The New York Giants in the Eli Manning era have been known to get hot at the right time.

The Giants always seem to go through a rough, downright ugly stretch of play in just about every season. However, they sometimes right the ship just in time for the playoffs before going on a long run, even winning the Super Bowl a couple of times.

If they have a similar run in them this year, it had better start soon. The NFC East is an absolute disgrace, but for a week at least, the Giants can no longer stake claim to the top spot in the East. New York’s embarrassing loss to Washington on Sunday dropped the Giants from No. 4 in the NFC all the way down to No. 9.

It’s not going to be an easy road, either. The combined record of the Giants’ schedule the rest of the way is 33-22, including at home against undefeated Carolina and on the road against 8-3 Minnesota. Good luck.

The silver lining for the Giants, of course, is that they still play in the NFC East, and it seems just as likely a team like the Redskins falls apart in the season’s final weeks.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL playoff picture would look, if the playoffs started Tuesday.


First-round byes
1. New England Patriots (10-1)
2. Cincinnati Bengals (9-2)

Wild-card round matchups (Jan. 9-10)
No. 6 Houston Texans (6-5) at No. 3 Denver Broncos (9-2)
No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) at No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

Notes: New England’s loss doesn’t change much for the Patriots, who still control their own destiny when it comes to the No. 1 seed. … Denver is now very much in the conversation for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, though, especially with a Week 16 game against Cincinnati that should be huge.


First-round byes
1. Carolina Panthers (11-0)
2. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Wild-card round matchups (Jan. 9-10)
No. 6 Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at No. 3 Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
No. 5 Green Bay Packers (7-5) at No. 4 Washington Redskins (5-6)

Notes: Atlanta has dropped out of the playoff picture for the time being after its loss to Indianapolis. … The Giants also fell, and fell hard, as went from in the field to No. 9 after losing on the road to Washington. … Washington has the worst point differential (minus-26) of any team in the current field.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images