Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Sep 24, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

NFC playoff picture, Week 14: Bucs-Vikings lead off

The NFC playoff picture is becoming wilder by the day, with the NFC East and wild card races becoming hotly-contested among many teams.

We’ve got four weeks until the NFL playoffs. Expect wildness until then. In the NFC, 11 teams still have a realistic shot of making it into the postseason. Here’s how the NFC playoff picture looks as we head into the weekend:

1. New Orleans Saints (10-2)
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
3. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
4. New York Giants (5-7)
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
7. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)

8. Arizona Cardinals (6-6)
9. Detroit Lions (5-7)
10. San Francisco 49ers (5-7)
11. Washington Football Team (5-7)

 

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The biggest games of the week are the Cardinals visiting the Giants, and the Buccaneers hosting the Vikings. Arizona desperately needs to win after losing four of five, while New York is trying to run its win streak to five straight. With a win, the Giants would continue their hold on the No. 4 seed. If the Cardinals emerge victorious, they could slide ahead of the Vikings if the Buccaneers beat the Cardinals.

A word of note: if the Buccaneers lose and the Cardinals win, there’s a three-way tie for two Wild Card spots going into Week 15. Who holds the edge? It would go Minnesota, Arizona and Tampa Bay, with Tom Brady and Co. on the outside looking in.

Elsewhere, the Football Team and 49ers meet for a game where the loser is all but finished. The Niners must run the table for any hope, while Washington — loser of the tiebreaker to New York — needs to continue making a push.

The Packers and Lions also have an important tilt at Ford Field. Detroit is hoping to win its second straight after firing head coach Matt Patricia, while Green Bay can clinch the NFC North with a win, plus losses by Minnesota and the Chicago Bears.

 

Read: New England Patriots Playoff Hopes Hanging By A Thread

 

New Orleans and Seattle should have easy weekend, specifically the Seahawks. The Saints are visiting the Philadelphia Eagles, who have fallen apart to a 3-8-1 record. Even with Carson Wentz being benched, New Orleans should be fine. Meanwhile, the New York Jets head to the Pacific Northwest, looking for their first win.

Finally, the Rams have already earned their victory, beating the New England 24-3 on Thursday night at SoFi Stadium. Los Angeles can’t fall below the No. 3 seed this week, as it continues to battle with the Seahawks for the NFC West title.

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