Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/21/12
As it stands right now, there are eight teams in the NFC with a realistic chance of making the playoffs, with six weeks left in the season. The problem is; there will be a maximum of four spots available for those eight teams.Just two weeks ago, I would have said the New York Giants were a lock to win the NFC East, but with consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, they find their lead shrinking to the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have won their last two games, at Philadelphia in week 10 and home against the Cleveland Browns in week 11. The Cowboys are only one game behind the defending Super Bowl champions in the East.Of the eight teams vying for those two division titles (Giants and Cowboys in the NFC East, Bears, Packers and Vikings in the NFC North) and the two wild-card spots (Saints, Seahawks, Buccaneers), the Cowboys have the easiest remaining schedule. Their remaining opponents win percentage is a subpar .458, compared to the Giants, who have the second hardest schedules remaining at .600. This is one more reason why the Cowboys could win the East.The hardest remaining schedule belongs to the Minnesota Vikings, .667, but they truly control their playoff chances in the North. With two games remaining against each, the Bears and the Packers, they have a number of possibilities coming out of those four games. Their next three games is a NFC North sandwich, with the Packers the middle of the home-and-home with the Bears.Currently the Vikings are third in their division at 6-4, one game behind the Packers and one game behind the Bears. If they can split wins with both teams, they will be at 8-6 and having to beat the Rams and Texans on the road. Best case scenario, they sweep both rivalries and possibly win the division. Worst case scenario, they lose all four games and hope to finish at .500.If Christian Ponder can manage the game and Adrian Peterson continues to dominate opponents run defenses, then there is no telling to how the Vikings will finish up, but it is likely they will need help and lots of it. They have shown great progress this season and give Vikings fans a reason to be positive about 2013.The other two teams competing with the Vikings for the division crown, the Bears and Packers, each have nearly identical schedules remaining (.559 and .551 respectively). As mentioned, both play the Vikings twice. Both play the Lions. The Bears play the Seahawks and Cardinals and the Packers play the Giants and Titans.Again, Minnesota is going to play a huge role in the winner of this division and it will become a lot more clearer three weeks from now. My prediction is that Chicago will win the division at 11-5 and Green Bay will take the first wild card spot.Disclaimer! Should Jay Cutler be out for an extended amount of time, then all bets are off and the Packers will win the North.Should the Vikings split with Bears and Packers scenario play out, then that would leave the Vikings, Saints, Seahawks and Buccaneers left to battle for the final playoff spot (I still believe the Giants will find a way to win the division and the Cowboys will miss the playoffs once again).Assuming the Atlanta Falcons don't suffer a major collapse, they should win the NFC South and I have the Saints finishing at 10-6 in second place and the Buccaneers finishing 9-7. Considering how the Buccaneers finished last season and they brought in former Rutgers head coach Greg Schianno at the beginning of this season, 9-7 would be a major step in the right direction.If everything plays out as I have drawn it out in this scenario, the Vikings would be eliminated at 9-7, but they too would be very happy to hang their hat on that record. At the start of the season, I didn't think the Vikings would win more than six games and I am not alone in saying that.The Saints and the Seahawks would be the two teams left standing at 10-6 for the final wild card spot. So, who makes the final spot? If it came down to divisional wins, the Saints would get the nod, which would be absolutely amazing, considering they started the season 0-4 and they were without their head coach Sean Payton all season.There is still a lot of football left to play and any number of scenarios exists, but it is fun to start thinking about the different possibilities of playoff teams, especially if your team is in the hunt. Here’s to a fun and exciting finish to the 2012 NFL regular season. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Paul George extremely critical of Pacers following trade deadline

Chris Bosh joining TNT as analyst

Cameron Payne will have chance to shine with Bulls

Danny Ainge opens up about why Celtics didn’t make a trade before deadline

Kevin Durant wants to be NBA GM or owner after playing career

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Mavericks discussing buyout with Deron Williams

T-Wolves reportedly backed away from Ricky Rubio-Derrick Rose trade

DeMarcus Cousins calls duo with Anthony Davis ‘Fire and Ice’

Reasons why 76ers got so little for Nerlens Noel emerge

John Lynch: 49ers ‘absolutely’ need to improve at QB position

Report: Raptors trade Jared Sullinger, two future picks to Suns for P.J. Tucker

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker