The Ravens are already in. The Giants hope to join them. Baltimore, which has clinched a playoff berth, can win the AFC North with a victory. The defending Super Bowl champions will assure themselves at least a postseason spot with wins in their final two games.
“If we win two games, we’re going to be in the playoffs,” says Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “That’s what we have to focus on. Our team knows the circumstances very well. It is a playoff situation for us. We now have to win to have the opportunity to go to the playoffs. We’ve responded to that in the past. We’re going to have to respond to that again.”
Baltimore has lost three in a row after a 9-2 start, but the Ravens clinched a playoff spot last week.
“We’ve got work to do,” says Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh. “We’re going to fight like crazy to become the team we’re capable of becoming. We’re not that team yet. It’s a long season, but all of our goals are in front of us.”
While seven postseason berths have been clinched – Atlanta (NFC South), Baltimore, Denver (AFC West), Green Bay (NFC North), Houston (AFC South), New England (AFC East) and San Francisco – there are still 19 teams overall in contention for a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Three divisions – AFC North, NFC East, NFC West – are going down to the wire.
“These are the circumstances you want to be in,” says New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. “You want to be fighting to make it in the playoffs. That’s just football and you understand it’s tough to make the playoffs. You’ve got to work. You’ve got to win games. You’ve got to win important games. Our mindset is that the playoffs have started.”
In the NFC, Washington and Dallas, who meet in Week 17, are each in control of the division in the NFC East. San Francisco, who has already secured a playoff berth, is in control in the NFC West. Seattle, Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are each in control for at least a playoff berth. Atlanta and San Francisco are in control for a first-round bye with the Falcons being in control for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
In the AFC, Baltimore controls the AFC North and can clinch the division title with a win. Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are each in control for at least a playoff berth. Houston and Denver are in control for a first-round bye with the Texans being in control for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
NFC EAST: Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants remain in contention for the NFC East division title. Both the Redskins and Cowboys, who meet in Week 17, are in control in the division race.
NFC WILD CARD: Nine teams remain in contention for a Wild Card spot. San Francisco has already clinched a playoff berth and currently leads the NFC West. Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are currently tied for the lead in the NFC East. A breakdown of the NFC Wild Card race:
* San Francisco has already clinched a playoff berth and currently leads the NFC West
** Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are currently tied for the lead in the NFC East
Seattle, Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are each in control for at least a playoff berth.
courtesy NFL media relations dept