Here’s a look at the updated NFC playoff picture now that NFL Week 15 is mostly over.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
Top six seeds
1 - Philadelphia Eagles: 12-2 overall, 10-1 conference
2 - Minnesota Vikings: 11-3 overall, 8-2 conference
3 - Los Angeles Rams: 10-4 overall, 7-4 conference (direct tie-breaker over NO)
4 - New Orleans Saints: 10-4 overall, 7-3 conference (direct tie-breaker over CAR)
5 - Carolina Panthers: 10-4 overall, 6-4 conference
6 - Atlanta Falcons: 8-5 overall, 7-2 conference
In the hunt
7 - Detroit Lions: 8-6 overall, 7-4 conference
8 - Seattle Seahawks: 8-6 overall, 6-4 conference (strength of victory tie-breaker over DAL)
9 - Dallas Cowboys: 8-6 overall, 6-4 conference
On life support
10 - Green Bay Packers: 7-7 overall, 5-5 conference
The Eagles officially clinched a first-round bye by defeating the Giants on Sunday. The Eagles can clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC in Week 16 if: 1) the Vikings lose to Green Bay on Saturday OR 2) Philly defeats the Raiders at home on Monday Night Football on Christmas. The Birds could really use that home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Vikings clinched the NFC North with a blowout win over the Bengals on Sunday. They haven’t locked up a first-round bye yet, but they’re in good position to do so with two games remaining.
The Rams absolutely obliterated the Seahawks. They haven’t officially locked up anything yet, but L.A. can clinch the NFC West by beating the Titans next week.
The Saints can clinch a playoff spot with at least one win in their final two games. A New Orleans win over Atlanta combined with a Carolina loss to Tampa Bay would allow the Saints to clinch the NFC South in Week 16.
The Falcons don’t play until Monday night. They’re 7-point road favorites against Tampa Bay. Even if they lose, they’ll still be the sixth seed for now. Atlanta has head-to-head tie-breakers over all the teams chasing them: Detroit, Seattle, and Dallas.
The Lions are still alive. Their final two games: at the Bengals and home versus the Packers. Getting to 10-6 wouldn’t guarantee Detroit a playoff spot; they still need help by Atlanta losing games since the Falcons hold a head-to-head tie-breaker over them.
The Seahawks had a chance to move into the NFC West lead but instead got killed at home by the Rams. Now they’re on the outside looking in. Remaining games: at Cowboys and home versus Cardinals.
The Cowboys are very lucky to still be alive. Derek Carr completely choked by fumbling out of the end zone against them on Sunday night. As you can see, Dallas still needs help to get into the post-season. The good news for their long shot hopes is that Ezekiel Elliott returns next week when the Cowboys face Seattle. Then Dallas will travel to Philly in Week 17. That game could be meaningless for the Eagles.
The Packers lost to Carolina upon Aaron Rodgers’ return from injury. Green Bay will be officially eliminated from the post-season if Atlanta defeats Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Here’s a quick look at the AFC Playoff Picture to get an idea of who the Eagles could potentially face in the Super Bowl, if they make it that far.
AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
Top six seeds
1 - New England Patriots: 11-3 overall, 8-2 conference (direct tie-breaker over PIT)
2 - Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-3 overall, 8-3 conference
3 - Jacksonville Jaguars: 10-4 overall, 9-2 conference
4 - Kansas City Chiefs: 8-6 overall, 6-4 conference (ahead of TEN due to being division leader)
5 - Tennessee Titans: 8-6 overall, 7-4 conference
6 - Buffalo Bills: 8-6 overall, 6-4 conference (strength of victory tie-breaker over BAL)
In the hunt
7 - Baltimore Ravens: 8-6 overall, 6-4 conference
8 - Los Angeles Chargers: 7-7 overall, 4-6 conference
9 - Oakland Raiders: 6-8 overall, 5-6 conference (direct tie-breaker over MIA)
10 - Miami Dolphins: 6-8 overall, 5-5 conference