With Green Bay’s victory over the Detroit Lions, the playoff field is finally set. Now that we know which games are coming, we can take a closer look at who is playing in the Wild Card round, and what implications that might have for the Falcons (and other teams, I guess).
We’ll go with the NFC first, since we care a little more about it.
#1 Dallas Cowboys: BYE
#2 Atlanta Falcons: BYE
#3 Seattle Seahawks vs. #6 Detroit Lions, January 7-8
#4 Green Bay Packers vs. #5 New York Giants, January 7-8
The Falcons will not play the Lions, even if they win, because Dallas is going to draw the lowest possible seed out of this field. It’s likely that the Falcons will wind up with a 2012 Divisional Round rematch against the Seahawks, given that I don’t think the Lions can beat them.
The other matchup is much more interesting, with Green Bay surging in recent weeks while New York has muddled a bit. The Giants do have a tremendous defense, though, and always manage to be more dangerous in the playoffs than it seems like they should be.
#1 New England Patriots: BYE
#2 Kansas City Chiefs: BYE
#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #6 Miami Dolphins, January 7-8
#4 Houston Texans vs. #5 Oakland Raiders, January 7-8
This field looks like an absolute cakewalk for the Patriots, who should only reasonably be threatened by the Steelers and Chiefs. They’re very likely to wind up playing the Texans, given that the Oakland Raiders are operating with a backup quarterback, while the Chiefs seem likely to get the Steelers.
So there’s your playoff field. Who do you have going to the ‘ship?