With just five weeks left in the regular season, the NFL playoff picture is really shaping up. In the NFC, we saw some changes in the projected playoff bracket after Week 12. From the New York Giants going on a winning streak to three key losses, the NFC playoff structure rode the roller coaster once again. Here were the top three shifts in the playoff picture.
New York Giants at Number Four
Who would have thought that the 4-7 Giants could be a must-watch team on reddit NFL streams these days? After the Giants took down the Cincinnati Bengals 19-17 on Sunday, the Giants took sole possession of the NFC East. Despite tying the Washington Football Team for the best record in the division, the Giants own the tiebreaker. With the divisional lead, the Giants could qualify for the postseason with the fourth seed and host a playoff game.
The Giants needed to win that game to stay in the race. But they have one of the toughest remaining schedules. Over the course of their final five games, the Giants play the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Dallas Cowboys. The first four opponents could be playoff teams with legitimate winning records. Still, the Giants are an intriguing team that is now considered a playoff contender. The team will have serious question marks as quarterback Daniel Jones left the game due to injury and Colt McCoy had to finish the game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Number Six
The Bucs looked like they would be the team to challenge the Steelers Super Bowl wins. Once upon a time, Tampa Bay was the number one seed in the NFC, but after two straight losses to the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, the season is reeling at 7-5. Granted, Tampa does have just as many wins as the third seed Seahawks, but since the team is second in the division, the team is considered a Wild Card contender.
Tampa Bay had all the hype after signing Antonio Brown to form a three-headed monster with Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin. However, with two games under Brown’s belt, the team is 0-2. However, all four games left on the schedule are all winnable games. The team will face-off against the Vikings, Lions, and Falcons, twice. After a much needed bye week, Tampa could still challenge New Orleans for the NFC South title.
Arizona Cardinals at Number Seven
If this was a normal NFL season, the Cardinals would be on the outside of the playoff bracket. With a 6-5 record, the Cardinals are trending downward and their playoff stock took a significant hit after losing to the New England Patriots 20-17 on Sunday. After defeating the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago, the Cardinals looked like a contender to win the NFC West, but have since dropped two straight to the Seahawks and Patriots.
The Cardinals’ remaining schedule still includes games against the Giants, Eagles, 49ers, and two versus the Rams. The team will need to win both matchups against the Giants and Eagles, and take care of the Rams in at least one of the matchups. If the Cardinals can get to nine wins, the team will most likely qualify for the playoffs. If the Cardinals want to feel safe, the team will need to steal a game against the 49ers as well. The Minnesota Vikings are just one game behind the Cardinals and have a favorable schedule. If Arizona doesn’t want to fall out of contention, the team is going to need to start winning soon.