The Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Bucs, and Minnesota Vikings currently occupy the three wild-card spots on the NFC side of the NFL playoff bracket. The Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Football Team are currently on the NFC wild-card bubble with four weeks remaining.
The New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers are jockeying for the #1 seed and a bye in the NFC playoffs. The Saints became the first team in the NFC to reach win 10 wins, which they’ve accomplished without Drew Brees. Taysom Hill has gone 3-0 as a starter filing in for the injured Brees.
The New York Giants could finish the season with a losing record, yet still secure the #4 seed as the NFC East division winner.
|NFC PLAYOFF STANDINGS|
- New Orleans Saints 10-2
- Green Bay Packers 9-3
- Los Angeles Rams 8-4
- New York Giants 5-7
- Seattle Seahawks 8-4
- Tampa Bay Bucs 7-5
- Minnesota Vikings 6-6
The LA Rams currently sit in first place in the NFC West, but it looks like the division crown will come down to the final week of the season, just like last year. The Seattle Seahawks are in second place in the NFC West, but they’re also the top wild-card team.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs currently hold down the second NFC wild-card spot. Aside from the Vikings, the Bucs face an easy schedule the rest of the season. There’s no reason not to expect the Bucs to finish with double-digit wins. Tampa Bay fans hope that Brady can work his playoff magic as soon as the playoffs kick off in January.
Wild Card: Minnesota or Arizona
If the season were to end today, the Minnesota Vikings would secure the final wild-card spot in the NFC with a 6-6 record. The Arizona Cardinals would be outside the wild-card bubble with a 6-6 record. The Vikes hold the tiebreaker with a better record over common foes.
The eggheads at FiveThirtyEight ran their NFL predictive model, and the Cards are only 37% chance to qualify for the postseason. The Vikes are slightly better at 40%.
The Vikes played two different seasons so far. They stumbled out of the gate with three consecutive losses, and went 1-5 in their first six games. Since then, the Vikings are 5-1 with a big win over the Green Bay Packers.
- Minnesota: at Tampa Bay, vs Chicago, at New Orleans, at Detroit
- Arizona: at NY Giants, vs Philadelphia, vs San Francisco, at LA Rams
The Vikes have two tough road games ahead of them, including one in Tampa this Sunday. On Christmas, they head down to New Orleans to play the Saints. The Vikes have only one home game remaining, with a date against the Chicago Bears in Week 15. The Detroit Lions host the Vikes in Week 17 to cap off the season.
The Cardinals are stuck in a rut and mired in a three-game losing streak. The Cards got off to a hot 5-2 start, but they’re struggling with a 1-4 clip over their last five games.
The Cards face the NY Giants on the crappy turf at MetLife Stadium this weekend. In Week 14, they host the three-win Philly Eagles. The Cards finish the season with two tough divisional games. They host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16, then head to Hollywood to play the LA Rams.
The NFC West is fairly deep considering all four teams are still in contention for a playoff bid. That’s a testament to the strength of the division compared to the ineptitude of the “NFC Least” squads.
San Francisco will play another home game in Arizona this weekend when they host Washington. They also head to Dallas to play the Cowboys in Week 15. San Francisco ends the season with two difficult NFC West games against the Cardinals and Seahawks. The Super Bowl runner-up is less than a 35% chance to advance to the wild card, according to FiveThirtyEight.
|NFC WILD CARD BUBBLE|
- Arizona Cardinals 6-6
- San Francisco 49ers 5-7
- Chicago Bears 5-7
- Washington 5-7
After a 5-1 start, Da Bears went sideways with six straight losses. They’re hoping to get off the schneid against the Houston Texans this Sunday. The Bears could secure a final wild-card spot if they run the table and finish the season with a 4-0 record. That would entail beating the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14, and knocking off the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 17.
We included Washington on the bubble because they’re fighting for an NFC East division title with the New York Giants. Washington put themselves back in the hunt with a big win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. According to FiveThirtyEght, Washington has a 40% chance to win the sad-sack NFC East. The first-place Giants have a 53% chance to win the worst division in the league.