How Do the New York Giants Fit in to the NFL Playoff Picture After Week 12?

Tamer ChammaContributor IINovember 26, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 25:  Running back Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown in the second quarter past cornerback Casey Hayward #29 of the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on November 25, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Any conversation around the Giants' current status in the NFL playoff picture has to start with whether or not they will actually make the playoffs.

Sure they have a two-game lead in the NFC East over the Redskins and Cowboys with only five games remaining. A division title is not a definite, however, unless they defeat the Redskins next Monday night in Washington. If New York loses that game they would suddenly lead Washington by only one game.

To make matters worse, the Redskins would own the tiebreaker with a 3-1 division record compared to the Giants' 2-3 mark. A tie atop the division after 16 games would be a real possibility if the Skins win when you compare their schedule to the Giants over the last quarter of the season.

Now if the Giants do pull out the victory the division race would be over. What about the Cowboys, you ask?

Well they would lead them by at least two games with four remaining and Dallas' schedule the rest of the way is sneaky hard. Plus they are the Cowboys – exceeding expectations and pleasantly surprising their fans is not exactly their strength.

Giants' current playoff chances: 75 percent simply because even if they lose to the Redskins they would still be no worse than 50/50 to get into the postseason.

Assuming Big Blue does make the playoffs they have virtually no chance of grabbing either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and a first round bye. They currently trail the conference-leading Falcons by three games and the second place 49ers by 1.5 games.

Even though the 49ers deficit does not appear overwhelming on the surface it is when you analyze their remaining five games.

They are virtually guaranteed at least three more wins with matchups left against the Rams in St. Louis and Dolphins and Cardinals at home. If San Francisco goes just 3-2 the rest of the way they would end the regular season at 11-4-1. That would mean the Giants would have to win out in order to pass them for the second seed, which is obviously highly unlikely.

Jumping up from the No. 4 seed, where they currently stand, into the No. 3 slot is possible, however.

Chicago, the current No. 3 seed with an 8-3 record, has three straight games against winning teams in the Seahawks, Vikings and Packers followed by back-to-back road games versus the Cardinals and Lions to close out the season. If they lose two of those games they would be 11-5 overall with an 8-4 conference record. If the 7-4 Giants can win four of their last five they would leapfrog the Bears due to a better conference record (currently 6-2 so it would be no worse than 9-3 if they go 11-5).

Realistically though there isn't much of a difference between being the No. 3 or No. 4 seed for New York.

The No. 3 seed likely means a wild card game at home against the Seahawks, Bucs or Vikings followed by a trip to San Francisco and Atlanta. If they stay in the No. 4 spot they'll probably host the Packers, travel to play the Falcons and face either the 49ers or Bears on the road in the NFC Championship game.

Either path to a Super Bowl is difficult but doable for a team can win anywhere against anyone. Sunday night's complete domination of Green Bay was just the latest reminder of this fact.