Week 17 NFC Playoff Contenders – Record against winning teams

Note: I am counting the Commanders as a winning team, even with a .500 record

13-2 Eagles: 4-2 against winning teams

Wins: Vikings, Commanders, Cowboys and Giants

Losses: Commanders, Cowboys

Eagles only losses have come against winning teams. They have beaten every team with a losing schedule. They have two games remaining against the Saints and Giants. A win against the Saints this week will allow them to rest their starters against the Giants, having wrapped up the NFC East division, and the #1 seed in the NFL. But the Giants may also be resting their starters if they secure the #6 seed this coming weekend, and in a week 18 game of Eagles backup players against Giants backup players, the Eagles should be favored to win.

Likely Final Record: 15-2

12-3 Vikings: 4-2 against winning teams

Wins: Dolphins, Commanders, Bills, Giants

Losses: Eagles, Cowboys

The Vikings only losses against winning teams have been to arguably the two best teams in the NFC. Their other loss came on the road against the surging Lions. They have two games remaining against the Packers and Bears, and should be favored to win both of them. The Vikings must keep winning to secure the #2 seed, and have a chance at the #1 seed if the Eagles falter.

Likely Final Record: 14-3

11-4 49ers: 3-1 against winning teams

Wins: Chargers, Dolphins, Commanders

Losses: Chiefs

The wins that the 49ers have against winning teams are against teams at or barely over .500, and they were blown out by the only team they’ve faced that has a potent offense. It may currently be sexy to pick the 49ers, but they’re impressive defense may be a bit of an illusion, as they haven’t played many potent offenses this season. They have two games remaining against the weak Raiders and Cardinals.

Likely Final Record: 13-4

11-4 Cowboys: 6-1 against winning teams

Wins: Bengals, Giants, Commanders, Vikings, Giants, Eagles

Losses: Eagles

The Cowboys have only lost 1 game against a team with a winning record, while winning 6, which is easily the most impressive record against teams with winning records. Other than the loss to the Eagles when Cooper Rush was playing QB, the Cowboys have lost 3 games to teams with 7-8 records, all of whom are pushing to get into the playoffs. The Cowboys have two games remaining against the struggling Titans, and the Commanders. If the Eagles tie up the NFC east title this coming weekend, the Cowboys won’t have a reason to play their starters against the Commanders in week 18, as they will be locked into the #5 seed.

Likely Final Record: 12-5 (if they rest their starters against the Commanders in week 18)

8-6-1 Giants: 2-4-1 against winning teams

Wins: Ravens, Commanders

Losses: Cowboys, Cowboys, Eagles, Vikings

Ties: Commanders

The Giants can secure the #6 seed this weekend with a win over the lowly Colts. That could make their final game against the Eagles pointless, since both teams can secure their seeds in the playoffs this weekend.

Likely Final Record: 9-7-1

7-7-1 Commanders: 1-5-1 against

Wins: Eagles

Losses: Eagles, Cowboys, Vikings, Giants, 49ers

Ties: Giants

The Commanders claim to fame this season is ending the unbeaten streak of the Eagles. Other than that, they have a dismal record against winning teams. With two games remaining against the Browns and Cowboys, they need to win both of them to secure a winning season, and the #7 playoff seed. However, if the Eagles win this weekend, the Cowboys could choose to rest their starters in week 18, giving the Commanders the opportunity to become the 4th NFC East team to qualify for the playoffs.

Likely Final Record: 9-7-1 (if the Cowboys rest their starters in week 18)

7-8 Buccaneers: 1-4 against winning teams

Wins: Cowboys

Losses: Chiefs, Ravens, 49ers, Bengals

The Bucs lone win against good teams came in Week 1 against the Cowboys, who stumbled out of the gate. Since that time, they’ve been very unimpressive. Their next game against the resurgent Panthers under interim coach Steve Wilkes is likely to be a division deciding game. A win against the Panthers, along with a win by the Eagles over the Saints will secure the NFC South Division, and the #4 seed in the playoffs. But a loss could see them on the outside of the playoffs. Fortunately, the game against the Panthers is at home, and they still have Tom Brady at the helm, If they win this weekend, they could rest their starters in Week 18. But if they lose, then they’ll need to win in week 18 against the Falcons, and count on the Saints to beat the Panthers to get into the playoffs.

