DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys
Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

NFC playoff picture, Week 15: Cowboys, Rams in critical game

The NFC is incredibly competitive. Then there’s the NFC East. We look at the NFC Playoff picture as the season wraps up.

Looking at the NFC playoff picture, it might take 11 wins to get in the postseason. Even in that case, an 11-win team might end up on the outside looking in. Of course, unless you play in the East, where seven wins could do the trick.

Here’s how the NFC playoff picture is shaping up heading into Week 15:

1. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
5. Seattle Seahawks (10-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

7. Los Angeles Rams (8-5)
8. Chicago Bears (7-6)
9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

 

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San Francisco was able to reclaim the NFC’s top seed last week by beating the Saints. Now the Niners come home to take on the Atlanta Falcons, winners of only four games this season. Should the 49ers win and the Seahawks lose, their magic number would be down to one in the NFC West race.

In Green Bay, the Packers are renewing the league’s oldest rivalry when the Bears visit Lambeau Field. With a victory, Aaron Rodgers and Co. have a chance to clinch a playoff berth, although the Cowboys would need to beat the Rams (more on that below). As for the Bears, they need to win or face elimination should the Rams or Vikings win. To make the postseason, Chicago needs to run the table and get help. The final three games? Green Bay, the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota. Good luck.

 

Read: AFC Playoff Picture, Week 15 – Texans, Titans Square Off 

 

As for the third-seeded Saints, they play at the Superdome on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. The NFC South has been wrapped up since Thanksgiving, so this is all about seeding. If New Orleans wins and the Packers fall to Chicago, it moves back into position for a first-round bye.

Now, the NFC East. Dallas is hosting Los Angeles in a big game for both sides. Oddly, it’s actually more important for the eight-win Rams than for the six-win Cowboys. If Dallas loses, it still guarantees control of its own destiny with a win next week over the Eagles.

However, Los Angeles is in the brutal wild card race, trailing Minnesota by a single game. The Vikings play on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend, and if Minnesota loses and the Rams win, they actually move into the final seed based on a tiebreaker.

Finally, Seattle is on the road against the Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks can move back into the NFC West lead with a win and 49ers loss. However, Seattle controls its own destiny, with the two foes playing in Week 17 in the Pacific Northwest. If the Seahawks win out, they would be the third seed at worst.

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