-7 (c 3-6, d 1-3): NY Giants, at Dallas, at New Orleans, Buffalo
They somehow manage to beat the Giants and then get pounded the next two weeks. The Kevin Kolb era begins with a win over the Bills. 7-9.
Washington 5-7 (c 3-5, d 1-3): Chicago, at NY Giants, at Minnesota, Dallas
After the shocking loss to the Bills, the Redskins rally to pull one out for Sean Taylor. Then the bottom finally drops out. 6-10.
Carolina 5-7 (c 5-4, d 2-3): at Jacksonville, Seattle, Dallas, at Tampa Bay
Testaverde? Carr? You gotta be kidding. 5-11 unless the Bucs rest their starters going into the playoffs.
When you win some bets using these predictions, feel free to send me ten percent of your winnings. :mrgreen: -- Joe Guckin