The Los Angeles Rams got the win on the road against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, 32-16. With last night’s installment of Sunday Night Football in which the Seattle Seahawks held home field against the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFC playoff picture is coming into view:
Last week, I cut the standings off at the 4-win mark. I’m upping it this week and I think I’m gonna roll with it every week as teams begin clinching their playoff entries. So last week, the NFC picture was without the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (now 4-8), Chicago Bears (3-9), New York Giants (2-10) and San Francisco 49ers (2-10). Joining them are the Cardinals (5-7) and Washington Playoff Watchers (5-7).
1.) Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
Your top seed is now the Minnesota Vikings after they beat the Atlanta Falcons 14-9 on Sunday with a wonky tiebreaker that I doubt holds through the end of the season in “best win percentage in common games” with the Eagles.
The Vikings’ NFC South road trip continues next week in Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers. One game that could get very, very interesting depending on a certain someone returning from injury? The Vikings’ Week 16 game on Saturday (yeah) night in Wisconsin against the Green Bay Packers...
2.) Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)
The Eagles couldn’t get much going against the Seahawks’ defense last night thanks largely to the Hawks’ pass rush. One thing that works in their favor? They’re facing three teams without winning records in their final three games following the marquee matchup in LA in Week 14.
3.) Los Angeles Rams (9-3)
It was oogly, but the Rams took care of business yesterday. A win next Sunday would push them into the #2 spot.
The bottom line is that the Rams control their own destiny.
4.) New Orleans Saints (9-3)
The Vikings own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, but we have the same edge over Nola. The wacky schedule factor in play here? The Saints play the Falcons this week.
And then again in Week 16.
5.) Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
Seattle lost two of their first three games in November, but they’re riding a two-game winning streak now. We’ll see if the win over the Eagles last night propels them to a higher level of football with a trip to the Jacksonville Jaguars preceding what looks like an NFC West trophy-deciding game against us in Week 15.
6.) Carolina Panthers (8-4)
The Panthers couldn’t unseat the Saints yesterday, and their road to the playoffs looks TOUGH: vs. Vikings, @ Packers, vs. Buccaneers, @ Falcons. If they stay in the mix, they’ll have earned it.
In the hunt
7.) Atlanta Falcons (7-5)
The loss to Minnesota obviously hurt by kicking them out of the top six right now, but they get nothing but division rivals from here on out.
8.) Detroit Lions (6-6)
9.) Green Bay Packers (6-6)
10.) Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
With 10-win Minnesota atop the NFC North and 10-win Philly in front of the NFC East, these three are locked into wild card slots alone as their only hope for making the postseason. A loss likely cuts them out with the NFC South round-robin in front of this trio.
All three have friendly matchups in Week 14 with the Lions taking on the Bucs, the Pack at the winless Cleveland Browns and the Cowboys heading to the house-cleaning Giants. We’ll see if anyone trips up and sees the playoff picture contract in a week.
As it stands, though, this is your playoff picture with the AFC carrying Monday Night Football and the Rams set to play for the #2 seed in the NFC playoff picture in Week 14.