NFC West: Week 16 Dream Scenarios

2011 49ers: Dream scenario for Week 16

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
3:08
PM ET
A look at what San Francisco 49ers fans should be rooting for as they monitor the NFC playoff race in Week 16:

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Arizona at Cincinnati: no rooting interest for playoff purposes. 49ers fans sick of hearing about a weak NFC West might want Arizona (and Seattle) to finish strong. But if the Cardinals were to lose, hey, that's not bad for a 49ers fan, either.
  • New York Giants at New York Jets: no rooting interest for playoff purposes.
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • San Diego at Detroit: no rooting interest for playoff purposes, leaving 49ers fans to root for a last-second Chargers victory and an overzealous handshake from usually reserved Chargers coach Norv Turner.
Saturday, 4:15 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia at Dallas: no rooting interest for playoff purposes. Watching the Cowboys lose might have some appeal for 49ers fans still smarting over Dallas' victory at Candlestick Park in Week 2.
  • San Francisco at Seattle: a 49ers victory, obviously. A 49ers victory and a Saints defeat would deliver the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye to San Francisco. The 49ers might also remain in contention for the No. 1 seed.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Chicago at Green Bay: a Bears victory. This would make it possible for the 49ers and Packers to finish tied atop the NFC at 13-3. Conference records would be the same, but the 49ers would have a better record in games against common opponents, 5-0 to 4-1 (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, the Giants and the Lions).
Monday night
  • Atlanta at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. ET: a Falcons victory. The 49ers would clinch the NFC's second seed with a victory over Seattle and a Saints defeat.
Note: This tagline will work for all related files, once they are posted. Let me know if you feel 49ers fans should root differently.

2011 Seahawks: Dream scenario, Week 16

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
2:46
PM ET
A look at what Seattle Seahawks fans should be rooting for as they monitor the NFC playoff race in Week 16:

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Arizona at Cincinnati: a Bengals victory. This would eliminate the Cardinals from the postseason and give them less incentive to beat Seattle in Week 17.
  • New York Giants at New York Jets: a Jets victory. Seattle owns a regular-season victory over the Giants, so finishing in a tie with them for a wild-card spot might not be so bad. But a Jets victory would eliminate the Giants from contention. That appeals to other teams fighting for a wild-card berth. In the end, however, the NFC East race might be irrelevant to what happens with Seattle or Arizona, as pointed out by 335iRobot in the comments section of an earlier item. Both the Seahawks and Cardinals would have superior conference records than their NFC East wild-card challengers if more than two wild-card contenders finished 9-7.
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • San Diego at Detroit: a Chargers victory. One more Lions victory clinches a wild-card berth for Detroit, hurting Seattle.
Saturday, 4:15 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia at Dallas: a Cowboys victory. This scenario, coupled with a Giants victory, delivers a division title to Dallas. The Eagles and Giants would be out of the wild-card picture. The Seahawks lost to the Cowboys during the regular season, but as noted above, Seattle's conference record would seem to favorably break likely ties with two or more NFC teams.
  • San Francisco at Seattle: a Seahawks victory. The Seahawks must win their final two games for a shot at the playoffs.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Chicago at Green Bay: a Bears victory. A Packers victory would eliminate the Bears from contention, but Seattle owns a head-to-head victory over Chicago already. A Bears upset could give the Packers additional incentive to defeat the Lions in Week 17, and any Detroit defeat helps Seattle.
Monday night
  • Atlanta at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. ET: a Saints victory. The Seahawks need Atlanta or Detroit to lose its remaining games.

Again, let me know if you disagree with any of the rooting advice here. I'd be interested in hearing why. This tagline will work for all related files, once they are posted.
A look at what Arizona Cardinals fans should be rooting for as they monitor the NFC playoff race in Week 16:

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Arizona at Cincinnati: A Cardinals victory. Arizona must win out for any shot at the playoffs. The Cardinals can play this game without worrying about what might be happening in other games. The games most important to Arizona kick off later in the day.
  • New York Giants at New York Jets: A Jets victory. This would prevent the Giants from finishing better than 8-8. They would be eliminated from contention with a defeat to the Jets because four teams from the NFC North and NFC South already have nine or more victories. Arizona can still get to 9-7. It's tempting to root for the Giants here because they beat Arizona and the Cardinals might lose a wild-card tiebreaker to them, but eliminating the Giants appeals for the sake of simplicity.
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • San Diego at Detroit: A Chargers victory. One more Lions victory clinches a wild-card berth for Detroit, hurting Arizona. This one is a no-brainer.
Saturday, 4:15 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia at Dallas: A Cowboys victory. This scenario, coupled with a Giants victory, delivers a division title to Dallas. The Cardinals did beat the Cowboys, helping them on the tiebreaker front. But a Cowboys victory with a Giants defeat makes things simpler quickly.
  • San Francisco at Seattle: A 49ers victory. The Seahawks would be eliminated from the playoffs, giving them less incentive to defeat Arizona in Week 17.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Chicago at Green Bay: A tougher call. A Packers victory would eliminate the Bears from contention, but it would also clinch home-field advantage for Green Bay, leaving the Packers with no incentive to beat Detroit in Week 17. The Packers aren't going to lose this game, most likely, so there's little point in rooting too hard, anyway, right? But if the Cardinals need the Lions to lose twice, a Bears-over-Packers upset could help. Green Bay has previously played all-out in Week 17 without anything to gain in terms of playoff positioning, but injuries along the offensive line and elsewhere could demand a more cautious approach this time.
Monday night
  • Atlanta at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. ET: A Saints victory. The Cardinals need Atlanta or Detroit to lose its remaining games. This is an easy call for Arizona fans.

I'm putting together similar dream scenarios for the other NFC West teams. Let me know if you disagree with any of the rooting advice here. I'd be interested in hearing why.

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