Week 12 NFC playoff picture: Cardinals back on top

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks
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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:

1. Cardinals (9-2) Going 2-1 without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup the last three weeks should make for a pleasant bye week in Arizona.

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.

12 responses to “Week 12 NFC playoff picture: Cardinals back on top

  1. The Vikings looked like a well-oiled machine against the Packers. The Packers actually thought they could hog-tie Jefferson with an extra DB and slow down Cousins with a four-man rush, all-day. Huge miscalculation. I think I counted one blitz. One. The Pack will be OK if they can get past the Rams with a home-field win and get some of their five missing All-Pro players back from injuries.

  2. It’s hard to gauge this season after the halfway point. There’s still not a clear #1 team in either the NFC or AFC. The Cardinals look solid with a healthy Kyler Murray playing. The other “top” teams will go out and play a great game then get blown out the next week. It will be interesting which 2 teams meet in the super bowl this year….to this point it’s not clear.

  3. My Eagles have improved greatly the past few weeks, but we’re still ranked too high on this list. “IF” our defense can play more consistently for an entire game, and “IF” we can continue to commit to the run and Hurts matures better as a passer, I’ll feel better about things. I’d put us at about #17 or so for now.

    I’m optimistic about the future but let’s go one game at a time, no talk about playoffs yet. Focus on now.

  4. Just as long as the Vikings and the league can keep Dalvin Cook’s assaults against women under wraps, there’s no reason this team can’t compete for the NFC’s 7th seed.
    The mind staggers especially when you consider this player has a history of this behavior.
    But, they’ve kept it up for over a year now, so there’s no reason to think they can go all the way with this.

    The men in charge have done a brilliant job tip-toeing through this minefield so far and as long as the media keeps their attention and indignation on Aaron Rodgers and the NFL’s Covid protocol farce there shouldn’t be a large and vocal public outcry.

  5. Another week and another perplexingly poor offensive showing by the Seahawks. The “prevent” defensive approach that Seattle frustratingly uses, only works if the offense is productive. Either the Defensive scheme needs to be changed or the offensive needs to change from its lackluster run first approach, leading to a quick 3 & out, with 3rd & long every possession.

  6. If the Packers beat the Rams it does put the Rams an additional game behind the Cards. You know…because they’re both in the NFC West and they still have a game to play later in the season.

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