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Giants Have Toughest Road to Playoff Spot Among NFL Contenders

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Giants have the most-difficult path to the National Football League playoffs of the 18 teams within two games of a postseason berth.

The Giants have lost three straight games to fall to 6-5 and put their playoff chances in jeopardy, falling one game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football Conference East division. The Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are one game ahead of the Giants in the race for the NFC’s two wild-card spots, which go to the non-division winners with the best records.

Of New York’s remaining five regular-season games, four are against teams with winning records, including two against the Cowboys and this week’s meeting with the 11-0 Green Bay Packers, the defending Super Bowl champions. The combined record of the Giants’ opponents is 35-20, a winning percentage of .636 that’s the highest for any of the playoff contenders. The Giants are 7-point underdogs against Green Bay.

“We know what the schedule is, and each week the opportunities diminish,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters. “We have to take advantage of them as best we can.”

Three of the other leading playoff contenders have a schedule in which their five remaining regular-season opponents have a winning percentage above .500: the Cincinnati Bengals (.545), Oakland Raiders (.527) and Lions (.582).

The Packers and San Francisco 49ers could become the first teams to clinch postseason berths with wins this weekend.

While Green Bay visits the Giants at East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Dec. 4, the 49ers are 13-point favorites at home against the 2-9 St. Louis Rams. Coughlin said part of the motivation for the Giants this week is facing an undefeated squad that’s won three of its six road games by a touchdown or less.

“That is what we have to cling to,” he said.

                   AFC
========================================================
Team/Record       Record of Opponents/Winning Percentage
========================================================
#Patriots (8-3)             18-37 (.327)
Jets (6-5)                  21-34 (.382)
Buffalo (5-6)               27-28 (.491)

#Ravens (8-3)               19-36 (.345)
Steelers (8-3)              26-29 (.473)
Bengals (7-4)               30-25 (.545)

#Texans (8-3)               23-32 (.418)
Titans (6-5)                24-31 (.436)

#Raiders (7-4)              29-26 (.527)
Broncos (6-5)               26-29 (.473)

                    NFC
========================================================
Team/Record       Record of Opponents/Winning Percentage
========================================================
#Cowboys (7-4)              24-31 (.436)
Giants (6-5)                35-20 (.636)

#Packers (11-0)             25-30 (.455)
Bears (7-4)                 27-28 (.491)
Lions (7-4)                 32-23 (.582)

#Saints (8-3)               25-30 (.455)
Falcons (7-4)               26-29 (.473)

#49ers  (9-2)               20-35 (.364)
========================================================

#division leaders

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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