Ralph Vacchiano's post on New York Giants | Latest updates on Sulia
How do the Giants control their destiny as the NFC’s 9th seed if the Vikings are 6th? My revised explanation ...
It's long and complicated, so get comfortable. It also has a couple of small corrections from yesterday, though the general point is the same.
Again, clip and save ... There might be a quiz later in the week.
The Vikings are the 6th seed and the Giants are 9th NOW, because according to NFL tie-breaking procedures, division ties are broken first, then conference ties.
Currently there are five 8-6 teams: The Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings, Bears and Giants. The first thing the NFL does is figure out who is in first place in each division. The Redskins are in first in the NFC East on tie-breakers, so they get the fourth-seed. (The Seahawks currently hold the fifth seed in the NFC).
Then the NFL works seed by seed, starting over each time, and always starting by breaking ties in the division. To determine the sixth seed they first eliminate the Giants (who lose the tie-breaker to the Cowboys) and the Bears (who lose it to the Vikings). And since the Vikings have a better conference record than the Cowboys, Minnesota gets the sixth seed.
That leaves the NFL with the Giants, Cowboys and Bears as they start over for the seventh seed. Again they do division tie-breakers first, eliminating the Giants. And since the Bears beat the Cowboys, they get spot No. 7.
That leaves the Giants and Cowboys tied as the NFL starts over for the eighth seed. And since the Cowboys have a better division record than the Giants, they get spot No. 8 and the Giants are spot No. 9.
So how can the Giants be in 9th now, yet control their own destiny?
Because if they win their last two -- and maintain control -- they'll be 10-6. And since the Redskins and Cowboys (both currently 8-6) play each other in Week 17, only one of them can get to 10-6. So when the season actually is over and the wild-card tie-breakers are applied, a 10-win Giants team won't be tied with another division opponent for a wild-card spot. A 10-win Cowboys or Redskins team wins the division. And the other team will have only 9 wins.
So ... when the season is actually over ... if the Giants are tied with the Vikings and Bears at 10 wins each, there would be no division tie-breaker to prematurely eliminate them, and they'd win the tie-breaker based on conference record (the Giants would be 8-4 and neither of those teams can have 8 conference wins).
If you're still confused ... well, you're not alone. But you'll have to trust me. If the Giants win their last 2, they are in the playoffs.