The NFC playoff picture remained unchanged for a couple of weeks, but we knew things would look different once Week 13 was in the books.
Six of the top seven teams in the conference were involved in games against each other, including the Eagles-Seahawks game in Seattle that put Sunday’s action to bed. The Seahawks won, which ended the Eagles’ nine-game winning streak, pushed the Seahawks into playoff position and bumped the Vikings up to the top spot in the conference.
Things will get shaken up again in Week 14. Thursday’s Falcons-Saints game is the first of three involving teams in the top seven of a rapidly changing NFC playoff picture.
1. Vikings (10-2): The Vikings hold a strength of victory tiebreaker over the Eagles and can press their advantage with a win in Carolina next Sunday.
2. Eagles (10-2): They’ll stay in California to prepare for a game against the Rams that they need to win to remain in position for a first-round bye.
3. Rams (9-3): They’ve clinched their first winning season since 2003 and now the Rams will face the Eagles and Seahawks in the next two weeks as they try to nail down the NFC West.
4. Saints (9-3): Sweeping the Panthers gives them a firm grasp on the NFC South.
5. Seahawks (8-4): The Seahawks are the only team in the NFC’s top seven to face a team outside the top seven in Week 14, but a trip to Jacksonville may not offer any respite ahead of their Week 15 showdown with the Rams.
6. Panthers (8-4): Winning the division got a lot more difficult on Sunday, but a win against the Vikings at home next Sunday would keep them right on track for the playoffs.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Falcons (7-5): They fell out of a Wild Card spot with Sunday’s loss and finding a way to win against New Orleans Thursday may be essential to climbing back in.
8. Lions (6-6): The Lions continue to be trending in the wrong direction.
10. Cowboys (6-6): They’re still breathing after last Thursday’s win and get the crumbling Giants next Sunday.
11. Washington (5-7): A playoff berth isn’t in the cards, but they can play spoiler for the Chargers in Week 14.
12. Cardinals (5-7): They’re staring at a second straight year out of the playoffs in Arizona.
13. Buccaneers (4-8): A season that opened with playoff hopes will end in Week 17.
14. Bears (3-9): They did the Giants’ draft board a favor by falling to the 49ers on Sunday.
15. 49ers (2-10): Jimmy Garoppolo‘s first start was a winning one and the 49ers are out of the basement.
16. Giants (2-10): Are the Giants worse on the field or off of it?