The NFL playoffs 2011 will have 12 contenders in action. However, the NFL playoffs 2011 cannot start until every team finishes its regular season. Therefore, a few losing squads with nothing left to play for will stand in the way of contenders on Sunday. As such, some of them will expect to coast and wrap up a postseason spot or a division title without a problem. But since the Eagles showed the folly of that strategy last night, the NFL playoffs may be shaken up by other bottom feeders soon enough.
Technically, the Eagles could have been locked into the No. 3 seed regardless, if the Bears beat the Packers on Sunday. But they have now been denied a bye a week early, thanks to a Vikings team that has otherwise been a disaster this season.
Yet the week before the NFL playoffs gives teams like the Vikings a chance to go out on a high note. They lost their chance to contend for the postseason, but now they have an opportunity to alter the picture anyway.
For instance, the Falcons’ loss to the Saints kept them from clinching the division and No. 1 seed. But they are likely not worried, since the 2-13 Panthers are coming up next. They are looking forward to firing John Fox, and spending four months deciding on their No. 1 draft pick, so it appears they will provide no challenge.
However, because the Eagles thought that way about the Vikings, the playoffs look a lot more uncertain for them. The Falcons can’t afford to make that mistake, since it could send them all the way down to the fifth seed. Carolina failed to derail Pittsburgh’s postseason journey last week, yet since this could be Fox’s last game, they may be extra motivated to send him out strong.
Two other spoilers could alter the AFC North race, as the Browns and Bengals try to keep the Steelers and Ravens from the division crown. If the Browns beat the Steelers, then the Ravens should clinch the division by beating the Bengals – but can one or both of them make postseason life harder for their rivals?
The Redskins already made the Jaguars’ quest for the NFL playoffs even harder. This Sunday, they have a chance to finish off the reeling Giants, and end their difficult year on a promising note. Meanwhile, the Titans and Texans can close their troubled seasons by keeping the Colts and Jaguars from the postseason.
Once in a while, a squad with nothing to play for can completely change everything at the last minute. The Vikings did it to close Week 16, so can another poor team shake up the playoffs on Sunday? Since they have no postseason scenarios left, these sub-.500 clubs will have no qualms about wrecking other Super Bowl hopes.
Yahoo Sports- “Week 17 Scoreboard”