After starting the season 6-2, the New York Giants now find themselves at 8-6 and essentially third in the NFC East. Yet, despite their 2-4 slide over the last six games, the team still, unbelievably, controls their playoff destiny.
"[Our fate is] in our hands in the fact that we have two games left and we have to win those two games," Eli Manning said. "Whatever else happens after that, we don't know and can't control, but we can control these next two games. We know we need to win these two."
Coming out of the bye week, head coach Tom Coughlin and cornerback Antrel Rolle said it was a "six-game season" and they needed to win all six. Four games in and they're 2-2 with two games remaining. So, essentially, it becomes a two-game season for the Giants, who now legitimately need to win every remaining game or be sent home for the year.
Because the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins play in the final week of the regular season, it gives the Giants an automatic game (or half-game in the event of a tie) on one of the two. So regardless of their divisional and conference records, a tie-breaker wouldn't be needed if Big Blue wins out.
As it currently sits, the Giants are in the 9th spot in the NFC because they lose tiebreakers with both NFC East teams based on division records, but would hold tie-breaker edges in the wildcard because of a better conference mark. And both of those marks would be improved upon with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in week 17, catapulting them up to at least the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoff race after the Redskins/Cowboys game goes final.
Of course, if they win out and both the Cowboys and Redskins lose at least one game each (and, again, one of them is guaranteed to lose or tie at least one more game), they would win the NFC East.
Ahhh, the complex nature of the NFL Playoff system when tie-breakers are introduced. It's so complex, in fact, that the Giants could technically lose against the Baltimore Ravens and still not only make the playoffs, but win the division … however, that's entirely too difficult to explain as they would need a wide range of crazy things to happen.
If you're still having a difficult time understanding it, be sure to check out the Yahoo! Sports Playoff Generator to see for yourself.
Also…Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFC East, NFL, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, Washington Redskins