Last week’s NFL results muddied the waters for several potential NFC playoff teams, but also seemed to end one team’s quest for the postseason. With a Week 14 schedule that features several key matchups for playoff hopefuls, what impact could this weekend’s games have?
The playoff window seemingly closed on the Atlanta Falcons last week. After an ugly loss to the Steelers, coupled with Tampa Bay getting a crucial win, Atlanta benched starting QB Marcus Mariota for third-round rookie Desmond Ridder. It feels like the Falcons are now playing for the future and conceding the NFC South to the Bucs.
That leaves us with eight NFC teams vying for seven playoff spots. Nobody has officially clinched anything yet, but now some scenarios are coming into play with just five weeks left in the regular season. Both Philadelphia and Minnesota can secure playoff spots with wins or ties this Sunday.
For the Dallas Cowboys, seeding is still very much up in the air.
Here are the NFC playoff standings going into Week 14:
- Philadelphia Eagles (11-1 overall, 6-1 vs NFC)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-2 overall, 6-2 vs NFC)
- San Francisco 49ers (8-4 overall, 6-2 vs NFC)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6 overall, 6-2 vs NFC)
- Dallas Cowboys (9-3 overall, 7-3 vs NFC)
- New York Giants (7-4-1 overall, 3-4-1 vs NFC)
- Seattle Seahawks (7-5 overall, 5-4 vs NFC)
- Washington Commanders (7-5-1 overall, 4-4-1 vs NFC)
The all-NFC East dream took a hit with the tie ending between New York and Washington, dropping the Commanders down a peg. But with Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury in San Francisco, we could see the 49ers slide right out of the playoffs over this next month. Despite their tie, the Giants and Commanders’ odds arguably improved overall.
Washington finally gets their bye week to rest and hope for some losses by their fellow wild card contenders. But who cares what they want? We’re here to see what helps the Cowboys!
Texans @ Cowboys
What a nice time to get the worst team in football. The interstate rivalry between Dallas and Houston is the only intrigue here as the one-win Texans come to town. Naturally, there’s always “trap game” potential and the concern that the Cowboys won’t get up for this one the way they should. But after letting the Colts hang around too long last Sunday night, hopefully Dallas treats Houston with some respect and doesn’t wait three quarters to wake up again.
Eagles @ Giants
That other shade of blue in the NFC East will be getting plenty of support from Cowboys Nation this week. Even with both Dallas and New York vying for wild card spots, an Eagles loss would pull them within a game of the Cowboys and create a potential division-changing matchup for Week 16 between Dallas and Philly. We’re running out of opportunities to catch up.
Vikings @ Lions
Even if Dallas does eventually take the NFC East, they need at least one more loss by Minnesota to get the number-one seed. The Lions have been a scrappy team all year, and their previous meeting with the Vikings was a close four-point loss on the road. This one has decent odds of going our way.
49ers @ Buccaneers
After weeks of getting hyped as one of the real threats in the NFC, the Niners lost their starting QB for likely the remainder of the season. They’re now a team you’d love to see in a playoff matchup. While Tampa’s lead over Atlanta in the NFC South is starting to look insurmountable, a loss here would give the Falcons some new life coming out of their bye. As we’ve said for a while, keeping Tom Brady out of the playoffs is fine with us.
Panthers @ Seahawks
The Garoppolo injury arguably makes Seattle the bigger threat now in the NFC West. Unfortunately, the Panthers don’t feel like a team that’s going to give them much trouble. Seattle will likely pull even with the Niners this week and likely take the division over the next few weeks.