After the Minnesota Vikings lost in Week 14, let’s check in on the updated NFC Playoff Picture and NFC Wild Card standings.
As the NFL schedule nears the middle of December and the end of the regular season, teams are discovering that their success is nothing more than a house of cards.
Nothing proved that more than the utter silliness we saw in the NFC on Sunday, as the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings were embarrassed in games that true contenders should have no problem with.
Minnesota came into Week 14 a win away from winning the NFC North but were underdogs on the road in Detroit. It turns out Vegas was right, as the Vikings were thoroughly embarrassed in a blown loss to the Lions. The final score makes it look a lot closer than it was, and the point remains that a team in the position Minnesota is shouldn’t have issues like it did in Week 14.
The Lions are sneaking into the Wild Card with their huge win over the Vikings. After starting the season slow, Detroit sits at 6-7 and just two games out of the No. 7 seed in the NFC Wild Card standings. A lot needs to happen, including a meltdown by the Seahawks and a few other teams to close out the season, but the fact that the Lions are in this position is a victory in and of itself.
As for the Vikings, nothing called into question their legitimacy as a true contender than the way things went on Sunday. Kirk Cousins once again won the box score game but lost the actual one, missing passes in key situations and putting the Vikings on the ropes in a way a more talented quarterback might not have.
Minnesota still controls its own destiny and will almost certainly win the NFC North. But it’s hard to remember a time when a team with the record Minnesota has, and the accolades it will finish the season with, will enter the playoffs with such little faith.
Here’s how the chaos that happened impacts the NFL Playoff Picture as it begins to take shape and lock into place.
Updated NFC Playoff Picture after Vikings lose in Week 14
Minnesota losing was bad, but the Cowboys almost fell into an even more embarrassing pit of doom. Dallas was dragged to the wire by the worst team in football and needed a last-minute touchdown drive to beat the Houston Texans — at home.
As stressful as it was in the moment, Dallas escapes Week 14 in an even better position than where it started the day. They have some breathing room between the Giants and remain well within striking distance of the Eagles for the top spot in the NFC East and the conference.
The only team that seemed to have a truly good week in the NFC was the Philadelphia Eagles. Amid the chaos elsewhere in the conference, the Eagles quietly clinched a playoff berth — the first team in the NFL to punch their ticket.
It’s a little unfair to call the way the Eagles clinched ‘quiet’ because they stomped the New York Giants to make it happen. But the sheer insanity of what happened with the Texans upsetting the Cowboys and Lions blowing out the Vikings drowned out any noise coming from Philly doing what we all assumed it would.
Here’s a look at what the NFC Playoff picture would look like if the postseason started today:
- Philadelphia Eagles (12-1) – Clinched Playoff Berth
- Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
- San Francisco 49ers (8-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (10-3)
- Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
- Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Based on those standings, here’s what the playoff matchups would look like for the first weekend of action:
- (2) Dallas Cowboys vs. (7) Washington Commanders
- (3) San Francisco 49ers vs. (6) Seattle Seahawks
- (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. (5) Dallas Cowboys
Each higher-seeded team would host its Wild Card Weekend matchup. The Philadelphia Eagles would have a first-round bye with the No. 1 seed and host any playoff game they play in.
NFC Wild Card standings after Week 10
Here’s what the Wild Card standings look like after Week 10:
- Dallas Cowboys (9-4) – Playoff Spot
- Washington Commanders (7-5-1) – Playoff Spot
- New York Giants (7-5-1)
- Detroit Lions (6-7)
- Atlanta Falcons (5-8)
- Green Bay Packers (5-8)
- Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
- Carolina Panthers (4-8)
- New Orleans Saints (4-9)
- Los Angeles Rams (4-9)
- Chicago Bears (3-10) – Eliminated