The Minnesota Vikings enter Week 14 as one of seven NFL teams with a chance to clinch a postseason berth.
They have a win-and-in situation as they head to Carolina to take on the 8-4 Panthers on Sunday. What would amount to at least a four-game lead in the NFC North with three weeks remaining would give the Vikings their second division title in the past three seasons.
A loss in Carolina, however, wouldn't eliminate their chances of a clinch this week. If both Detroit and Green bay also lose or tie on Sunday, the Vikings will take home the division crown no matter the outcome of Sunday's game against the Panthers.
As the postseason race heats up, each game around the league becomes critical for the Vikings. The following three games from this weekend could have a big impact on their long-term postseason possibilities.
New Orleans Saints (9-4) at Atlanta Falcons (8-5) | 7:25 p.m. (CT) today | Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Vikings fans can rest easy Thursday night knowing that no matter what happens, the Vikings will have the upper hand. With wins over the Saints and Falcons already this season, the Vikings would hold any tiebreaker after Week 17.
For the Saints, a win would be the first step to possibly clinching a playoff berth. A win along with six other possible scenarios would punch their ticket. It would also increase their chances of winning the NFC South title as they would enter Week 15 with at least a one-game lead over Carolina, including the head-to-head tiebreaker.
A Falcons win would certainly shake up the rest of the playoff picture in the NFC for this week. They would still remain alive in the race for the closest division race in the NFL and would control their own destiny in that race. It would also put pressure on the Seahawks in the Wild Card race, while making it harder on teams like the Lions and Packers to make the postseason.
UPDATE: The Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football 20-17.
Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) | 3:25 p.m. (CT) Sunday | EverBank Field
For the time being, the Seahawks hold the fifth seed in the NFC, but they could be on the outside looking in after this week. A loss to the Jaguars, who have a very good chance of their own making the playoffs this week, could knock Seattle back depending on the results of the games prior to theirs this weekend.
The Jaguars on the other hand are battling for their first division title since 1999 and their first playoff berth since 2007. They remain in a tight race with the Tennessee Titans in what could come down to their Week 17 showdown.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (9-3) | 3:25 p.m. (CT) Sunday | Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
The game this week that could ultimately have the biggest impact on where the Vikings are seeded this postseason will see the Eagles and Rams square off. The Eagles, whose 9-game winning streak was snapped last Sunday, look to rebound and head back to the East Coast with a 1-1 split during their West Coast road trip. An Eagles win will keep them as one of the frontrunners for home-field advantage in the playoffs, while a loss could hurt those chances because they'd sit at the same record with the Rams without having the tiebreaker.
Meanwhile, the Rams look to inch closer to their first divisional title since 2003. A win would give them at least a one-game lead over Seattle heading into their pivotal Week 15 showdown. A loss Sunday could not only affect their chances at having a first-round bye, but in the long run could cost them their chances at the NFC West.