Thursday, December 20, 2012
A look at one man's NFC playoff projection
By Mike Sando
Video spoiler alert: With zero percent of Week 16 and Week 17 precincts reporting, ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck projects Atlanta, Green Bay, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle and the New York Giants as the six playoff teams from the NFC, in that order.
I watched the video and then headed over to ESPN's Playoff Machine to see how likely such a scenario might be.
It's not such a stretch. This scenario would produce Hasselbeck's projected order. The details:
- Atlanta would secure the No. 1 seed by defeating Detroit and then playing a meaningless game against Tampa Bay.
- Green Bay would win out against Tennessee and Minnesota to secure the second seed.
- San Francisco would rebound from a defeat at Seattle with a victory over Arizona, securing the third seed.
- Dallas would beat New Orleans and Washington to finish 10-6 and win the NFC East, good for the No. 4 seed.
- Seattle would defeat San Francisco and St. Louis to finish 11-5 and in the No. 5 spot.
- The Giants would defeat Baltimore and Philadelphia to secure the No. 6 seed.
Washington would miss the playoffs at 9-7 under this scenario. Chicago could finish 10-6 and still miss the playoffs.
Under this scenario, the Seahawks would visit Dallas in the wild-card round. The 49ers would be home against the Giants.
If we took the same scenario and altered it so that the 49ers defeated the Seahawks in Week 16, San Francisco would claim the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Seattle would then visit Green Bay in the wild-card round. The Giants would visit the Cowboys.
With a few additional alterations, we could produce a scenario featuring a Seahawks-49ers game at Candlestick Park in the wild-card round. The way I drew up that one, the Seahawks would beat the 49ers in Week 17 before losing to the Rams. The 49ers would beat Arizona in Week 17. Green Bay would secure the second seed at 12-4. Dallas would win the NFC East at 10-6, with the Giants securing the fifth seed, also at 10-6.
I'm not sure if the NFC West blog infrastructure could handle that one without some reinforcing. I'll check the foundation just to be sure.
Side note: Just because we can, here's a look at the playoff picture if every remaining regular-season game ended in a tie.