Week 14 NFC playoff picture: Washington keeps rising

USA TODAY Sports

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.

23 responses to “Week 14 NFC playoff picture: Washington keeps rising

  1. Washington is the team to watch out for.Anybody playing them better bring their A game or they’ll get beat.

  2. Every team below Minnesota on that list has zero chance to do anything. Really I cannot believe that people are still whispering about Carolina and Atlanta somehow making the playoffs. They are both horrible teams.

  3. NFC playoff picture

    The 9ERS killed themselves yesterday and the refs were their to help step on their throats when they weren’t hurting themself but they should make it as 6 or 7 seed

    Eagles, WFT, and Cowboys all play eachother more then once down the stretch and are going to cannibalize eachother. Knocking either WFT or Eagles out the playoff picture.

    Vikes took a huge L yesterday and pretty much bowed out the race

    New Orleans and Carolina are a stretch to make it due to injuries and their schedule of playing eachother and Tampa.

  4. The Washington defense has really come on strong of late, and they can be dangerous. But the offense is still not strong. They can’t make big plays, they don’t have receivers getting open. The need the o-line healthy in the worst way. They sure do scratch and claw their way to victory, but unless they can generate more offense, they won’t get far. It’s fun to win, but they aren’t a complete team yet.

  5. The Vikings have more injured starters than any team on that list, and they’ve still managed to beat some decent teams. If they can struggle their way into the playoffs, and if they get healthy, they could be dangerous.

    But as a realistic Vikes fans … is it too early to open the annual Vikings fan “there’s always next year” conversation?

  6. As a very long time Viking fan, I don’t even want to see this team get humiliated for an extra game this year. #Fire Zimmer , start the rebuild and new coaching changes.

  7. greedyjimfromtonhicken says:
    December 6, 2021 at 11:34 am
    Washington is the team to watch out for.Anybody playing them better bring their A game or they’ll get beat.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    They are 2-5 against teams that are currently .500 or better. Yes, that counts the win over the Raiders.

  8. Washington is good at playing keep-away with the ball and limiting the opponent’s time of possession. They did it to the Seahawks last Monday night and yesterday again to the Raiders, to a lesser degree. It’s working for them.

  9. The NFL has a serious problem when there is any sort of widespread belief that the refs are dictating the outcome of games, or favoring certain teams. They really need to address the perception or risk losing the trust and interest of the public.

  10. The Raiders would have won if the ref would have did the right thing and called interference on that bomb to zay Jones at the end

  11. Yeah the refs weren’t the best but the Raiders did not play well. I had a strong feeling they were going to blow that one.

  12. The Raiders would have won if the ref would have did the right thing…so you are saying the Raiders can only win if the refs call everything correctly? A tall order indeed.

  13. Heard one of the talking heads last week making a big deal of the Cardinals 4-0 record vs NFC West. I thought hmmmm, isn’t there another team that has the same record, against the same other guys?

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