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New York Giants Control Their Own Fate: Breaking Down Potential Playoff Paths

December 17th, 2012 at 4:15 PM
By Dan Benton

'David Baas (64), Eli Manning (10)' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: 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.

Other Scenarios:

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.


Tags: Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago, Chicago Bears, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, Football, Minnesota, Minnesota Vikings, New York, New York Giants, NFC East, NFL, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Eagles

24 Responses to “New York Giants Control Their Own Fate: Breaking Down Potential Playoff Paths”

  1.  TuckThis says:

    My favorite line of the day belongs to Since 1963….success breeds complacency!

    I understand you can’t always be up for every single game, but too many times the Giants come out like they’d rather be anywhere but where they are. Had they actually beaten the teams they “should” have ( yes, anyone can beat anyone, I know that) we wouldn’t even be having these conversations. This has become routine…not an aberration. You can set your calendar by the Giants failures.

    I haven’t given up hope. But I can’t get too enthusiastic either. I guess I’m just like the Giants ;-)

  2.  GeezUp says:

    Finally after 15 agonizing weeks of football, The NY Giants get to play a game were a loss would end their season! I’m so excited!!!

    •  kinsho says:

      You know what, maybe a loss to Atlanta was actually a blessing. Now we’ve reached playoff football. This is ‘win or go home’ territory from here on out. Giants simply do not have the luxury to slack off anymore.

      Aye….it’s maddening that the one thing at which this team can consistently do over the course of a season is perform inconsistently. I honestly think Giants fans have the worst blood pressure compared to fans of any other team.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    They SHOULD win out.

    Okay, I hear you all. As it happens, I’m leaving town for a vacation during which time I never look at Giants 101 and won’t be back until the morning of the Eagles game. So you’ll be happy to hear you won’t hear from me. I will, meanwhile, be counting the many ways over the years that I’ve been dead on despite the peanut gallery insisting on claiming otherwise (oh, just btw, Hixon DOES beat teams’ #3 corners, it’s just that he cannot spread the field, exactly what I said would be the case and why I thought Manningham should be kept at all costs…..but acknowledging that would destroy the mythology, right?). And if I deigned to rejoin the conversation you can bet I would plan on detailing that so you could all pretend some more that it isn’t true, and that self-regard is my most important reason for noting that history. But that is highly unlikely to occur.

    I plan on joining norm, wherever he is at the moment, upon my return. No longer worth it. I stopped learning about the team from more than a very few posters months and months ago, and if I’m not learning I’m having a hard time seeing the point.

    Thank you Dan for years of pleasure and illumination. I doubt I’ll be missed much, but I’m pleased I was able to add to the collective wisdom over time so there are more balanced posters than used to be the case. Something in me changed last week when that maniac killed those kids and their teachers and administrators. My patience is lower. My sense of humor in diminished. My tolerance for censorship, internet bullying, and stupidity has disappeared. I’m not sure you’ll even post this, but frankly, I don’t really care. For the moment don’t care enough about the Giants to engage in this ish.

    •  kinsho says:

      I just hope this is you being angry and that you come back on the board when you return from your vacation.

      •  kujo says:


        I abused you yesterday and you took it and dished it back out, like a man. You didn’t run away and blame it on some national tragedy. Good on you for that.

        •  kinsho says:

          Thanks, I suppose.

          The way I saw it, we’re both just heated Giants fanatics that needed to vent. It was a good shouting match though (well, as good as a shouting match can be on the internet)

          •  kujo says:

            Glad you saw it that way. It’s never anything more than that with me. I don’t take this all the seriously. It’s entertainment.

    •  wrdag says:

      What happened to your tough skin? If your going to hang out on Mt. Olympus and tell the minions how to run their lives you can be sure to back some flak.

  4.  Levito says:

    “Whatever the case may be, the Giants’ best shot at the playoffs is to just win both of their remaining games. Period.”


