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Giants' Playoff Picture: Rematch With Dallas Looms Large

Second loss to Cowboys would be major loss for Big Blue

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

    The Giants keep winning, which means they continue to stay in the NFC playoff picture.

    That means we get to keep playing the "what-if" game about their postseason chances.

    Here is NFC New York's analysis of how the Giants stack up in the NFC East and in the wild-card race: 

    NFC East Standings

    1.    Eagles (6-5) — No. 4 seed in NFC
    2.    Cowboys (5-5) — No. 9 seed in NFC
    3.    GIANTS (4-6) — No. 11 seed in NFC
    4.    Redskins (3-7) — No. 13 seed in NFC

    Giants’ remaining games: vs. Dallas (Sunday), at Washington (Dec. 1), at San Diego (Dec. 8)**, vs. Seattle (Dec. 15), at Detroit (Dec. 22), vs. Washington (Dec. 29).
     
    ** — non-conference game

    Outlook: With a victory Sunday against the Cowboys, the Giants can move to within a game of first place in the NFC East. However, they would not move ahead of Dallas in the division pecking order, as the Cowboys (3-1) would still have the better division record (2-2).

    However, a Giants loss would create big problems for Big Blue. Not only would Dallas pull two games ahead of New York, but the Cowboys would earn the season sweep of the Giants, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker.

    The East-leading Eagles, who are on bye, have healthy NFC (5-2) and division (3-2) records. Their final division game is Dec. 29 at Dallas, which defeated Philadelphia in the first meeting between the clubs.

    The Redskins play their next three games at home, which gives them a chance to be spoilers, if nothing else. They are a feeble 1-6 in NFC games.

    NFC Wild-Card standings

    Wild-card teams
    5.    Panthers (7-3)
    6.    49ers (6-4)
    Other contenders
    7. Cardinals (6-4)
    8. Bears (6-4)
    9. Cowboys (5-5)
    10. Packers (5-5)
    11. GIANTS (4-6)
    12. Rams (4-6)
    13. Redskins (3-7)
    14. Buccaneers (2-8)
    15. Falcons (2-8)
    16. Vikings (2-8)

    Outlook: The Giants moved up one spot in the NFC wild-card rankings after defeating Green Bay. Moreover, they now have the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Packers. The Giants could move as high as 10th in the conference with a win vs. the Giants and a Packers loss to the Vikings on Sunday. The lowest they could fall is 12th, which would occur with a loss to Dallas and a Rams win vs. the Bears.

    Needless to say, the Giants need to be going forward, not backward, at this time of year.

    The Panthers (7-3) hold the NFC’s top wild-card spot. They are 6-2 in conference games, which is helpful for tie-breaking purposes. The Panthers still have two games against the NFC South-leading Saints.

    The 49ers’ four losses have been to Seattle (NFC’s No. 1 seed), Indianapolis (AFC’s No. 2 seed), Carolina (NFC’s No. 5 seed) and New Orleans (NFC’s No. 2 seed). Nevertheless, those losses have reduced some of the margin for error for the 2012 NFC champions. The 49ers (6-4) face an important game Monday night at Washington. Here’s an NFC game the 49ers are favored to win and should win. A misstep could be costly.

    The Cardinals (6-4) host the AFC South-leading Colts Sunday. Four of Arizona’s final six games are against clubs with winning records (Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco). The 6-4 Bears, meanwhile, play just one winning team (Philadelphia) in the last six weeks.

    If the Packers (5-5) can regain top form, they could push Chicago and Detroit in the NFC North and could add to the competition at the front of the wild-card race. They have a winnable game Sunday vs. Minnesota, then play at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Backup quarterback Scott Tolzien has played well-enough for Green Bay to compete, but turnovers have been a problem. 

    The Cowboys (5-5) have a big chance to strengthen their wild-card position in the next four weeks. Three of their next four games are against the Giants, Bears and Packers — wild-card contenders all.
     

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