Giants vs. Falcons
If the Vikings are the NFC's 6th seed and the Giants are 9th, why is it "win 2 and in" for the Giants? I explain...
It's long and complicated, so get comfortable. Also clip and save ...
The Vikings are the 6th seed and the Giants are 9th NOW, because according to NFL tie-breaking procedures, division ties are broken first, then conference ties.
Currently there are five 8-6 teams: The Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings, Bears and Giants. The first thing the NFL does is figure out who is in first place in each division. The Redskins are in first in the NFC East on tie-breakers, so they get the fourth-seed.
Then, among the remaining teams in the wild-card chase, the NFL breaks the ties in the division first. The Cowboys currently have the tie-breaker over the Giants and the Vikings have it over the Bears. So that "eliminates" the Giants and Bears and drops them to the 8-9 spots.
(By the way, based on conference record, the Giants should be 8th, I believe, but since nothing really matters after 6 I think the NFL just put the "other" teams in alphabetical order).
So how can the Giants be in 9th (or 8th) yet control their own destiny?
Because if they win their last two -- and maintain control -- they'll be 10-6. And since the Redskins and Cowboys play each other in Week 17, only one of them can get to 10-6. So when the season actually is over and the wild-card tie-breakers are applied, a 10-win Giants team won't be tied with another division opponent for a wild-card spot. A 10-win Cowboys or Redskins team wins the division. And the other team will have only 9 wins.
So ... when the season is actually over ... if the Giants are tied with the Vikings and Bears at 10 wins each, there would be no division tie-breaker to prematurely eliminate them, and they'd win the tie-breaker based on conference record (the Giants would be 8-4 and neither of those teams can have 8 conference wins).
If you're still confused ... well, you're not alone. But you'll have to trust me. If the Giants win their last 2, they are in the playoffs.