The New York Giants are not playing this weekend, but you will be watching football. Of course you will. You know, of course, that the Giants have played their way into a fight for the NFC East title. Whether you look at that as a positive or negative is your choice. Our purpose here is to take quick look at the NFC Playoff Picture and give you some guidance today into the games you need to pay attention to and who you need to root for.
NFC East Standings
Games That Matter
Washington Redskins (4-5) at Carolina Panthers (9-0)
Game time/TV: 1 p.m. ET/FOX
OK, I don't really know what to make of the Redskins, either. Should they be taken seriously as NFC East contenders? Probably, considering that the Giants are just a half-game in front and with a win on Sunday Washington can move into a tie with the Giants.
It would be better for the giants if Kirk Cousins remembered that he's Kirk Cousins instead that imposter who won NFC Offensive Player of the Week last week.
Of course you have to root for the Panthers, even if you can't stand Cam Newton and his dance moves. Just look away from the TV when he scores.
Dallas Cowboys (2-7) at Miami Dolphins (4-5)
Game time/TV: 1 p.m./FOX
The Cowboys have lost seven straight, but they get Tony Romo back this week. Cowboys fans will tell you they think this is when their magical run starts, especially since they won their two games with Romo at quarterback to begin the year.
The Dolphins helped the Giants out by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles last week. Root for them to do it again. A Dallas playoff run seems like an extreme long shot, but no one other than Cowboys fans wants to see Jerry Jones' team with any glimmer of hope.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
The Eagles, like the Redskins, could tie the Giants atop the NFC East with a victory. Philly will be without quarterback Sam Bradford, so their hopes will ride on Mark Sanchez.
Every Philly loss is a wonderful thing for the Giants with that Week 17 game at MetLife Stadium looming. You know what you need to do here.
Let's Get Wild
It would seem extremely unlikely that the Giants, or any other NFC East team, could sneak into one of the two wild card spots. Those are currently held by the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons, who are both 6-3. The Packers have lost three straight, however, and the Falcons have crashed back to reality after a 5-0 start, losing three of four. so, the wild card picture could get weird in the parity driven NFL.
If the Indianapolis Colts can beat the Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings can beat the Packers today, then the wild-card races get more unpredictable, and a wild-card spot may even be in reach for an NFC East team.