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Saturday November 29, 2008 8:54 pm

NFC Playoff Predictions

The playoffs are looming large for several teams in the NFC.  As of this writing, the Arizona Cardinals are the team who seem to have their division wrapped up with a 7-5 record over the second place San Francisco 49ers who are 3-8. The New York Giants are right on the cusp of wrapping up the NFC East with a 10-1 record, two and a half games over the second place Dallas Cowboys who are 8-4. In the NFC North, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are knotted with 6-5 records, one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers who are 5-6. In the NFC South, the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are knotted at 8-3 for first place, one game ahead of the Atlanta Falcons who are 7-4 and two games ahead of the 6-5 New Orleans Saints.

What follows is just one writer’s garden theory on who will win their respective divisions and wild card teams.

NFC East

With only five games left on the schedule, look for the New York Giants to wrap up the division with two, possibly three, more wins. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are running neck and neck. A win over the Giants tomorrow puts the Redskins into a virtual tie for second with the Cowboys with 8-4 records. Over the next four weeks, the Cowboys play the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Giants, the Baltimore Ravens and finish off with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins take on the Giants, the Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, the Eagles and the 49ers. Because the Redskins play a softer schedule over the last four weeks, look for them to snag a wild card spot.

NFC North

This one is a no-brainer. Whoever wins the division makes the playoffs. The Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Green Bay Packers are all in the hunt for both the divisional crown and/or a wild card seed. The Packers should score wins over the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans, but it won’t be enough to win the division nor score a wild card berth. The Bears take on the Vikes this Sunday in Minnesota, then play the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New Orleans Saints, the Packers and close out the season with a road game at Houston. The Vikings tangle with the Lions, Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants. Look for the Bears to post three wins while the Vikings split their last four games. Who takes the division and makes the playoffs? A Bears win pretty much seals it while a Vikings win could force a one game playoff. Best bet the Bears.

NFC South

Take it from the bottom up. The New Orleans Saints, currently 6-5, will post two more wins over the Lions and the Falcons to end up 8-8. The 7-4 Atlanta Falcons play the San Diego Chargers, the Saints, The Tampa Bay Bucs, Minnesota and the St. Louis Rams. Look for three Falcon wins against two losses. Close, but no cigar. A 10-6 record will probably leave Atlanta one game shy of a wild card spot. For their part, the Carolina Panthers play the Packers at Green Bay, then tangle with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay, the New York Giants and the Saints.  The showdown will come when they play the Bucs at home next Monday night. The winner clinches the division while the loser snags a wild card spot. Who takes the NFC South crown and who wins the wild card? Pick ‘em.

NFC West

All the Arizona Cardinals need is two more wins to wrap up the division. However in this case, the Cardinals will be one and done in the playoffs.

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