NFC Playoff Breakdown: Week 14

December 6th, 2008
By BOB FOX analyst Bob Fox takes a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture. Fox writes for numerous sports publications. He brings an insightful take on the conference. analyst Bob Fox says a Redskins upset in Baltimore on Sunday could propel the Skins to run the table and earn a Wild Card analyst Bob Fox says a Redskins upset in Baltimore on Sunday could propel the Skins to run the table and earn a Wild Card

Every football game has four quarters.  Every quarter is important, but the fourth quarter is ESPECIALLY important.  Well, that is where we are in the 2008 NFL season.  The fourth quarter is about to begin.  Let’s see how things are shaking out in the NFC, shall we.

NFC East 
New York Giants 11-1
Dallas Cowboys 8-4
Washington Redskins 7-5
Philadelphia Eagles 6-5-1

The Giants are still clearly the best team in the NFC, if not the entire NFL, even after the suspension of WR Plaxico Burress. His Barney Fife moment with his hand gun in a Manhattan night club shouldn’t affect the club.  The Cowboys are looking much better the last couple of weeks, but they have a couple of injuries worth watching, as RB Marion Barber has a dislocated toe and DE DeMarcus Ware has a hyperextended left knee.  Both play key roles in the success of the Boys.  The Cowboys will have a very tough game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh this week.  The Redskins have a huge game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.  If the Redskins win, they will have a chance to run the table, with the Bengals, 49ers and Eagles left on the schedule.  Speaking of the Eagles, some people may have poured dirt on Philly a little bit too quick, as they played very well against the Cardinals, with Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook having huge games.  The Eagles will face a tough task, though, as they have to play everyone in their division one more time down the stretch.  I expect the Cowboys to probably win a Wild Card spot. 

NFC North
Minnesota Vikings 7-5
Chicago Bears 6-6
Green Bay Packers 5-7
Detroit Lions 0-12

Although the Vikings beat the Bears last week for NFC North supremacy for now, the title chase is still somewhat murky.  Although a federal judge gave both Pat and Kevin Williams a chance to play this weekend against the lowly Lions (a team that Vikings were fortunate to beat the first time the teams played), the Vikes may not have both of the BIG anchors to their defensive line against the Cardinals, Falcons or Giants.  Oh by the way, the Giants and Falcons lead the NFL in rushing.  The team to watch is not the Bears, but the Packers.  If the Packers can run the table the last four games, and the Vikes lose two of their remaining four games, the Packers would win the NFC North based on the better divisional record.  Still, we are talking about the NFC North here, so winning four straight is quite a challenge.

NFC South
Tampa Bay Bucs 9-3
Carolina Panthers 9-3
Atlanta Falcons 8-4
New Orleans Saints 6-6

The game of the year in the NFL this year will be Monday night in Charlotte, as the Bucs will play the Panthers.  Something has to give, as the Panthers are undefeated at home in 2008, as are the Bucs.  If the Bucs win, they will have a definite upper hand in the division, as they will have swept the Panthers and also would clearly have the best divisional record.  The Falcons must go to the Superdome in New Orleans to play the Saints on Sunday.  The Saints are a different team at home, and a New Orleans victory would go a long way towards securing a divisional title for the Bucs, who travel to Atlanta next week.  The Bucs-Panthers loser would still be in a good position to get at least a Wild Card spot. 

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals 7-5
San Francisco 49ers 4-8
St. Louis Rams 2-10
Seattle Seahawks 2-10

The NFC West divisional race has been over for quite some time.  The Cardinals will be a dangerous team in the playoffs because of their passing attack, but like the Saints, the Cards play much better at home.  That might mean one win in the playoffs, as the Cardinals are assured at least one home game as a divisional winner.

One Response to “NFC Playoff Breakdown: Week 14”

  1. Fastah5 Says:

    Mr. Fox – Don’t count out the 49ers so fast. The Cardinals aren’t anywhere near as good as people think. THe Bucs would crush Arizona