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A Look at NFC Playoff Picture Entering Week 17

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have won two in a row to enter the final week of the regular season with momentum and the opportunity to secure a playoff berth by defeating the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota (8-6-1) is in position for one of two Wild Card spots in the NFC Playoffs and would be the No. 6 seed if the postseason started this week.

The Vikings need a win over the Bears (11-4) to guarantee their third trip to the postseason since 2015.

Minnesota also could get in with a loss or tie by Philadelphia (8-7) at Washington (7-8), but the Vikings would prefer to handle their own business.

The Bears-at-Vikings and Eagles-at-Redskins games were flexed to 3:25 p.m. (CT).

1. New Orleans Saints (13-2)

12/30 CAR (6-9)

Opponent's win percentage: .400

Status: The Saints clinched the No. 1 overall seed with a 31-28 victory over the Steelers. The road to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII — at least in the NFC — could go through New Orleans.

2. Los Angeles Rams (12-3)

12/30 SF (4-11)

Opponent's win percentage: .267

Status: The Rams can secure the No. 2 seed and an important first-round bye if they handle a 49ers team that they beat 39-10 on Oct. 21.

3. Chicago Bears (11-4)

12/30 @ MIN (8-6-1)

Opponent's win percentage: .567

Status: The Bears are 4-3 in road games this season. If they can make it five, then they'll have a shot at the No. 2 seed, but Chicago would need the Rams to lose to the 49ers.

4. Dallas Cowboys (9-6)

12/30 @ NYG (5-10)

Opponent's win percentage: .333

Status: The Cowboys have won the NFC East for the third time in five seasons. Regardless of what happens Sunday, Dallas will be the No. 4 seed and host a Wild Card game.

5. Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

12/30 AZ (3-12)

Opponent's win percentage: .200

Status: Seattle clinched a playoff berth by beating Kansas City 38-31 on Sunday night. The best that the Seahawks can do is the No. 5 seed, which they'll secure if they handle the team with the worst record in the NFC. A tie with the Cardinals would even be enough.

6. Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1)

12/30 CHI (11-4)

Opponent's win percentage: .733

Status: "Win and in" will be the mantra for a Minnesota team that made several costly mistakes at Chicago but made it close (25-20) in the teams' first meeting this season. The Vikings could get the No. 5 seed with a win and a Seattle loss, the No. 6 seed with a win or a Philadelphia loss or tie, or miss the playoffs with a loss and an Eagles win.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

12/30 @ WAS (7-8)

Opponent's win percentage: .467

Status: Can a team be a greater thorn in the side for another in one calendar year? Not likely. Even though Minnesota won at Philadelphia in Week 5 to exorcise demons from the NFC Championship Game in January, the Eagles are still causing anxiety in the lead-up to Sunday.

Teams that have been eliminated:

8. Washington Redskins (7-8)

12/30 PHI (8-7)

Opponent's win percentage: .533

Status: The Redskins were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday. They can extend the same feeling to a division rival this week by upsetting the Eagles and do the Vikings a major favor.

9. Green Bay Packers (6-8-1)

12/30 DET (5-10)

Opponent's win percentage: .333

Status: The Packers made quite the rally against the Jets, guaranteeing a third-place finish in the NFC North.

10. Atlanta Falcons (6-9)

12/30 @ TB (5-10)

Opponent's win percentage: .333

Status: A win would place the Falcons in second in the NFC South and garner a trip to Minnesota to face the Vikings in 2019.

All but one — the second-place finisher in the NFC South — Vikings opponent has been determined. Atlanta has the head-to-head tiebreaker on Carolina and the conference record tiebreaker on Tampa Bay.

11. Carolina Panthers (6-9)

12/30 @ NO (13-2)

Opponent's win percentage: .867

Status: The Panthers losing streak has extended to seven games. Carolina will see a New Orleans squad that could opt to rest all or most of its starters. The Panthers could still finish second in the NFC South with a win and a Falcons loss or tie to earn the trip to U.S. Bank Stadium next year.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10)

12/30 ATL (6-9)

Opponent's win percentage: .400

Status: The Buccaneers could finish third or fourth in the NFC South. Tampa Bay, which opened the season with wins over New Orleans and Philadelphia, is trying to avoid its second four-game losing streak of 2018.

14. New York Giants (5-10)

12/30 DAL (9-6)

Opponent's win percentage: .600

Status: This one has no bearing on postseason standings but will affect the order of selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.

14. Detroit Lions (5-10)

12/30 @ GB (6-8-1)

Opponent's win percentage: .433

Status: The Lions have lost seven of nine games since opening the season 3-3 but will try to win their fourth game in a row against the Packers for the first time since 1982-83.

15. San Francisco 49ers (4-11)

12/30 @ LAR (12-3)

Opponent's win percentage: .800

Status: The 49ers were able to cap 2017 with a 34-13 win over a Rams squad that was resting starters Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. This time, Los Angeles won't know if it has to have a win to secure the No. 2 seed.

16. Arizona Cardinals (3-12)

12/30 @ SEA (9-6)

Opponents' win percentage: .600

Status: If the Cardinals finish with the same record as the 49ers, Arizona will be the third-place finisher in the NFC West and slightly hurt their draft position because of sweeping San Francisco.

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