Week 12 officially started this morning. Coming into the final stretch of the season, the NFC playoff picture is… Interesting.
Before today, the NFC playoff standings were as followed:
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) (2-1 Division)
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
WC1: Dallas Cowboys (7-3) (2-1 Division)
WC2: New York Giants (7-3) (0-1 Division)
WC3: Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
While the opening game between the Bills and Lions didn’t have stakes for the NFC playoff race. It was the remaining two games that were most impactful.
Cowboys Beat Giants 28-20
The game for most of the marbles. 2nd place in the NFC East is up for grabs. With both the Cowboys and the Giants coming in at 7-3, it was good that one of these teams had to lose. I would have rather watched the Cowboys lose today, but both of these teams showed something. Quite honestly, the Cowboys look as dangerous as they did with Cooper Rush at Quarterback.
With the Giants missing Adoree Jackson, Fabian Moreau, Cor’Dale Flott and Aaron Robinson in their secondary, they still managed to hold Dak Prescott to 261 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 Interceptions. For what it’s worth, Cooper Rush posted 215 Passing Yards, 1 Touchdown and 0 Interceptions in week 3.
The Cowboys looked unstoppable in their 40-3 rout of the Minnesota Vikings last week. Holding Justin Jefferson to 33 yards, just a week after his highlight reel catch against the Bills. Suddenly, a team led by Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley were able to do more than the 8-1 Vikings could. Sure the Giants were down 2 scores until a garbage time touchdown with 8 seconds left put them within 8 points, but if you can stop Justin Jefferson, I hope you could stop Isaiah Hodgins or Richie James.
With the Eagles having a 2 game lead on 2nd place in the NFC East, a win against the Packers should help the Eagles finish the season as the NFC East Champs. Their ‘toughest’ stretch of the season ends next week against the Titans.
Vikings Hold On Against Patriots 33-26
The Minnesota Vikings got absolutely embarrassed last week against the Cowboys. For what is now a 9-2 team. There is times they look as well put together as the Giants. Sloppy one score games against bottom teams in the league. squeaking out a last minute Field Goal to come out with the win. The Vikings have won 8 of their 9 games by one score. With wins against backup quarterbacks, and underperforming teams. Hard to believe the Eagles are the only successful NFC team getting hate for an easy schedule.
It’s amazing that this team can look as explosive as the Bills, and as flat as the Broncos the next. Either way, they keep getting wins and that could hold a problem if the Eagles want to hold on to that first seed.
Now 9-2, the Vikings are only back 1 game on the Eagles (current) 9-1 record. Winning the NFC East is priority #1 for the Eagles, but if they were able to clinch a playoff bye. It will be by keeping ahead of the unconvincing Vikings. A team they shutdown in Week 2.
With Philly set to play one last game in Primetime against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Can they come out on top one last time?
Happy Thanksgiving, and Go Birds!
Photo Credit: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images