When the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, it officially eliminated the New York Giants from the NFC East chase. However, it did not end their playoff chase, which at 1-7 seemed like a laughable and unrealistic goal.
Since wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said the goal was to run the table and finish 9-7, the Giants have gone 4-1, improving their record to 5-8 on the season.
As things sit, the Giants are 1.5 games back of the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoffs, and one scenario remains in which they can make it in as a wildcard and visit the Chicago Bears.
Ironically, it was that Cowboys win on Sunday that actually kept that scenario alive. It was the second choice to a division title obviously, but by the Cowboys beating the Eagles and then the Seattle Seahawks dropping the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, a very small potential path was carved out for Big Blue.
With those two results now in the books, here is exactly what would have to happen for the Giants to get to the playoffs. And, remarkably, it’s not all that far-fetched.
Giants would have to win out (vs. Titans, at Colts, vs. Cowboys).
Panthers would have to lose two games (vs. Saints, vs. Falcons, at Saints).
Eagles would have to lose two games (at Rams, vs. Texans, at Washington).
Vikings would have to lose two games (vs. Dolphins, at Lions, vs. Bears).
Packers would need to lose one game (at Bears, at Jets, vs. Lions).
Yes, it’s a lot of dominos that would have to fall in the exact right order, but arguably, the most difficult thing about the above scenario is the Giants winning out. Wins over the Titans, Colts and Cowboys will not come easy.
However, it’s entirely possible the Cowboys have locked up the NFC East come Week 17 and won’t play their starters. That would take a slight bit of the edge off for Big Blue.
Moreover, Carolina losing two against the Saints (x2) and Falcons hardly seems far-fetched for a team that has lost five straight, including a game to the Browns. It’s also not hard to see the Eagles losing two in a three-game stretch against the now very hungry Rams, a Texans team looking for a divisional title an NFC East battle with the Redskins, which is always a toss-up.
The Vikings, meanwhile, are fading and have the Dolphins, hot off a huge upset victory over the New England Patriots, and then divisional games against the Lions and Bears. Two losses here may be more unlikely, even for the under-performing Vikings, than two by the Panthers and Eagles.
Lastly, the Packers losing one of their final three games is entirely possible, but they have a relatively easy slate. The Bears will be their toughest foe this coming week, but after that, it’s potentially smooth sailing against the Jets and Lions in a Week 17 game.
The fun part of this scenario is that the Giants can remain in the playoff hunt going into Week 16 so long as they win this coming weekend against the Titans. If they do that, they can not be mathematically eliminated until December 23. And who could have imagined that when they were 1-7?