Likely Final Record: 8-9

7-8 Seahawks: 2-3 against winning teams

Wins: Chargers, Giants

Losses: 49ers, 49ers, Chiefs

The Seahawks have had a surprising run in what was widely considered to be a rebuilding year. With two games remaining against the QB-less Jets, and the struggling Rams, they should be favored to win both games. But the Seahawks are not a lock to win against the Jets, who are also hoping to get into the playoffs, and the Rams game is a divisional game. Even if they win out, the Seahawks will need the Giants to lose both their final games, or the Commanders to lose at least one game. They also will need at least one loss by the Packers, because if both the Packers and Seahawks win out, then the Packers win the tie breaker with a better conference record (7-5) against the Seahawks (6-6). It is possible that the Seahawks and the Packers could make the playoffs if the Giants lose both their remaining games, the Commanders lose one game, and both the Seahawks and Packers win out. What the Seahawks need is for the Vikings to beat the Packers this week, and the Cowboys to beat the Commanders next week. Then, winning out will secure them the final playoff spot.

Likely Final Record: 9-8

7-8 Lions: 3-5 against winning teams

Wins: Commanders, Giants, Vikings

Losses: Eagles, Vikings, Cowboys, Dolphins, Bills

The Lions have easily had the toughest schedule with 8 of their games coming against winning teams. Their offense has been spectacular at home, but not so good away from home – especially in cold weather. With two games remaining at home against the Bears, and away against the Packers, they will likely only be favored against the Bears. The loss last week against the Panthers really hurt their playoff chances. They need to win out to eliminate the Packers, and count on two losses by the Giants, or at least one loss by the Commanders. If both the Seahawks and the Lions win out, they will be in a tie with 9-8 records. The Seahawks beat the Lions during the season, giving them the tie breaker, so the Lions also need the Seahawks to lose a game.

Likely Final Record: 8-9​

7-8 Packers: 2-5 against winning teams

Wins: Cowboys, Dolphins

Losses: Vikings, Giants, Commanders, Bills, Eagles

The Packers have the luxury of having their final two games at home against the Vikings and Lions. But the Vikings will be playing this week to stay ahead of the 49ers in order to secure the #2 seed. So, it will be hard to win against them. The Lions don’t play well away from home or in cold weather, so the Packers should be favorites to win against them in the final game of the season. If the Commanders lose one game, or if the Giants lose two games, the Packers can secure the final playoff spot by winning out. Their better divisional record (7-5) would give them the tie breaker over the Seahawks (6-6) if both teams finish with 9-8 records.

Likely Final Record: 8-9

6-9 Panthers: 0-4 against winning teams

Wins: None

Losses: Giants, 49ers, Bengals, Ravens

The Panthers control their destiny. If they win their final two games against the Buccaneers and Saints, they will be the NFC South Division Champion, and host a playoff game against the likely 5th seed Cowboys. A loss against the Buccaneers will eliminate them from the playoffs. If they beat teh Buccaneers, but then lose to the Saints, they could still be division winners if the Buccaneers lose to the Falcons in Week 18, and the Saints lose to the Eagles in week 17. If the Buccaneers lose out, and Panthers and Saints split their final two games, each team will finish with a 7-10 record. The Panthers would win the division with a better division record (4-2) over the Buccaneers (3-3) and the Saints (3-3).

Likely Final Record: 7-10

6-9 Saints: 0-4 against winning teams

Wins: None

Losses: Vikings, Bengals, Ravens, 49ers

The Saints are a very long shot to get into the playoffs. They need the Buccaneers to lose against the Panthers and Falcons, and they need to win their final two games against the Eagles and Panthers to win the NFC South division with an 8-9 record, while the Buccaneers and Panthers end with 7-10 records. It is unlikely that they beat the Eagles this coming week, but if they do, both the Cowboys and Eagles will be playing their starters in week 18, trying to secure the NFC East. This could change the wildcard scenarios for several teams. But the only path for the Saints to make the playoffs is by winning the NFC South division outright.

Likely Final Record: 6-11​

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