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NFC Playoff Picture: Giants still clinging to slim chance

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The Giants can still make the NFC playoffs, although the likelihood of them doing that isn't very good.

Eli Manning and the Giants had reason to smile Sunday night
Eli Manning and the Giants had reason to smile Sunday night
Rob Carr

The New York Giants are not completely out of the NFC playoff race, although their chances of getting into the post-season tournament remain slim.

Let's look at the various NFC playoff scenarios for the Giants. These are unofficial, but the best I can do in figuring them out.

[Related: Complete NFL playoff picture]

The Giants can win the NFC East outright if they win all four of their remaining games to reach 9-7 and both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles (currently 7-5) lose three of their remaining four games. That scenario is complicated by the fact that the Cowboys and Eagles meet in the final week of the regular season.

If Dallas gets to nine wins the Giants cannot win the division even if they also get to nine wins. The Cowboys and Eagles hold tie-breaker advantages over the Giants that would knock the Giants out. If the Eagles win the division and end up tied with the Giants in the division tie-breaker, a possibility, then "common games" could come into play. In games vs. common opponents, including division games, the Giants are 4-5 with three to play. The Eagles are 5-3 with four to play.

The Giants are still not eliminated from wild-card contention, although that path to the playoffs seems unlikely. The Carolina Panthers (9-3) hold one wild-card spot and have a victory over the Giants. The San Francisco 49ers (8-4) hold the other spot. The 49ers' conference record of 5-3 gives them an advantage currently over the Giants, 4-5 in conference play.

The Eagles and Cowboys are also ahead of the Giants, currently seeded 11th in the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals (7-5), Chicago Bears (6-6) and Green Bay Packers (5-6-1) are all currently ahead of the Giants. The St. Louis Rams are 5-7, but the Giants hold the tie-breaker over St. Louis because the Giants' conference record is better than the Rams' conference record of 2-6.

The Giants actually hold the conference tie-breaker advantage currently over the Cardinals, Bears and Packers. The Cardinals and Bears are 3-6 in conference games while Green Bay is 3-5-1 including a loss to the Giants.

Reaching the playoffs thus remains unlikely -- Playoffstatus.com puts the Giants' chance at 1 percent -- but should the Giants somehow get to 9-7 it isn't impossible.