As much as the New York Giants wanted to clinch their first playoff berth since 2011 on the field in Philadelphia on Thursday, they know it doesn't really matter how they get in - just as long as they get in. And they can still get in four different ways this weekend, before they even have to think about playing their finale in Washington on Jan. 1.
The Giants will clinch a playoff berth if …
--The Atlanta Falcons LOSE at Carolina on Saturday (1 p.m.)
--OR the Green Bay Packers LOSE OR TIE at home against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday (1 p.m.)
--OR the Tampa Bay Buccaneers LOSE OR TIE at New Orleans on Saturday (4:25 p.m.)
--OR the Detroit Lions LOSE OR TIE in Dallas on Monday night.
That's it. And it's still true that the only way the Giants don't get into the playoffs is if they end up in an unlikely three-way tie for two wild-card spots with the Bucs and the Lions. Chances are they'll be in long before they have to worry about any of that.
Here's another look at the NFC wild-card race:
- Giants (10-5)
- Packers (8-6)
- Buccaneers (8-6)
- Redskins (7-6-1)
- Vikings (7-7)
- Saints (6-8)
Last game: at Washington (7-6-1), Sunday, Jan. 1
Outlook: They are still a virtual lock to make the playoffs, but with the division out of reach they'll have to go on the road. They'll likely get the help they need to get in this weekend. A win in their finale and they're the No. 5 seed.
This week: vs. Vikings (7-7), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Remaining schedule: at Detroit (9-5)
Outlook: If they win their last two games they win the NFC North and could host the Giants in the first-round of the playoffs. Their eyes are set on that now after four straight wins.
This week: at New Orleans (6-8), Saturday, 4:25 p.m.
Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers (6-8)
Outlook: If they had held on to beat the Cowboys on Sunday night things would've been a lot easier. They're still in decent position, but they need some help.
This week: at Chicago (3-11), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Remaining schedule: vs. Giants (10-5)
Outlook: That was a big loss to the Panthers on Monday night. They're now chasing too many teams, and probably need too much help to sneak in.
This week: at Packers (8-6), 1 p.m.
Remaining schedule: vs. Bears (3-11)
Outlook: Remember when they were 5-0? They're 2-7 since then and can't pull out of their tailspin. They're a longshot, but one win over the Packers and their whole outlook could change.
This week: vs. Buccaneers (8-6), 4:25 p.m.
Remaining schedule: at Atlanta (9-5)
Outlook: It would take a miracle and a lot of teams to collapse in front of them to save them now.