For the next two weeks, I’m going to skip out on fantasy talk, and instead talk about the NFL playoff race. The halfway point of the season has come and gone, which means that fans who were so confident in their team’s Super Bowl prowess five weeks ago are currently in full-fledged panic-mode. This week, I’m going to discuss just how much fans of the league’s NFC bubble teams should be panicking.
New York Giants (5-3):
The Giants beat the Eagles for the first time since 2013 this week. This puts them at 5-3 and sets them atop the NFC Wild Card standings, but how long will that last? Will the Giants finish strong and secure a playoff berth, or will they revert to their roots and play terrible football to close the season?
Panic Level: Not any more than usual.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4):
The Eagles are now 4-4 after starting the season out 3-1. QB Carson Wentz is starting to look like a rookie, and Philly’s schedule from here on out is … well … terrifying. It will be hard to catch up in the tightly-packed NFC.
Panic Level: Nervous enough to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting.
Green Bay Packers (4-4):
Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy is well-known for his simple playbook that relies upon the stellar play of QB Aaron Rodgers. Well, Rodgers is slumping hard this year and the Packers are tanking because of it. Can the predictable Green Bay offense spice it up for a tough final half of the year?
Panic Level: More nervous than when you sit down for a Scantron final exam and only have No. 3 pencils.
Minnesota Vikings (5-3):
The Vikings were unbeatable at the beginning of the season but are currently on a three-game skid. It’s become apparent that the defense cannot carry this team to every victory, and with the Lions on the rise, it’s looking like the division is going to come down to the wire, perhaps not in Minnesota’s favor.
Panic Level: Minnesota psychologists are having a noticeably large uptick in patients who claim to all be waking up in the middle of the night screaming “WIDE LEFT!”
Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1):
The Cardinals have either blown out opponents or have been thoroughly embarrassed with virtually no middle ground. They are in the unfortunate position of having to play catch-up against an increasingly good Seahawks team, so their playoff hopes are murky at best.
Panic Level: Fans are quickly deleting their nfl.com shopping carts which briefly contained a 12th man jersey.
Carolina Panthers (3-5):
I think it may be time to bury the Panthers this season. Each loss has been humiliating and revealing and the only convincing win came against the 1-7 San Francisco 49ers. After my best friend who is a Panthers’ fan reads this column, he will say, “Hey don’t count the Panthers out, they’ve won two straight!” Sorry buddy, but I’m not convinced. With a revolving door for an offensive line and an absolutely scrub-filled secondary, the Panthers are all but done.
Panic Level: Fans are convinced last season was just a really elaborate dream.