Here’s a look at the updated NFC playoff picture now that NFL Week 14 is over as far as NFC games are concerned.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
Top six seeds
1 - Philadelphia Eagles: 11-2 overall, 9-1 conference [clinched NFC East]
2 - Minnesota Vikings: 10-3 overall, 8-2 conference
3 - Los Angeles Rams: 9-4 overall, 6-4 conference (direct tie-breaker over NO)
4 - New Orleans Saints: 9-4 overall, 7-3 conference (direct tie-breaker over CAR)
5 - Carolina Panthers: 9-4 overall, 5-4 conference
6 - Atlanta Falcons: 8-5 overall, 7-2 conference (direct tie-breaker over SEA)
In the hunt
7 - Seattle Seahawks: 8-5 overall, 6-3 conference
8 - Detroit Lions: 7-6 overall, 6-4 conference (direct tie-breaker over GB, common games tie-breaker over DAL)
9 - Green Bay Packers: 7-6 overall, 5-4 conference (direct tie-breaker over DAL)
10 - Dallas Cowboys: 7-6 overall, 6-4 conference
11 - Arizona Cardinals: 6-7 overall, 3-6 conference
If it weren’t for the Carson Wentz injury, today would have been pretty great for the Eagles. Philadelphia officially clinched the NFC East. The Birds are also back in the No. 1 seed with only three games remaining. The Eagles only need to win two of their final three games to clinch home field advantage throughout the 2018 NFL playoffs. Even if the Vikings win out, the Eagles would clinch by winning at least two games because both teams would be 13-3 and Philly would have the tie-breaker: best win percentage in common games. The Vikings’ loss to the Panthers, whom the Eagles defeater earlier this season, helps in that regard. So, yeah. Wentz’s injury really sucks. But if you’re looking for a silver lining, all the Eagles have to do if get two wins out of their next three games: at New York Giants, versus Oakland Raiders, and versus Dallas Cowboys. It’s quite possible the Eagles could win their next two games and clinch the No. 1 seed on Christmas after defeating the Raiders. That’s the goal right now.
The Vikings’ hot streak finally came to an end on Sunday in Carolina. Minnesota made too many mistakes on the road. Their usually-stout run defense allowed 216 rushing yards and three rushing scores. Jonathan Stewart himself had 103 yards. Reminder that the Eagles’ defense kept him to negative rushing earlier this season. Make no mistake: the Vikings are a good team. But they’re clearly beatable.
The Rams played a good game against Philadelphia. But Jared Goff came up small at the end of the game when it mattered most. Los Angeles is still very dangerous, especially with Todd Gurley around. But with losses to the Eagles and the Vikings, it’s clear they’re not the true class of the NFC.
The Saints lost to the Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Terrible turnover from Drew Brees late in the game to cost New Orleans a win.
Kudos to the Panthers for knocking off the Vikings. I didn’t think they had it in them. It’ll be hard for them to win the NFC South with the Saints having a direct tie-breaker, but it’s not out of the question if New Orleans drops some games here.
As of right now, three NFC South teams are projected to make the postseason. The Falcons are back in the mix thanks to the combination of their Thursday night win and Seattle’s Sunday loss.
Speaking of the Seahawks, they lost to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. They’re still in the mix for the NFC West crown with another game agains the Rams coming up. Seattle already defeated L.A. earlier this season.
The Lions got back on track with a win over a bad Bucs team. Still in the hunt, though the Falcons hold a tie-breaker over them.
The Packers fought back from being down 21-7 to the Browns to win in overtime. Green Bay is keeping the hopes of an Aaron Rodgers return alive. They still have their work cut out for them, though, due to being on the wrong end of some tie-breakers.
Dallas has won two games in a row against bad teams. Their spot in the playoff picture hasn’t changed, though, due to teams ahead of them continuing to win. They’ll need some help to make the post-season.
The Cardinals are still theoretically alive but probably not really.