2010-11 NFL Playoff Picture & Playoff Scenarios (Updated 12/29)

Last Updated: January 2nd, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (10-5) – Philly’s chances of moving up in the playoff picture was shot on Tuesday night when it was shocked by the Minnesota Vikings at home. Now, the No. 3 seed awaits the NFC East champs regardless of what happens in the finale against the Dallas Cowboys. Remaining Schedule: vs. DAL

New York Giants (9-6) – The Giants put themselves in a world of hurt right now in the push in the NFC. A win is a must next week against the Washington Redskins, and anything less won’t get the job done. Then from there, the G-Men need either a loss by the Packers against the Chicago Bears, or they need the New Orleans Saints to lose both this week against the Atlanta Falcons and next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Remaining Schedule: @ WAS

Washington Redskins (6-9) – The Redskins upset the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but they know that they can deliver an even bigger blow to the New York Giants next week with an upset at home. Aside from the ability to feel good about ending an arch rival’s season though, there’s nothing else to play for in our nation’s capitol. Remaining Schedule: vs. NYG

Dallas Cowboys (5-10) – Gaffes both offensively and on special teams really cost the Cowboys a ‘W’ at the lowly Arizona Cardinals. We’re probably going to get our first look at QB Stephen McGee as a starter next week unless QB Tony Romo decides to suit up, as QB Jon Kitna is out of the lineup. Remaining Schedule: vs. PHI

NFC North

Chicago Bears (11-4) – It’s not often that you see the Bears rooting for the Minnesota Vikings, but with their hated rivals’ victory on a rare Tuesday Night Football duel, they clinched a first round bye in the playoffs. Chicago really doesn’t have anywhere to go from here unless a bunch of things happen. It needs a win and losses by both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints to become the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Remaining Schedule: @ GB

Green Bay Packers (9-6) – It’s win and in for the Packers this week, as they know that a ‘W’ against the Chicago Bears puts them in the playoffs once and for all. They can also get in with a loss, but only if both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants lose in Week 17 as well. There’s nowhere to go but to be the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, meaning a win parlayed with a victory by the Philadelphia Eagles sets up a rematch in the Windy City between these same two teams next week in the first round of the playoffs. Remaining Schedule: vs. CHI

Minnesota Vikings (6-9) – Give the Vikes some big time credit for taking down the Philadelphia Eagles on the road on Tuesday with third string QB Joe Webb doing the bulk of the damage offensively. The ‘W’ might have saved the job for Head Coach Leslie Frazier, who really wants to have the interim tag removed from his title for next year. Remaining Schedule: @ DET

Detroit Lions (5-10) – Give it up for the Lions, who have now won back to back road games for the first time in eons. Their fans should come out in droves this week to support them for the finale against the Minnesota Vikings, which could be the game that ensures that they do not finish in last place in the NFC North. Remaining Schedule: vs. MIN

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NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (12-3) – Atlanta didn’t do itself any favorites on Monday Night Football by losing to the New Orleans Saints, as now, it needs to win this final game of the season against the Carolina Panthers to ensure the No. 1 seed in the playoffs in the NFC. A loss makes things more interesting. If that happens and the Saints win on Sunday, the Falcons are suddenly going on the road as a Wild Card. If the Saints also lose and the Bears win, they’ll be the No. 2 seed, and if all three teams lose, they’ll hang on as the top seed in the conference. Remaining Schedule: vs. CAR

New Orleans Saints (11-4) – The Saints took a situation that could have been very, very sticky and turned it into one with nothing to lose on Sunday. They beat the Atlanta Falcons and kept their hopes alive for an NFC South title, and if it were acquired, they would be the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. It’ll take a win by over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and an Atlanta loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers to happen though, and anything less leaves it on the road as the No. 5 seed, where it will take on the NFC West champs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Remaining Schedule: vs. TB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6) – The Bucs pretty much know that they are coming out of the No. 6 seed in the playoffs if they get in, as their only chance of being the No. 5 seed would be a win in Week 17 over the New Orleans Saints and losses in Week 17 by both the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. With the unlikeliness of that happening, Tampa Bay is sitting at home tonight and cheering for the Atlanta Falcons. That would put the Bucs in a position where a win would put them within a win and loss by either the Packers or Giants from getting into the playoffs. A loss in Week 17 eliminates Tampa Bay one way or the other. Remaining Schedule: @ NO

Carolina Panthers (2-13) – It’s official… And with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select… Remaining Schedule: @ ATL

NFC West

St. Louis Rams (7-8) – Once St. Louis won its duel against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, it knew that the showdown next week against the Seattle Seahawks was for all the marbles in the division. A win leaves the Rams as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and hosting a game in the first round. A loss eliminates them from the postseason. Remaining Schedule: @ SEA

Seattle Seahawks (6-9) – Seahawks fans have to be wondering what in the heck Head Coach Pete Carroll was doing when he played QB Matt Hasselbeck last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game was 100% meaningless to the Seahawks once the St. Louis Rams beat the San Francisco 49ers, as we knew that the game up at Qwest Field on Sunday Night Football was going to be the one that determined the winner of the NFC West regardless. Just like the Rams, a win earns the No. 4 seed, while a loss knocks Seattle out of the playoffs. Remaining Schedule: vs. STL

San Francisco 49ers (5-10) – It should really come as no surprise to anyone that the Niners canned Head Coach Mike Singletary just hours after they were eliminated from the playoffs mathematically. Remaining Schedule: vs. ARI

