We’re on the home stretch of the NFL season now that Thanksgiving has passed.
That means one thing: playoff picture graphic time.

It’s always glorious to see your team in the “In the Hunt” graphic on TV because you feel like you still have a chance to sneak into the postseason. It gives you a reason to keep believing and have hope. This year in particular, with the extended season and the most parity we’ve seen in years, it feels like almost anyone can get in, particularly that last spot in the NFC Wild Card.

We practically have no idea who is good this year because teams continue to fool us the moment we think they’re solid or we write them off. So, we’re going to go on blind dates to decide for ourselves without the benefit of the eye test.

Let’s decide who we think is best-positioned in the NFC to make a run at that final wild card spot in a reality show fashion.

Team #1

“Hi, my name is ______. My record is 6-5. I’m getting hot at the right time; I’ve recently won three in a row. I’m finally getting healthy. I have a terrible record at home and a mediocre quarterback situation, but I have the 6th-best rushing attack in the entire league. Here’s my remaining schedule: 

  • @ Seahawks
  • @ Bengals
  • vs. Falcons
  • @ Titans
  • vs. Texans
  • @ Rams”

Team #2

“Hi, my name is _____. My record is 5-6. I could easily be leading my division right now, but I continue to blow leads and make stupid mistakes at the end. I have three of the most explosive offensive weapons on paper and am top 10 in almost every offensive statistic, but an unpredictable quarterback who has zero chemistry with anyone. Here’s my remaining schedule:

  • @ Lions
  • vs. Steelers
  • @ Bears
  • vs. Rams
  • @ Packers
  • vs. Bears

Team #3

“Hi, my name is ______. My record is 5-6. I have one of the best defenses in the NFL and rank third in rush defense with one of the most adaptable, highly-regarded coaching staff in the league. I’ve lost four in a row, though, my best player is injured, and I’m using my backup quarterback, who is inept. Here’s my remaining schedule:

  • vs. Cowboys
  • @ Jets
  • vs. Bucs
  • vs. Dolphins
  • vs. Panthers
  • @ Falcons

Team #4

“Hi, my name is _______. My record is 5-6. I have an MVP quarterback and a generational offensive talent, but I’m incapable of putting up any points on some days. All of my wins have come against inferior competition, and there are some days I get blown out by over 20 points. Here’s my remaining schedule: 

  • vs. Bucs
  • @ Panthers
  • @ 49ers
  • vs Lions
  • @ Bills
  • vs. Saints

Team #5

“Hi, my name is _______. My record is 5-7. I’ve scored 30 points or more on offense 5 times, and my rushing attack is so dominant that my quarterback doesn’t even have to throw the ball that often. I still have a bye week and the second-easiest remaining schedule left in the league. However, my quarterback sometimes fails to throw the ball down the field at all, and my coach is a laughing stock. Here’s my remaining schedule:

  • @ Jets
  • BYE
  • vs. Football Team
  • vs Giants
  • @ Football Team
  • vs. Cowboys

The Verdict

  1. Team #5
  2. Team #1
  3. Team #2
  4. Team #4
  5. Team #3

The Reasoning

Team #5, even with the extra loss, has a bye week to gather themselves, and that schedule looks awfully tasty as the Football Team, and the Giants could be potentially tanking for draft picks.

Team #1 has the leg up on every other candidate with the extra win, and even with the bad record at home and some tough games on the docket, they play several games on the road!

Team #2 has a tough stretch with potential snowy road games in Chicago, then the Rams, then in Lambeau, and the offense could be too unpredictable if they implode in the critical games that matter.

Finally, between #3 and #4, #3 sounds incredibly injured, and when you’re hurt, you tend to try out-of-the-box strategies in order to risk it all with nothing to lose. That inspires no confidence, especially with a quarterback that sounds like he can’t get anything going.

The Reveal

Photo: Tim Hawk/NJ.com
  • Team #1: 49ers
  • Team #2: Vikings
  • Team #3: Saints
  • Team #4: Falcons
  • Team #5: Eagles

The Conclusion

So, the Eagles and the 49ers are primed to have a date and be the best setup of the NFC “In the Hunt” teams to secure a wild card spot according to our blind date test.

Let’s see if this plays out or if the NFL continues to be the wild roller coaster ride of week-to-week parity.

Featured Image: Terrell Lloyd/San Francisco 49ers
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