The top of the NFC playoff picture looks different after Week 11.
The Packers went into the weekend with the top spot in the NFC playoff picture, but their loss to the Vikings and the Cardinals’ win in Seattle moved Arizona back up to the No. 1 spot. Green Bay holds the tiebreaker by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Cardinals and there’s more than enough football left on the schedule for things to change again.
Another change came on Monday night. The Buccaneers’ win over the Giants pushed them past the Cowboys into the No. 3 spot in the conference. A head-to-head win accounts for that shift as well and tiebreakers figure to loom large with the top of the NFC playoff picture looking clearer and clearer every week.
Here’s how the whole playoff picture shapes up heading into Week 12’s games:
2. Packers (8-3) The Packers can help themselves and the Cardinals out by beating the Rams this weekend.
3. Buccaneers (7-3) Monday night’s win snapped a two-game losing streak and showed how much it helps having tight end Rob Gronkowski in the lineup.
4. Cowboys (7-3) The offense never got going in Kansas City and is banged up heading into their Thanksgiving matchup with the Raiders.
5. Rams (7-3) They slumped into their bye week and another dud in Green Bay will make it very hard to make any push for the NFC West.
6. Vikings (5-5) Beating the Packers is always reason for celebration, but they can’t revel too long with the 49ers on tap in Week 12.
7. Saints (5-5) The schedule softens up in the final weeks, but they’re trending in the wrong direction with three straight losses.
8. 49ers (5-5) They got their first home win in a long time a couple of weeks ago and another one over the Vikings this weekend would be a big step forward for the Niners.
9. Eagles (5-6) Rediscovering their running game has pushed them back into the playoff picture and two straight games at MetLife Stadium offers them a good chance to hit the bye week with a winning record.
10. Panthers (5-6) Cam Newton‘s return to Bank of America Stadium ended with a loss and the Panthers can’t afford too many more stumbles if they want to keep the playoff fires burning.
11. Washington (4-6) They’re coming off their best two-game stretch of the season and host the sagging Seahawks next Monday night with a chance to keep pushing their way up the board.
12. Falcons (4-6) They get the Jaguars this week, but they’ve been outscored 68-3 the last two weeks and that makes it hard to buy stock in the Falcons.
13. Giants (3-7) They’ve lost their last 10 prime-time games after falling on Monday night and there’s not much hope they’ll be playing one of them in the postseason.
14. Bears (3-7) Sunday’s loss was their fifth straight and Bears fans have turned their attention away from an improbable playoff run to offseason changes.
15. Seahawks (3-7) A win over the Jaguars is the only one they have since Week Four and it feels like big changes are ahead in Seattle.
16. Lions (0-8-1) They’ve come close to wins the last two weeks and Thanksgiving against the Bears could be their breakthrough moment.