Arizona Cardinals (5-10) – Can you imagine just how bad the NFC West is if the Cardinals end up finishing second in the division? That could be a reality with a win on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Remaining Schedule: @ SF

AFC East

New England Patriots (13-2) – The road to the Super Bowl goes through Foxboro officially, as the Pats locked up the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs with a win on Sunday at the Buffalo Bills. If we see QB Tom Brady and the regulars on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, it will only be as a cameo appearance for the hometown crowd to applaud their heroes, as this one is totally meaningless. Remaining Schedule: vs. MIA

New York Jets (10-5) – The Jets essentially hit the backdoor in the playoffs, earning a spot in the second season in spite of the fact that they lost on Sunday to the Chicago Bears. They know that they’ll be the No. 6 seed if the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers both win in Week 17 regardless of what happens at home against the Buffalo Bills, but if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose and the Jets win, they’ll move up to the No. 5 seed. To show how little Head Coach Rex Ryan cares about that, he’s already announced that he is sitting QB Mark Sanchez on Sunday. Remaining Schedule: vs. BUF

Miami Dolphins (7-8) – Is it just us, or are the Dolphins praying that QB Jake Locker falls to them this year in the NFL Draft? The offense has been disgraceful all season long, and two picks by QB Chad Henne in a span of just a few minutes took a ten point lead and turned it into a seven point defeat against the lowly Detroit Lions. Remaining Schedule: @ NE

Buffalo Bills (4-11) – The Bills never really stood a chance on Sunday in the home finale against the New England Patriots, and they can’t even really spoil anything against the New York Jets this weekend either. Remaining Schedule: @ NYJ

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) – Step 1 for Pittsburgh is complete, but there is still one more matter to take care of. The Steelers need to beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to win the AFC South. A loss by the Baltimore Ravens would also get the job done, though there is clearly no desire to backdoor into a first round bye like that. A loss and wins by the Ravens and the New York Jets would leave Pittsburgh as the No. 6 seed. A loss and a loss by the Jets leaves it at No. 5.Remaining Schedule: @ CLE

Baltimore Ravens (11-4) – Baltimore is going everything that it can to become the No. 2 seed in the AFC, as it needs to just keep on winning and hope that the Pittsburgh Steelers trip in Week 17. A win and a loss by the New York Jets guarantees no worse than the No. 5 seed in the playoffs, while a win and a Pittsburgh loss wins the division. The Ravens are already in the dance for certain, though. Remaining Schedule: vs. CIN

Cleveland Browns (5-10) – The Browns never stood a shot against the Baltimore Ravens, and now they are stuck taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Remaining Schedule: vs. PIT

Cincinnati Bengals (4-11) – The Bengals upset the San Diego Chargers to end their season on Sunday, and they can ensure that the Baltimore Ravens are going on the road with an upset at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 17. Remaining Schedule: @ BAL

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (9-6) – It’s win and in at this point for the Colts, but they have a lifeline now as well after extending their lead in the AFC South to one with one to play. A win and a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs wins the No. 3 seed, while a win or a loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars and a win by the Chiefs leaves Indy at No. 4. Remaining Schedule: vs. TEN

Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7) – The Jags know that they need to win on Sunday, something that they probably had to do one way or the other to win the AFC South. Sunday’s loss against the Washington Redskins really didn’t hurt them any. The only road to the second season is a win parlayed with a loss by the Indianapolis Colts, and if that were to happen, Jacksonville would be the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Remaining Schedule: @ HOU

Tennessee Titans (6-9) – The Titans were officially knocked out of the playoffs in Week 16 with a bad loss at the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, all they can do is play the role of spoiler against the Indianapolis Colts, who are likely to win the AFC South again this year. Remaining Schedule: @ IND

Houston Texans (5-10) – The newest way the Texans blew a game came this week when they were beaten by a rookie quarterback for his first career win after holding a 17 point lead at halftime and a 13 point edge going into the fourth quarter. Is there a reason that Head Coach Gary Kubiak hasn’t been fired yet? Remaining Schedule: vs. JAX

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) – Kansas City could really care less whether it ends up being the No. 3 or the No. 4 seed, but a win on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders would clinch the No. 3 seed. A loss and a win by the Indianapolis Colts would knock the Chiefs down to No. 4. Regardless though, KC can call itself the champion of the AFC West, something that was looked at as an impossibility at the outset of the season. Remaining Schedule: vs. OAK

San Diego Chargers (8-7) – In typical Chargers fashion, they were defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to knock them out of the playoffs once and for all. It probably wouldn’t have mattered, as KC was probably unlikely to lose a game down the stretch, but this really eliminated any chance and might have put Head Coach Norv Turner on a very, very hot seat as we go into next year. Remaining Schedule: @ DEN

Oakland Raiders (7-8) – Oakland knew that its season was over before getting started in Week 16, as it was bounced from the second season when the Kansas City Chiefs won earlier that day. Still, the chance to finish .500 by beating the division champs on the road in the regular season finale is too good of a chance to pass up for a team that is clearly on the rise. Remaining Schedule: @ KC

Denver Broncos (4-11) – Denver really messed up its chances of having the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft by beating the Houston Texans on Sunday, but QB Tim Tebow was all smiles after posting a huge comeback from down 17 at the half and 13 through three quarters to notch his first ever win. Remaining Schedule: vs. SD

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 @ 12:00 am (EST)
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