  5.  wrdag says:

    Its sad to see the state of affairs on both the o-line and d-line over the last few games. In 2012 its so difficult to defend the pass and your going to creamed if you allow people to get their running game going first. The last two losses we have no answers to basic plays like “dive right and dive left”. This forces the secondary to be looking in the backfield and then its just a matter of time before you get burned on a double move. Tuck has left the building, Osi is a one trick pony and a liability versus the new breed of running QB’s. JPP must be really hurt and just sucking it up. Canty needs another 6 months to rehab his knee and Linval Joseph seems to be out of gas, not surprising with our depth. Add to those issues up front and ask our LB’s why they cant tackle and how the get washed out of so many basic running plays. We really allow opposing o-lineman to get to the second level.
    Despite the dire situation on the d-line I dont think thats the biggest issue on the team. Our D overall is just mediocre which puts it in good company…see the division winners like the Pats, Packers etc. The real issue is the o-line and its inability to give our QB a clean pocket. Its hard to fathom that the loss of Sean Locklear will be our downfall but in the pass happy 2012 NFL that could be the case. Yesterday Eli did not get any time to throw the ball period. Does that forgive his poor play…no…but your going no where long term in the playoffs if you cant give him excellent protection. The Pats/49er game last night is a preview of the playoffs, you need to be able to put up points because given the state of our d-line you can forget about shutting people out.
    Long term I hope Jerry Reese has been re-calculating his philosphy on o-lineman value based on this year. The days of finding cheap scrap heap o-line depth are officially over. We saw this coming out of training camp and its just gotten worse as the season went on. Yesterday at one point when Snee got hurt the right side of our o-line was David “turnstile” Deihl and Jim “penalty flag” Cordle…..really??!! This is what you are giving an elite QB in his prime to work with??? Number one issue to fix in 2013.

    •  Krow says:

      The thing is … I don’t feel we can draft players and get it done that way. I think we need to hit the free agent market for seasoned, veteran, accomplished OL talent. We can’t wait a couple years for some rooks to develop while Eli gets mauled. Reese isn’t going to let that happen.

      Now I know the cap is going to be tough … and we certainly have several of our own to sign. But we’re going nowhere if we can’t keep Eli standing. They’ll find the money and they’ll get it done. So like demo and I have been saying … don’t stand too close to the door once the season ends.

  6.  PittJim says:

    Thank You.

    I laughed heartily at that.

    As that renowned Philosopher, Homer J Simpson, once said, “it’s funny ’cause it’s true…..”

    •  GeezUp says:

      I happen to watch all our games with some 75-100 rabid Giants Fans in the Dallas area and after yesterday’s game that was probably the consensus of how we felt! Now that all the meaningless games are out the way, we finally get to play a real game. This team is truly something special and win or lose, we’ll still be Giants Fans so what does it matter in the grand scheme of things. God, I hope Peyton can lead Denver to the Superbowl b/c Giants Patriots Part III is really gonna suck!

  7.  kujo says:

    At different times this season, our offensive line has looked crisp, effective and capable. The starts support this argument; they’ve not given up many sacks or pressures, our running game has been intermittently effective between the 20s, and we’ve got Cruz with 1000+ yards, and Nicks with 700+ yards. Eli’s on his way to yet another 4000+ yard, 25 TD season.

    All this despite missing our left tackle for a few games, our right tackle for a few games, our backup right tackle for a few games, and our center and right guard being injured and generally unimpressive all season.

    If you’re just looking at the stats, and the injury list, you’d be forgiven for concluding that the hatred lobbed at them is unjust. But we all know that those stats are misleading. Eli’s faced tons of pressure all year, for the second season in a row. There’s not really been much attention paid to alleviating this sieve. Sure we’ve done the usual “draft-a-project/hope-for-the-best” but I think even the soberest observer would agree that this group, as currently constituted, just isn’t talented. On the whole, they’re just not very good. Like the offense itself, they’re not special at anything; they’re not a collection of super athletic types who excel with zone blocking schemes that get them out in space and make use of their quickness. They’re also not a bunch of maulers that kick a– in the short yardage game and just plain out-physical the opposition. They’re just…blah. And it shows.

    Can we be successful with them? Well, we’ve been successful in the past. But is that a philosophy for growth in the future? I just don’t think so.

    •  Krow says:

      Agreed … it’s our #1 hole.

