The NFC playoff picture is pretty straightforward with three weeks to go in the NFL regular season.
The top-5 teams are all but locked in, with limited potential seeding variation. And then there are two wild card spots left for four or five teams, depending on how you want to consider the Packers.
Here is a closer look:
NFC playoff picture entering Week 16:
The Giants are obviously in control. Their remaining schedule is at the Vikings, home against the Colts and at the Eagles. They probably only need to beat Indy to get in safely. There is also a good chance the Eagles will have nothing to play for in Week 18 and take their foot off the gas. The Giants are in a very good spot.
The Commanders close at the 49ers, home against the Browns and then home against the Cowboys. They really need to beat the Niners. That said, Dallas may have even less to play for in Week 18 than the Eagles do. And Cleveland is very beatable.
The Seahawks are in freefall. And the Chiefs will be heavy favorites to hand them their fifth loss in six games this weekend, even with the game in Seattle. But after that, the Seahawks close with home games against the Jets and Rams. It’s unlikely a 9-8 finish will get it done, but crazier things have happened. Seattle does own a tiebreaker on Detroit.
The Lions have won three straight and have a chance to keep rolling with a road game at the Panthers and a home game against the Bears the next two weeks. They would be in strong position entering the final week of the regular season at 9-7 with tiebreakers over the Commanders and Giants. And that Week 18 matchup against the Packers in Green Bay could be a big one.
If the Packers beat the Rams on Monday, they will be 6-8 and close out with games at the Dolphins, at home against the Vikings and then Detroit at home. There is no reason to believe they will win out. But they still have Aaron Rodgers. If they win out, they have a not-that-unrealistic shot to steal the final spot.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]