Although the New York Giants currently find themselves in the 9th spot amongst all NFC teams, they are still in complete control of their playoff fate. The easiest path to the playoffs it the most simple one: win out and you're in as at least a sixth seed. However, there are many other paths the team could take and many other outcomes beyond just a wildcard spot. We're going to break (some of) them down for you.
Winning Out (wildcard):
The first and most obvious path to the playoffs is winning out. If the Giants do, they will finish with a 10-6 record (8-4 conference record) and own tie-breakers over all of the other wildcard contenders. This scenario is made possible by the week 17 game between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. Even if each wins their week 16 game, losing in week 17 would eliminate them from the playoffs (barring some other bizarre occurrences we won't break down because this is just about the Giants).
Winning out (division):
If the Giants win out and either Dallas (vs. New Orleans Saints) or Washington (vs. Philadelphia Eagles) lose in week 16, it would setup a scenario in week 17 where, if the loser of the previous week wins in week 17, the Giants would then win the division based on overall record. To make that easier to understand, if the Redskins lose to the Eagles and beat the Cowboys, they will finish with a 9-7 record. If the Cowboys lose to the Saints and then beat the Redskins, they will finish with a 9-7 record. The Giants would be 10-6.
A second, more unrealistic scenario could also come into play here. If the Giants win out, both the Cowboys and Redskins win in week 16 and then tie in week 17, the Giants would also win the division. They would finish 10-6, while the Cowboys and Redskins would finish 9-6-1.
Going 1-1 (wildcard):
Believe it or not, the Giants could technically go 1-1 over the next two games and still make the playoffs. It's unlikely, but possible and here's how…
The Giants could lose to either the Baltimore Ravens or Eagles and still make the playoffs as a wildcard if the Chicago Bears lose to either the Arizona Cardinals or Detroit Lions, the Cowboys lose to the Saints in week 16 and then either lose or tie the Redskins in week 17, and the Minnesota Vikings lose to either the Houston Texans or Green Bay Packers.
Going 1-1 (division)
There are two potential divisional scenarios that could play out if the Giants finish 1-1. If they lose to the Ravens in week 16 and beat the Eagles in week 17, they would win the NFC East if Philadelphia beats Washington in week 16, New Orleans beat Dallas in week 16 and then the Cowboys and Redskins tie in week 17. The same scenario would be true if the Giants beat the Ravens in week 16 and lost to the Eagles in week 17.
Clinching or Elimination Scenarios for Week 16:
Clinch – Giants could clinch a playoff berth this week if they beat the Ravens, Washington loses or ties, Dallas loses, Minnesota loses and Chicago loses. They would also clinch if they defeat Baltimore, Washington loses, Chicago loses, Minnesota loses and New Orleans ties with Dallas.
Elimination – Giants would be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss, Washington win, Dallas win and Seattle win or tie.
There are a wide range of other scenarios where the Giants could make the playoffs without winning either of their remaining games, but would need to tie at least one and have a whole lot of other things happen, but we're not going to dive into that unless it comes into play for week 17.
We also likely missed some of the scenarios above with teams like the Vikings or Bears possibly tying and other strength of schedule breakdowns, but these are the most realistic.
Whatever the case may be, the Giants' best shot at the playoffs is to just win both of their remaining games. Period.
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