NFC Contenders Update 11/29


Well gents (and hopefully a few ladies out there), we are another week down and just that much closer to the postseason. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays, feasted on some great food, watched some great football (the MNF game notwithstanding), and began to crave playoff football. Here I am again with your weekly update on the NFC contenders and their remaining schedules. We can finally close the book on the "Dream Team" who felt defeat at the hands of Tom Brady and Wes Welker, and with seven losses, no longer represent a threat to make the postseason. The Tampa Bay Bucs and their clutch QB Josh Freeman choked in the fourth quarter and watched their playoff chances ride off into the night. The Saints beat up on the Giants on MNF and made the Giants upcoming game against the Packers a must-win IMO (yikes). The Falcons future looks bright with TJ Yates now leading the Houston Texans in our marque game next week. The Bears will also be led by an unknown against the injury-riddled Kansas City Chiefs. Who has the most favorable remaining schedule? Who has the most difficult road the rest of the way? Join me after the jump to find out.

Well, I start off with our remaining schedules of the remaining playoff contenders. With the Packers and 49ers having virtually locked up their divisions already, the following six teams are fighting for four playoff spots.


Team Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
Atlanta Falcons at Hou at Car vs. Jax at NO vs TB
Record 8 3 3 8 3 8 8 3 4 7
New York Giants vs. GB at Dal vs. Wash at NYJ vs. Dal
Record 11 0 7 4 4 7 6 5 7 4
Dallas Cowboys at Ariz vs. NYG at TB vs. Phi at NYG
Record 4 7 6 5 4 7 4 7 6 5
Detroit Lions at NO vs Minn at Oak vs SD at GB
Record 8 3 2 9 7 4 4 7 11 0
Chicago Bears vs. KC at Den vs Sea at GB at Minn
Record 4 7 6 5 4 7 11 0 2 9
New Orleans Saints vs. Det. at Tenn. at Minn. vs. Atl vs. Car
Record 7 4 6 5 2 9 7 4 3 8


And now a quick look at the strength of schedule remaining.


Wins Losses Percentage Points Margin
Atlanta Falcons Opponents Records 26 29 0.473 32
Home SOS 7 15 0.318
Away SOS 19 14 0.576
New York Giants Opponents Records 35 20 0.636 -25
Home SOS 22 11 0.667
Away SOS 13 9 0.591
Dallas Cowboys Opponents Records 24 31 0.436 45
Home SOS 10 12 0.455
Away SOS 14 19 0.424
Detroit Lions Opponents Records 32 23 0.582 70
Home SOS 6 16 0.273
Away SOS 26 7 0.788
Chicago Bears Opponents Records 27 28 0.491 56
Home SOS 8 14 0.364
Away SOS 19 14 0.576
New Orleans Saints Opponents Records 25 30 0.455 110
Home SOS 17 16 0.515
Away SOS 8 14 0.364

If you look at the strength of schedule, the Giants have by far the most difficult remaining schedule. Games against Green Bay, the Jets, and two against Dallas spell an early ending to the Giants season (and likely an end to Tom Coughlin's time in New York). Dallas likely only needs to win one of those games to guarantee themselves the division title. The Lions face the most difficult road schedule with games remaining at New Orleans, Oakland, and Green Bay. Anyone want to see what Drew Brees does against the Lions without the threat of Suh running after him? I fret just thinking about the situation. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Cowboys have the most favorable remaining record, although the Lions face the easiest home schedule (Minnesota and a struggling SD team will do that to you) and the Saints face a pretty easy road schedule (again Minnesota as well as Tennessee). So what does this all mean for us? In my opinion, I think the playoff picture is starting to get very clear. It is still early for predictions, but I'm going to say the seeding will be: 1. Green Bay 2. San Francisco 3. New Orleans 4. Dallas 5. Atlanta 6. Chicago.... Detroit and New York have such difficult schedules, I don't think they can overcome the teams waiting on them. So, I will now open the floor for discussion. Does anyone else really like the idea of playing in Jerry World or is it just me? If anyone has a chance to upset the Saints early, wouldn't it be the Bears and their defense? Can Mike Tirico call every Falcons game for the rest of the year?

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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