The Christmas Day games in the NFL are not ones that will have an impact on the NFC playoffs. They will change the complexion of the AFC playoffs, however the NFC won't see any kind of changing complexion until Monday night when the Detroit Lions play the Dallas Cowboys. Those Cowboys are the guaranteed top seed and here's a look at how other things may play out over the balance of the season.

What do we know for sure?

Before we look at scenarios, let's examine what we know for sure. As stated, there is no way that Dallas can be anything but the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Accordingly, their next pressure game is well in the future as they can look ahead to the conference semifinals already.

There is actually no way that the New York Giants are anything but a No. 5 seed at this point as well (explanation for New York). They can't win their division, they can't miss the playoffs, and they can't sink down to 6th:

  • No. 1 seed: Dallas Cowboys
  • No. 2 seed: to be determined
  • No. 3 seed: to be determined
  • No. 4 seed: to be determined
  • No. 5 seed: New York Giants
  • No. 6 seed: to be determined

Who will be the No. 6 seed?

The Washington Redskins have a very reasonable chance of becoming the No. 6 seed. They are 8-6-1 and that tie game may play in their favor. They need to beat the New York Giants in Week 17, but the Giants certainly didn't look razor sharp in Week 16. Furthermore, New York have nothing to gain and may rest their starters in the final week, at least in part.

It would be a coaching disaster if something like what happened to Derek Carr would happen to Eli Manning or Odell Beckham Jr. in a game that didn't matter for the Giants.

Washington beating New York improves the Redskins' playoff complexion drastically, but it doesn't lock things down. The Redskins are hoping for the Dallas Cowboys to win on Monday night.

In fact if Dallas win Monday then Washington control their own destiny. But there is still still a scenario where the Redskins make the playoffs even if Detroit win on Monday. They would then need the Lions to defeat the Green Bay Packers to make GB 9-7 while Detroit win their division.

The No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds may seem trickier to project.

However, one major thing to consider is that the Seattle Seahawks face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17. That should be a Seattle victory and it would improve their chances of the 3 seed significantly. If the Cowboys beat the Lions and the Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints then Seattle become that three seed for sure. In that scenario Atlanta become the two seed and Detroit and Green Bay play for the four seed. Below is what I'm projecting for the AFC playoffs:

  • No. 1 seed: Dallas Cowboys 14-2 (seeding certain)
  • No. 2 seed: Atlanta Falcons 11-5
  • No. 3 seed: Seattle Seahawks 10-5-1
  • No. 4 seed: Green Bay Packers 10-6
  • No. 5 seed: New York Giants 10-6 (seeding certain)
  • No. 6 seed: Washington Redskins 9-6-1

That's Washington at Seattle for Wild Card Weekend while New York travel to Green Bay.

If the Redskins win against Seattle, they will then face the Dallas Cowboys.

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