The San Francisco 49ers escaped with a win over Washington Sunday afternoon, improving to 7-4 on the season. In spite of the win, the team actually slipped from No. 7 to No. 8 in the playoff standings. We're back for our run through the day that was, with an explanation for what was impacted with each win or loss on the day. Here is a rundown of the tiebreaker procedures.
Fooch's Note: Standings below updated to reflect Seattle has the final wild card spot, not Detroit. Record against common conference opponents comes before strength of victory tiebreaker, and Seattle has more of those wins. Thanks to ridiculous Seahawks smack-talker Rithmckk for clarifying that.
The NFC West remains up for grabs
The Arizona Cardinals traveled north to face the Seattle Seahawks, and were thoroughly handled. Seattle's defense had little trouble with Arizona, and the Seahawks offense did just enough to put together the win. The final score was 19-3, but even though Seattle did not pull away until the second half, Arizona just could not get much of anything going.
With the Cardinals loss, Seattle and San Francisco are now two games back. The Seahawks get the tiebreaker edge on San Francisco because of divisional record. Entering the weekend, the Seahawks were 0-1 against the NFC West, while the 49ers were 1-2. The win gives Seattle the edge, but with two games in three weeks between Seattle and San Francisco, this could change quickly.
Arizona now stands 9-2, with a 2-1 divisional record. It gets interesting moving forward given that divisional mark. Arizona travels to face Atlanta next week, but still has games at home against Seattle and Kansas City, and then games at San Francisco and St. Louis. The 49ers host Seattle this Thursday, and then travel to face Seattle a couple weeks later. There is a whole lot that can happen between now and Week 17.
Well, Sunday Night Football certainly was a disappointment. The New York Giants took a 27-23 lead on the Dallas Cowboys with three minutes remaining. And then proceeded to yack it up. Tony Romo sliced through the Giants defense with ease, and the Cowboys managed a go-ahead touchdown with a minute remaining.
The win improved Dallas to 8-3, and has them tied with the Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East. The Eagles retain the tiebreaker due to a 2-0 division record, but two games remain between Dallas and Philadelphia. The first game is this Thursday on Thanksgiving, so this thing could change really quickly.
The Eagles won in spite of Mark Sanchez, right?
I honestly do not know what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles. They had no trouble with the Tennessee Titans, but that was more because the Titans are awful, right? Mark Sanchez threw for 307 yards, but even with his 43 attempts, it felt like this was more about the ground game and the running backs. What do people think about them?
The 49ers have the tiebreaker edge over the Eagles and Cowboys, thanks to their wins over both teams. However, for now that does not matter. Even if the Cowboys had lost on Sunday, the 49ers would still not be able to use the head-to-head tiebreaker because of division record tiebreaker with Seattle. When more than two teams are tied for a wild card spot, the first tiebreaker is to cut it down to one team from each division. Seattle gets that edge over San Francisco, but currently loses tiebreakers to the Cowboys (head-to-head) and the Lions (strength of victory). This will all change plenty over the coming weeks.
The NFC North race is interesting
Losing on the road to the New England Patriots is not the end of the world. The Lions were beaten 34-9 as the Patriots are absolutely rolling right now. Unfortunately for the Lions, the Green Bay Packers are playing some solid ball now. The Packers went on the road to beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-21. It was not the most aesthetically pleasing win, but divisional road games are never easy. Green Bay improved to 8-3, and 4-1 in the division. The Lions beat them in Detroit, so there is one huge game left between these two teams. My money is on the Lions slipping further down.
Monday Night ugliness
Week 12 comes to a close with a pair of Monday football games. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets square off in Detroit at 4 p.m. PT on CBS. The game was moved because of snow in Buffalo, but if you have Sunday Ticket, you might be able to watch the game. The Monday Night Football matchup is New Orleans vs. Baltimore. The Saints are 4-6, and awin would move them a full game up on Atlanta in the NFC South. A Saints loss would drop them to 4-7, and move the Falcons back into first place at 4-7. I am clearly praying for the latter.
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
2. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3)
4. New Orleans Saints (4-6)
5. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
6. Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
7. Detroit Lions (7-4)
8. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
9. Chicago Bears (5-6)
10. Minnesota Vikings (4-7)
11. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
12. St. Louis Rams (4-7)
13. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1)
14. New York Giants (3-8)
15. Washington (3-8)
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)