If the playoffs started today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be in. How many people saw that coming?
With yesterday’s win over the Chargers, the Bucs now have a 7-5 record and a half-game lead over Washington in the wild card race. Tampa Bay also has a good chance at catching Atlanta in the NFC South, although the 7-5 Falcons currently have the tiebreaker advantage.
Here’s how the whole NFC looks with four games to go:
1. Cowboys (11-1): With a three-game lead in the NFC East, Dallas has already clinched at least a wild card and appears poised to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
2. Seahawks (8-3-1): The NFC West race is all but over.
3. Lions (8-4): Detroit has a two-game lead in the division with four to play.
4. Falcons (7-5): Atlanta is in danger of losing what looked like a comfortable division lead.
5. Giants (8-4): Sunday’s loss probably ruined any hope the Giants had of winning the division.
6. Buccaneers (7-5): Keep winning and they’re in the playoffs.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Washington (6-5-1): That tie game in London is starting to loom large.
8. Vikings (6-6): Currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Green Bay.
9. Packers (6-6): If they win out they only need the Lions to lose once between now and the Week 17 finale.
10. Cardinals (5-6-1): Sunday’s win is probably too little, too late.
11. Saints (5-7): Losing to the Lions at home sealed their fate.
12. Eagles (5-7): Both the offense and the defense have declined significantly since a promising start.
13. Panthers (4-8): A blowout loss to Seattle ended the reigning NFC champions’ hopes.
14. Rams (4-8): Yet another non-winning season for Jeff Fisher.
15. Bears (3-9): At least they’re better than the 49ers.
16. 49ers (1-11): At least they’re better than the Browns.