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A Look at NFC Playoff Picture Entering Week 14

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings knew that facing the Patriots in December in New England was going to be a tough challenge.

Minnesota, however, didn’t know how much help it would receive across the league in jockeying for a spot in the NFC Playoffs.

The Giants defeated the Bears in overtime, and the Panthers lost to the Buccaneers in the early slate of games.

The Seahawks, however, manhandled a depleted 49ers squad to move into the No. 5 seed if the playoffs started this week.

The Vikings slid from the fifth seed to the six seed with four left to play, starting with Monday’s significant clash in Seattle.

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

1. Los Angeles Rams (11-1)

12/9 @ CHI (8-4)

12/16 PHI (6-6)

12/23 @ AZ (3-9)

12/30 SF (2-10)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (19-29)

Opponents’ win percentage: .396

Status: The Rams clinched the NFC West and a playoff berth in Detroit and moved back ahead of the Saints for the top spot, thanks to New Orleans losing at Dallas.

2. New Orleans Saints (10-2)

12/9 @ TB (5-7)

12/17 @ CAR (6-6)

12/23 PIT (7-4-1)

12/30 CAR (6-6)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (24-23-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .510

Status: The Saints can clinch the NFC South and a playoff berth with one more victory.

3. Chicago Bears (8-4)

12/9 LAR (11-1)

12/16 GB (4-7-1)

12/23 @ SF (2-10)

12/30 @ MIN (6-5-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (23-23-2)

Opponents’ win percentage: .500

Status: The Bears maintained their game-and-a-half lead over the Vikings for the division but had their six-game win streak snapped.

4. Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

12/9 PHI (6-6)

12/16 @ IND (6-6)

12/23 TB (5-7)

12/30 @ NYG (4-8)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (21-27)

Opponents’ win percentage: .438

Status: The Cowboys began their four-game win streak with a victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia.

5. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

12/10 MIN (6-5-1)

12/16 @ SF (2-10)

12/23 KC (10-2)

12/30 AZ (3-9)

Remaining foes’ combined records: 21-26-1

Opponents’ win percentage: .448

Status: The Seahawks have won three in a row and went wire-to-wire twice with the Rams. Seattle knows the best it can do is a No. 5 seed.

6. Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1)

12/10 @ SEA (7-5)

12/16 MIA (6-6)

12/23 @ DET (4-8)

12/30 CHI (8-4)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (25-23)

Opponents’ win percentage: .521

Status: Minnesota goes from one tough venue to another, just on the opposite coast for a game with even higher stakes.

7. Carolina Panthers (6-6)

12/9 @ CLE (4-7-1)

12/17 NO (10-2)

12/23 ATL (4-8)

12/30 @ NO (10-2)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (28-19-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .594

Status: The Panthers no-win November has extended into December with Carolina’s fourth consecutive loss, a 24-17 defeat in which Cam Newton had four interceptions.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-6)

12/9 @ DAL (7-5)

12/16 @ LAR (10-2)

12/23 HOU (9-3)

12/30 @ WAS (6-6)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (32-16)

Opponents’ win percentage: .667

Status: The Eagles can even their season score with the Cowboys in the first of three consecutive games against division leaders.

9. Washington Redskins (6-5)

12/9 NYG (4-8)

12/16 @ JAX (4-8)

12/22 @ TEN (6-6)

12/30 PHI (6-6)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (20-28)

Opponents’ win percentage: .417

Status: The Redskins have dropped four of five and lost quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy to broken legs.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

12/9 NO (10-2)

12/16 @ BAL (7-5)

12/23 @ DAL (7-5)

12/30 ATL (4-8)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (28-20)

Opponents’ win percentage: .583

Status: After a four-game skid, the Bucs have won two in a row. They are the only team to win in New Orleans this season.

11. Green Bay Packers (4-7-1)

12/9 ATL (4-8)

12/16 @ CHI (8-4)

12/23 @ NYJ (3-9)

12/30 DET (4-8)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (19-29)

Opponents’ win percentage: .396

Status: In addition to being the end of the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay, the Packers home loss to the Cardinals on Sunday dropped their postseason chances to two percent, according to the

New York Times’ Playoff Simulator.

12. Atlanta Falcons (4-8)

12/9 @ GB (4-7-1)

12/16 AZ (3-9)

12/23 @ CAR (6-6)

12/30 @ TB (5-7)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (18-29-1)

Opponents’ win percentage: .385

Status: The Falcons have a one-percent chance of making the playoffs after losing four in a row. The remaining schedule is fairly friendly for a late-season surge, but it might be too little too late. Everyone listed hereafter has a lower likelihood of making the postseason.

13. New York Giants (4-8)

12/9 @ WAS (6-6)

12/16 TEN (6-6)

12/23 @ IND (6-6)

12/30 DAL (7-5)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (25-23)

Opponents’ win percentage: .521

Status: The Giants helped the Vikings immensely, even if they did allow Chicago to tie the game late. New York has improved over the course of the season and could play a big factor in how the NFC and AFC playoffs shake out.

14. Detroit Lions (4-8)

12/9 @ AZ (3-9)

12/16 @ BUF (4-8)

12/23 MIN (6-5-1)

12/30 @ GB (4-7-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (17-29-2)

Opponents’ win percentage: .375

Status: The Lions, who have lost five of six, essentially have one game remaining against a playoff contender and would love to play spoiler for Minnesota in a couple of weeks.

15. Arizona Cardinals (3-9)

12/9 DET (4-8)

12/16 @ ATL (4-8)

12/23 LAR (11-1)

12/30 @ SEA (7-5)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (26-22)

Opponents’ win percentage: .542

Status: The Cardinals delayed elimination from the postseason for at least one week by becoming the first road team to win at Green Bay this season.

16. San Francisco 49ers (2-10)

12/9 DEN (6-6)

12/16 SEA (7-5)

12/23 CHI (8-4)

12/30 @ LAR (11-1)

Remaining foes’ combined records: (32-16)

Opponents’ win percentage: .667

Status: The 49ers became the first team to be officially eliminated from the postseason field but will close their season against four teams in the running for playoff berths, including division-leading Chicago and the NFC West Champion Los Angeles Rams.

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