There really is nothing interesting about the Bears v. Eagles game Sunday night if you're not intrigued by the playoff implications. So at the risk of continuing my admittedly-forced optimism, let me breakdown the NFC.
The Saints, Vikings and Cardinals are going to the postseason (and probably in that seeding order). The Cowboys, Eagles and Giants will jockey for the NFC East right to the end, but for the sake of argument let's say the Cowboys win the division.
That leaves two wildcard spots and seven teams in the hunt. Six of the 5-4's (Eagles, Falcons, Packers, Giants) and 4-5's (49ers, Panthers, Bears) square off this weekend, with the Panthers facing the Dolphins on Thursday night.
Here is the Week 11 Guide for the Straw Clingers
Miami @ Carolina - Thursday Night
You may think it's early but the idea is to eliminate teams from the running and a Miami win would do that to the Panthers, raising the volume on the Bill Cowher talk tremendously.
Atlanta @ New York
There are two ways to approach this game. (1) Let the Falcons run and hide with the top wildcard spot. The Bears lost the tiebreaker in Atlanta and chances of surpassing a club with two Tampas and a Buffalo left is a reach. (2) Let the G-Men jump up a game and hope they come back to the back with a very difficult six-game final stretch.
San Francisco @ Green Bay
A Green Bay victory wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, especially with them still on the schedule. But the Bears want this thing to be as jumbled as possible heading into the final six games. So root for the damn Niners.
So here's what you want in a perfect world. Bears over Eagles. Miami over Carolina. Niners over Packers. Thus either the Falcons would hold the top wildcard spot at 6-4, leaving the Packers, Niners, Giants, Bears and Eagles at 5-5. Or the Giants would be 6-4 with Atlanta sitting in the 5-5 pack.