The same four teams that were in the lead in NFC divisional races after Week 14 remain there in Week 15, but there’s been a change in fortunes for the Lions.
Losing to the Giants didn’t knock the Lions out of the lead in the NFC North, but the loss along with wins for the Seahawks and Falcons dropped them from the No. 2 seed to the No. 4 seed. Their drop could become more severe in the next couple of weeks.
The Lions will be in Dallas next Monday night and then they’ll close out the regular season by hosting the surging Packers. Four straight wins have left the Packers just outside the playoff picture and two more will make them the division champs. They will host the Vikings on Christmas Eve and a win in that game could also vault them into a Wild Card spot as much remains up for grabs in the NFC.
1. Cowboys (12-2): A win next Monday night seals the deal on the division and home field throughout the playoffs.
2. Seahawks (9-4-1): They’ve won the division and can’t gain the top seed, so they’ll be trying to nail down a bye week.
3. Falcons (9-5): They’re a game up on the Buccaneers after a second straight win without Julio Jones’ help.
4. Lions (9-5): Further stumbles would put making the playoffs in doubt.
5. Giants (10-4): They’d lose a three-way tiebreaker to the Lions and Buccaneers, but can avoid such a nightmare by winning one more game.
6.Packers (8-6): Slightly ahead of Bucs thanks to strength of schedule tiebreaker, but two wins and the Packers know they’re in as NFC North champs.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Buccaneers (8-6): The Redskins loss pushed them back up a bit, but they’ll need to take care of their own business to stay in the playoff mix.
8. Redskins (7-6-1): They aren’t out of it, but Monday night’s loss was a big blow.
9. Vikings (7-7): The team that got ransacked by the Colts looked nothing like a playoff squad.
10. Saints (6-8): With the Buccaneers and Falcons on tap, the Saints can still impact the playoff race.
11. Panthers (6-8): With the Falcons and Buccaneers on tap, the Panthers can still impact the playoff race.
12. Cardinals (5-8-1): It will be Bruce Arians’ first losing season in Arizona.
13. Eagles (5-9): The Cowboys would love it if Philadelphia can get a win against the Giants on Thursday night.
14. Rams (4-10): By closing with the 49ers and Cardinals, the Rams will at least avoid a lot of attention to close out a dismal season.
15. Bears (3-11): Matt Barkley’s been more fun to watch than his predecessors at quarterback this season.
16. 49ers (1-13): The first draft pick remains in play for the 49ers.