The seven teams that were in playoff position in the NFC heading into Week 13 remain there with all of the conference’s games in the books, but there was one change in the pecking order.
Washington beat the Raiders 17-15 for their fourth straight win and they moved ahead of the 49ers into the sixth seed. The Niners lost 30-23 to the Seahawks when they were unable to get into the end zone on four plays inside the Seattle 10-yard-line at the end of the game.
The playoff push for Washington will continue with a home game against the Cowboys and a win in that contest will set up a battle for the NFC East title in the final weeks of the season. That seemed impossible just a few weeks ago, but pictures change quickly in the NFL and Washington has changed their fortunes dramatically over the last few weeks.
Here’s how the entire conference stacks up heading into Week 14:
1. Cardinals (10-2) Sunday’s performance wasn’t their sharpest of the season, but it was more than enough to beat the Bears and it knocked some rust off of quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins ahead of a matchup with the Rams.
2. Packers (9-3) Aaron Rodgers got to rest his toe during a bye week and the Packers could be celebrating an NFC North title very soon.
3. Buccaneers (9-3) The Bucs don’t have anything to worry about in the NFC South, so their attention will be on trying to get the top seed and the first-round bye that comes with it.
4. Cowboys (8-4) They ended their losing streak last Thursday and will try to put a little more distance between themselves and Washington this week.
5. Rams (8-4) A visit from the Jaguars was the tonic that they needed after three straight losses, but things will be a bit tougher in Arizona next Monday night.
6. Washington (6-6) While repeating as NFC East champs seemed impossible at midseason, it now seems like a realistic outcome for a team that keeps finding ways to win games.
7. 49ers (6-6) The 49ers have beaten the Bengals in a pair of Super Bowls and beating them next weekend would be a big boost to the 49ers’ chances of having a shot at going to another one this year.
8. Eagles (6-7) Gardner Minshew delivered a win over the Jets and they’ll get to rest this week before a four-week sprint to the end of the regular season.
9. Vikings (5-7) Losing to the Lions didn’t eliminate them from playoff contention mathematically, but it’s hard to feel too good about their chances.
10. Panthers (5-7) The good news is that Panthers moved up two spots during a bye week that saw them fire their offensive coordinator and the bad news is that they’re going to have to get back on the field this week.
11. Falcons (5-7) The loser of this week’s game against the Panthers can probably turn their attention to 2022.
12. Saints (5-7) Five straight losses have left them with little chance of making the playoffs, but a winnable game against the Jets looms in Week 14.
13. Giants (4-8) Head coach Joe Judge is the only one encouraged by what he’s seeing from the Giants.
14. Bears (4-8) Getting Justin Fields healthy and working toward next season is probably all that’s left for the Bears this season.
15. Seahawks (4-8) A two-game winning streak could be in the cards with a trip to Houston coming up, but it’s likely too little and too late for the Seahawks.
16. Lions (1-10-1) They finally got a win and they can keep playing spoiler in Denver next weekend.