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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
How three NFC North teams could advance

By Kevin Seifert

ESPN.com's Playoff Machine encourages the kind of trial-and-error that brought one of you to an unlikely but fun NFC North playoff scenario. Via Twitter, @BremerNicholas submitted a path for three of our teams to be part of the six-team NFC playoff field.

Here's how it would work:
  1. The Chicago Bears would win their final two games, at the Arizona Cardinals and at the Detroit Lions, to finish 10-6.
  2. The Minnesota Vikings would win their final two games, at the Houston Texans and at home against the Green Bay Packers, to finish 10-6.
  3. The Seattle Seahawks would lose their final two games, both of which are at home against the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams, to finish 9-7.
  4. Only one of the NFC East's three 8-6 teams -- the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants -- finish 10-6. We already know that no more than two can do so because the Cowboys and Redskins play in Week 17.

In that case, the NFC wild cards would be the Vikings and Bears. The Packers have already clinched a berth as division champions.

The most difficult part of the scenario to project is the Seahawks losing two consecutive games at CenturyLink Field, where they are 6-0 this season. (Or 5-1*, depending on your perspective.) But we can dream, right?