Week 13: NFC Wild Card Watch

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith walks the sidelines during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 27, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Well now the Wild Card race is getting interesting. The Lions are currently out of the playoffs, the Packers are this close to clinching the division, and the Cardinals are somehow in the top ten. Yes, there is some disparity at the bottom of the chart.

The best thing, though, is the Bears continue to hold their destiny in Caleb Hanie's hands. With five games left, anything is possible right now. Check after the jump for the top 10, rooting interests, a look at the common games with the Lions, and some notes about teams chances.

Rank Last Wk Team Ovr Conf Div Streak
1 1 Green Bay Packers (11-0) (9-0) (4-0) 11W
2 2 San Francisco 49ers (9-2) (7-1) (2-0) 1L
3 3 New Orleans Saints (8-3) (5-3) (3-1) 3W
4 4 Dallas Cowboys (7-4) (5-2) (2-1) 4W
5 6 Chicago Bears (7-4) (6-3) (2-2) 1L
6 5 Atlanta Falcons (7-4) (5-4) (1-2) 2W
7 5 Detroit Lions (7-4) (5-4) (2-2) 1L
8 8 New York Giants (6-5) (3-4) (1-2) 3L
9 9 Seattle Seahawks (5-7) (4-4) (2-1) 1W
10 - Arizona Cardinals (4-7) (4-5) (2-2) 1W

Yeah, that's the Cardinals at number 10. They're 4-7, and since it seems unlike that a 9-7 team has a chance at the playoffs, they're probably done. But that doesn't mean they won't keep fighting.

Rooting Interests

Chiefs at Bears - Again, no explanation needed.

Packers at Giants - Keep pushing those Giants down.

Falcons at Texans - This potential loss is a big help in the Bears standings.

Cowboys at Cardinals - Bears hold tiebreakers over Giants. Not so much to the Cowboys.

Lions at Saints - a two-fer--a Saints win with a Falcons loss keeps the Saints out of the wild card race, and could push the Lions into a big one-game hole.

Common Games

Hopefully we get to a point soon where this chart will be unnecessary, but until then, here's how the Bears and Lions common games currently match up.

Opponent Bears Lions
Packers L L
Packers - -
Vikings W W
Vikings - -
Raiders L -
Chiefs - W
Broncos - W
Chargers W -
Saints L -
Panthers W W
Bucs W W
Falcons W L

Bears 5-3
Lions 5-2

As you can see, the Bears are in a situation where the Lions could still edge them out in this chart. A Bears win against the Chiefs this week, coupled with a Lions loss to the Saints, would be a distinct bonus for the Bears, as that would put even more importance on Lions wins. The next two weeks are crucial, as the Bears play two teams that the Lions not only beat, but beat handily. There are still too many hypotheticals to say "oh, this then this, then this", but after the Bears get out of the AFC West, the prognosis should be pretty clear.

Remaining Schedules for Some Possible Wild Card Teams

The Bears have just two games remaining against teams with winning records, and seem set up with a fairly winnable schedule, despite three games on the road.

The Falcons have big games against the Texans, Saints, and Bucs on their schedule, as well as games with Carolina and Jacksonville. They could have some trouble, and ptential stumbling blocks will be this weekend at Houston, and a big game at the Superdome on the day after Christmas.

The Lions have a particularly tough back half going forward, with the Saints this weekend, as well as a trip to Oakland and Green Bay in their future. Those are cushioned with games against the Vikings and Chargers, and who knows which Chargers team shows up. The next few weeks will be a test of the mental fortitude of a relatively young Lions team.

The Cowboys have three big divisional games, including two against the Giants who are still hoping to be nipping at their heels. The NFC East is beating each other up, and there's still time for Romo to choke it away. Same goes for the Giants, except there's time for Eli to do what he did in 2007.

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