      •  kujo says:

        Beatty- Keeper. Franchise left tackle, drafted in the 2nd round, and groomed during his first 4 years in the NFL.

        Boothe- The most consistent and reliable player on the OL this year. He’s been healthy and has outperformed my expectations for his first full year as a starter. He’s a free agent after this year and should be retained for a modest fee.

        Baas- Highly touted around here when he was signed, but has been consistently injured and “limited” since he’s gotten here. His mental struggles last season seem to have transitioned to physical ones this year, and he’s awfully expensive. Can’t imagine his $4.25 million makes his position as a starter on this team all that secure. He needs to be better, and I’ll bet Reese expresses that to him as he negotiates a restructuring of that really rich contract and drafts a mid-round center prospect this year.

        Snee- While he was once considered “elite,” he has also experienced his second consecutive “down” season. Injuries, inconsistency and a lack of raw power seem to have humbled this vet. He’s not going anywhere, but this is the beginning of the end for him. Either one of the various projects we’ve acquired in the last year will replace him, or new blood will be brought in. I would prefer a certain right guard from the soon-to-be national champion Notre Dame be brought in, we will likely wait another year for something that drastic. That’s Reese and Co.’s modus operandi.

        Diehl- Gone. Not much more to say here. We need a right tackle, and I really doubt it will be James Brewer, who hasn’t seen the field at all, or any of these project guys.

        Locklear- Performed quite well, and will hopefully recover from his ACL injury and be back next year as our swing tackle.

        Cordle- A backup, and not much else.

        Mosley- To be determined

        McCants- To be determined

        Capers- He’s the Ryan Perriloux of 2012. That probably means he’s garbage.

        And there we have it. We need talent and a concrete philosophy. Pretty each to do, but it’ll take time. As Krow alluded to the other day, we’ve got 6 years of Eli time left. Reese needs to get it together.

        •  Krow says:

          Beatty … maybe Baas … then it’s a JAG-fest. Sorry Snee.

          •  demo3356 says:

            Beatty, Boothe, Baas and Snee should be safe going into next year. We will absolutely have a new RT and probably a Guard to replace Snee In 2014

  8.  southernyankee says:

    whats up yall, new too the site and have been a giants fan for about 20 years. i have been reading your post for a couple years and finally decided to join. anyways a couple of big questions for yall. one, who s job is it to get the team to play hard. i know they are pro s and you can only do so much but at what point do you set a player on the bench when you can see he is not putting in the effort, regardless of skill. two, i have never liked killdrive and didnt play college but im pretty sure i could have come up with some plays to help our o line out. three, am i the only one who doesnt understand why they dont let eli no huddle more.

    sorry maybe too many questions but you all seem to always have more info than me.

  9.  El1SaysEEZYMang says:

    Point blank the reason our offense is so flat is because our offensive line weaknesses and lack of or deteriorated talent in all five positions are showing more and more every game. You add the fact that Bradshaw (you know, the only running back Eli and the coaches trust) is ailing so late in the season that it has to come down to him psyching himself out, again, to get up to play in and win 6 straight games. Its a bad sign when you see how well wilson did last week and he couldnt even crack 20 carries while sharing touches with a guy named “Lumpkin”, Enough said! With Bradshaw down this was suppose to be his game to gain valuable reps against a playoff caliber team but obviously Coughlin does not trust him. At this point we cannot win without Bradshaw starting, PERIOD!

    Oh and is it just me or does Victor Cruz look like he’s afraid to catch anything thrown to him now because even on the illegal hit if he made a better attempt at the ball ( it looked like he had no intentions of catching it ,he was afraid to get popped) he would have avoided the hit and possibly have gone for a big TD. Hes playin like a pu$$y, there I said it lol! And in a wierd way he deserved to take a big hit maybe he’ll get mad like his partner and show some fire out there.

    This loss was just as humiliating as the loss to the redskins last year if not worse but similar in their effect. Now the Giants have to pull it all together once again or get bumped from making the playoffs. I Think its time to give Strahan a call we need some consistency breathed into us or this jekl n hyde thing is gonna bury us.

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