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A Look at NFC Playoff Picture Entering Week 13

EAGAN, Minn. — Fresh off a 24-17 victory in the 117th Border Battle with the Packers, the Vikings would be the fifth seed in the NFC Playoffs if the postseason started this week.

It doesn’t, but Week 13 should have quite the postseason feel with Minnesota (6-4-1) set to visit New England (8-3), which is leading the AFC East and would be the No. 2 seed in the AFC Playoffs.

The Patriots have won their division 14 of the past 15 seasons and won at least 10 games in each of those seasons. They’ve made three of the past four Super Bowls and won two, totaling five titles since 2001.

By the way, New England is 5-0 at home this season, so it won’t be easy, but as a wise man once said, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”

Here’s a look at the NFC standings, along with the remaining schedules, win percentages of upcoming opponents and a status update.

1. New Orleans Saints (10-1)

11/29 @ DAL (6-5)

12/9 @ TB (4-7)

12/17 @ CAR (6-5)

12/23 PIT (7-3-1)

12/30 CAR (6-5)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (29-25-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .536

Status: The Saints have control of the NFC South and can claim the division with one more win and one more loss by the Panthers, but New Orleans is thinking home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

2. Los Angeles Rams (10-1)

12/2 @ DET (4-7)

12/9 @ CHI (8-3)

12/16 PHI (5-6)

12/23 @ AZ (2-9)

12/30 SF (2-9)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (21-34)

Opponents’ win percentage: .382

Status: The Rams can clinch the NFC West with one more win or one more loss by the Seahawks and still have a strong shot at the No. 1 overall seed.

3. Chicago Bears (8-3)

12/2 @ NYG (3-8)

12/9 LAR (10-1)

12/16 GB (4-6-1)

12/23 @ SF (2-9)

12/30 @ MIN (6-4-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (25-28-2)

Opponents’ win percentage: .473

Status: The Bears maintained their game-and-a-half lead over the Vikings for the division and are seeking their sixth victory in a row.

4. Dallas Cowboys (6-5)

11/29 NO (10-1)

12/9 PHI (5-6)

12/16 @ IND (6-5)

12/23 TB (4-7)

12/30 @ NYG (3-8)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (28-27)

Opponents’ win percentage: .509

Status: The Cowboys have claimed three in a row by a combined 18 points and will try to stop the Saints 10-game win streak.

5. Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1)

12/2 @ NE (8-3)

12/10 @ SEA (6-5)

12/16 MIA (5-6)

12/23 @ DET (4-7)

12/30 CHI (8-3)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (31-24)

Opponents’ win percentage: .564

Status: Minnesota will have tough roadies against New England, a rare opponent, and Seattle, a more frequent foe, but can control its position for a Wild Card berth.

6. Washington Redskins (6-5)

12/3 @ PHI (5-6)

12/9 NYG (3-8)

12/16 @ JAX (3-8)

12/22 @ TEN (5-5) [plays HOU Monday]

12/30 PHI (5-6)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (21-33)

Opponents’ win percentage: .389

Status: The Redskins have dropped three of four and are adjusting to the loss of Alex Smith.

7. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

12/2 SF (2-9)

12/10 MIN (6-4-1)

12/16 @ SF (2-9)

12/23 KC (9-2)

12/30 AZ (2-9)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (21-33-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .391

Status: The Seahawks have posted back-to-back three-point victories after losses to the Chargers and Rams.

8. Carolina Panthers (6-5)

12/2 @ TB (4-7)

12/9 @ CLE (4-6-1)

12/17 NO (10-1)

12/23 ATL (4-7)

12/30 @ NO (10-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (32-22-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .591

Status: The Panthers have dropped three in a row, including a one-pointer at Detroit and a three-pointer against Seattle. The division would require a major meltdown by New Orleans, but Carolina could make the Wild Card race quite interesting.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

12/3 WAS (6-5)

12/9 @ DAL (6-5)

12/16 @ LAR (10-1)

12/23 HOU (7-3) [plays TEN Monday]

12/30 @ WAS (6-5)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (35-19)

Opponents’ win percentage: .648

Status: The Eagles had one of the best holiday weekends by moving to within one game of the division lead, but they have the toughest road ahead, according to win percentages of remaining opponents.

10. Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)

12/2 AZ (2-9)

12/9 ATL (4-7)

12/16 @ CHI (8-3)

12/23 @ NYJ (3-8)

12/30 DET (4-7)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (21-34)

Opponents’ win percentage: .382

Status: Save for visiting Chicago, the rest of the Packers slate would be conducive to a late-season rally, but Green Bay’s loss at Minnesota on Sunday significantly hurt that likelihood.

11. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)

12/2 BAL (6-5)

12/9 @ GB (4-6-1)

12/16 AZ (2-9)

12/23 @ CAR (6-5)

12/30 @ TB (4-7)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (22-32-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .409

Status: The potential promise of a three-game win streak, including a victory at Washington, gave way to the Falcons second three-game losing streak of 2018.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)

12/2 CAR (6-5)

12/9 NO (10-1)

12/16 @ BAL (6-5)

12/23 @ DAL (6-5)

12/30 ATL (4-7)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (32-23)

Opponents’ win percentage: .582

Status: The Bucs snapped a four-game skid by defeating the 49ers. The next four games, however, include three matchups with teams that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started this week.

13. Detroit Lions (4-7)

12/2 LAR (10-1)

12/9 @ AZ (2-9)

12/16 @ BUF (4-7)

12/23 MIN (6-4-1)

12/30 @ GB (4-6-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (26-27-2)

Opponents’ win percentage: .509

Status: The Lions took the Bears to the wire before inopportune mistakes spoiled Thanksgiving but will play the rest of the season without Marvin Jones, Jr., who landed on Injured Reserve on Monday.

14. New York Giants (3-8)

12/2 CHI (8-3)

12/9 @ WAS (6-5)

12/16 TEN (5-5) [plays HOU Monday]

12/23 @ IND (6-5)

12/30 DAL (6-5)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (31-23)

Opponents’ win percentage: .574

Status: The Giants have three wins and six losses by one possession this season but lost their grip on a 19-3 lead on the Eagles Sunday. Vikings fans should keep their fingers crossed and hopes checked for help against the Bears.

15. Arizona Cardinals (2-9)

12/2 @ GB (4-6-1)

12/9 DET (4-7)

12/16 @ ATL (4-7)

12/23 LAR (10-1)

12/30 @ SEA (6-5)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (28-26-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .518

Status: The Cardinals followed their bye week with three consecutive losses to AFC foes, including Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles, and are approaching mathematical elimination.

16. San Francisco 49ers (2-9)

12/2 @ SEA (6-5)

12/9 DEN (5-6)

12/16 SEA (6-5)

12/23 CHI (8-3)

12/30 @ LAR (10-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (35-20)

Opponents’ win percentage: .636

Status: The 49ers are pretty much left to play the role of spoiler thanks to four losses this season by four or fewer points. San Francisco fell 27-9 at Tampa Bay over the weekend.

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