As we approach halftime of the late-afternoon games, here are the playoff scenarios I've come up with, using ESPN.com's magical Playoff Machine and confirmed by people smarter than me.
If the Bears beat the Cardinals, and they're leading 14-3 at the moment, they'll need a victory next Sunday against the Detroit Lions combined with a loss by the Minnesota Vikings to the Green Bay Packers. They would also need one of these scenarios to occur as well:
The Vikings will clinch a playoff spot in any of these four scenarios:
They beat the Packers next Sunday and the Giants lose either to the Ravens or the Eagles.
They beat the Packers and the Cowboys defeat the Redskins next Sunday.
They lose to the Packers but the Giants lose both of their final two games, the Redskins beat the Cowboys and the Bears lose either today or next Sunday to the Lions.
For those asking, yes, the Packers will be alive for the NFC's No. 2 seed next Sunday no matter what happens in Sunday night's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. The Packers need to win one more game than the 49ers do over the final two weeks of the season.