NFL playoff picture: Which team currently in field will falter?

And just like that, it’s Week 13 in the NFL. December is here, and six weeks remain in the regular season. Two teams, the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles, can clinch a playoff spot, while the AFC will have to wait at least another week to have that opportunity. There are six teams in the NFL that have won eight or more games — three from each conference. While the playoff picture is starting to become clearer, teams on the outside still have varying degrees of extending their season past Week 17, making us wonder: Which team currently projected to make the playoffs will fall short?

Here’s what USA TODAY Sports’ NFL experts think:

New York Giants

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It has to be the Giants. While first-year coach Brian Daboll has done a remarkable job of elevating the play of a deficient roster, New York is regressing to the mean, having lost three of its last four. They’ve committed five turnovers in their three most recent losses, compared to six in the first seven games of their season.

Even then, the Giants have relied on comebacks and none of their seven victories this season have been by more than one possession. Their net point total of -7 is lowest among all teams currently in the projected playoff field for both the AFC and NFC. Still, the most significant reason why they likely fall out of the field is their remaining schedule. The remaining Giants opponents have a .688 winning percentage — highest in the NFL, per CBS — with two games against the Eagles (10-1) and one against the Vikings (9-2) left. — Lorenzo Reyes

The New York Giants may be 7-4 and currently projected as the NFC’s second wild-card team, but they are most certainly trending in the wrong direction. The G-Men have dropped three of four, hammered by both the Seahawks and Lions during that stretch. Big Blue will face the conference’s two top teams — the Vikings and Eagles (twice) — over the next six weeks and have a pair of dates with the surging Commanders, who trail them by a half-game in the NFC East. (A home date with the Colts rounds out New York’s remaining schedule.) That feels like something akin to a 2-4 finish for a team with a one-dimensional offense (the Giants rank 28th in passing), a 22nd-ranked defense and more than its share of injuries. The loss at Seattle, which is currently in eighth place overall in the NFC, would also prove deadly if the Seahawks and Giants finish tied for the third and final playoff berth. — Nate Davis

New York Jets

The Jets, who are currently in the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC, have had a surprising season. They are about a year or two ahead of schedule. But I think they are going to falter down the stretch and miss the postseason. The Jets face the Vikings, Bills, Seahawks and Dolphins — all on the road — to close out the regular season. I predict the Jets will lose at least four of their final six games, which will open the door for possibly the Chargers or even the Patriots to get a wild-card berth. The Jets have the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL and cornerback Sauce Gardner is my pick for defensive rookie of the year, but New York’s offense — even with Mike White under center — leaves a lot to be desired. But don’t worry New York, the Jets’ postseason drought — which dates back to 2010 — should end soon. — Tyler Dragon

New York Giants, Jets

Both New York teams are in the playoff field, and I don’t think either team will actually reach the postseason. Look, the Jets and Giants have rebuilt their teams with good, young talent and first-time head coaches, but they still have their deficiencies. The Giants can only go so far without receiver help, despite coach Brian Daboll’s game planning and leadership. And the Jets, under coach Robert Saleh, will lose on the road to the Bills and Dolphins later this season, no matter who their quarterback is. For two teams that were at the bottom of the standings last year, Jets and Giants fans should be happy they’re in the middle of the pack this season with bright futures. — Safid Deen

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