NFC Playoff Picture: Vikings hold on to #2 seed, top seed still in play

Pretty much all of the games that have any meaning in the NFC playoff chase are in the books already, so we can safely go ahead and take a look at what’s happening with the Minnesota Vikings and the NFC teams that we don’t care about as much.

Let’s take a look at how things have changed since last week, because there have been some changes.

#1 seed: Philadelphia Eagles (13-2, NFC East leaders, clinched playoff spot)

On Saturday, the Eagles lost for just the second time this season, falling to Dallas at Jerryworld by a score of 40-34. That means that the #1 seed is still in play for the Vikings for another week, and the Cowboys Eagles might be without Jalen Hurts next week as well when they face the New Orleans Saints. It might not matter because. . .well, the Saints aren’t very good, but if the Eagles lose next week and the Vikings win. . .well, let’s not talk about that until it actually happens.

  • Remaining opponents: vs. New Orleans, vs. New York Giants

#2 seed: Minnesota Vikings (12-3, NFC North champions)

On Saturday, the Vikings did pretty much the same thing they do every week. . .play a game that attempts to bring about cardiac arrest for the majority of their fan base. But it did keep them one game clear of San Francisco for a #2 seed that looks to be getting more and more important. This team just needs to keep winning, and they’ve got two divisional road games on the table before returning to US Bank Stadium. Can they pull that off?

  • Remaining opponents: at Green Bay, at Chicago

#3 seed: San Francisco 49ers (11-4, NFC West champions)

The Niners keep winning with Brock Purdy at quarterback. They could probably win games with Brock Lesnar at quarterback at this point. They had a bit of a fight with Washington on Saturday but eventually won it going away. The Niners look like they have two pretty likely victories remaining on their schedule, which is bad news for Vikings fans. Hopefully the Niners stumble at some point. . .and the Vikings don’t stumble with them.

  • Remaining opponents: at Las Vegas, vs. Arizona

#4 seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8, NFC South leaders)

The Buccaneers are on top of this division right now, but it’s actually the Carolina Panthers, who sit just half a game behind Tampa in the NFC South, that control their own destiny for the playoffs, largely because those two teams meet in Tampa next week . We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. . .the entire NFC South is awful. But I can’t imagine there are a lot of folks outside of Tampa (and maybe Massachusetts) that are cheering for Tom Brady, are you there?

  • Remaining opponents: at Arizona, vs. Carolina, at Atlanta

#5 seed: Dallas Cowboys (11-4, NFC East #2, clinched playoff berth)

Dallas kept their chances at the NFC East title alive on Saturday by knocking off the Eagles. They’re still two games behind with two to play, but now there are all sorts of other tiebreakers involved if Dallas should catch them. I have a feeling that the loss to Jacksonville is one that they’re going to regret. . .at least until after they hammer whoever wins the NFC South on Wild Card Weekend.

  • Remaining opponents: at Tennessee, at Washington

#6 seed: New York Giants (8-6-1, NFC East #3)

Had the Giants managed to knock off the Vikings on Saturday, everything had fallen into place for them to clinch a playoff spot. But it didn’t, so this is where they are for now. It’s going to be hard for them to fall out of this spot unless they completely fall apart, but their game this coming weekend against Indianapolis looms large because they have a road trip to play an Eagles team that may or may not have anything to play for in Week 18 and it wasn’t exactly pretty the first time those two teams met this season.

  • Remaining opponents: vs. Indianapolis, at Philadelphia

#7 seed: Washington Commanders (7-7-1, NFC East #4)

Things are a bit of a mess down here at the bottom of the picture, with Washington’s tie with New York a few weeks ago keeping them ahead of two other teams in the NFC playoff picture. The Commanders might also have quarterback issues again, as they benched Taylor Heinicke during their loss to San Francisco on Saturday and brought Carson Wentz back in. If Carson Wentz is the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions at this point.

  • Remaining opponents: vs. Cleveland, vs. Dallas

Outside Looking In

#8 seed: Seattle Seahawks (7-8, NFC West #2)

#9 seed: Detroit Lions (7-8, NFC North #2, behind Seattle based on head-to-head)

  • Remaining opponents: vs. Chicago, at Green Bay

#10 seed: Green Bay Packers (6-8, NFC North #3)

  • Remaining opponents: at Miami, vs. Minnesota, vs. Detroit

#11 seed: Carolina Panthers (6-9, NFC South #2)

  • Remaining opponents: at Tampa Bay, at New Orleans

#12 seed: New Orleans Saints (6-9, NFC South #3, behind Carolina based on head-to-head)

  • Remaining opponents: at Philadelphia, vs. Carolina

#13 seed: Atlanta Falcons (5-10, NFC South #4, eliminated from playoff contention)

  • Remaining opponents: vs. Arizona, vs. Tampa Bay

#14 seed: Arizona Cardinals (4-10, NFC West #3, eliminated from playoff contention)

  • Remaining opponents: vs. Tampa Bay, at Atlanta, at San Francisco

#15 seed: Los Angeles Rams (4-10, NFC West #4, eliminated from playoff contention)

#16 seed: Chicago Bears (3-12, NFC North #4, eliminated from playoff contention)

  • Remaining opponents: at Detroit, vs. Minnesota

We’ve almost made it to the end of the regular season, and there are plenty of things that still need to be decided, folks. We’ll be keeping track of everything in the NFC playoff chase all the way to the end of the season.

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