2012 NFL Playoffs Predictor

Vikings surge into postseason field as Giants fall out of the picture

Originally Published: December 18, 2012
By Nik Bonaddio and Keith Goldner | numberFire

Another week gone, and the NFC playoff picture keeps getting more complicated. There are five 8-6 teams in the NFC, including the new NFC East division leaders, the Washington Redskins. After looking downright dominant against the No. 1-seeded Houston Texans last week, the New England Patriots were almost embarrassed at home on Sunday night before making a furious, but ultimately futile, comeback. Russell Wilson helped the Seattle Seahawks put up another 50-spot, and they are now sitting pretty atop the NFC wild-card race.

And speaking of complications ... note that in the scenario below, the Minnesota Vikings would be the final team to make the playoffs from the NFC. That's because if the Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Chicago Bears all finished at 9-7, the Vikings would win the tiebreaker. But there's a caveat, which you will see reflected in the playoff odds: Our projection system produces fractional results for wins and losses, which we round up for display purposes in this file. For example, if a team was projected to win two games at 51 percent each, rather than projecting them at 2-0, they will be projected at 1-1 because they would be expected to win 1.02 games -- this allows for a much more accurate projection of the final results. Under that method, the Vikings project a season mark of 8.7 wins, and thus reach 9-7 after rounding up. But our projections show them as the least likely of the four contenders to actually reach that ninth win. They are also hindered by their inability to win a division title, which is still a possibility for the Giants and Cowboys, hence lower playoff odds for the Vikings, despite their current seeding.

Below is a projection of who will be in this year's playoffs. Be sure to come back once the postseason begins, as we reset the bracket and tell you who has the best chance to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.