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NFC Playoff Outlook Entering Week 14

The Vikings playoffs hopes received a little help Sunday in the race for a Wild Card spot, but it's too early to tell if it will be enough.

Minnesota is one of nine NFC teams that is 6-6 or better with four games to play.

Detroit (8-4) maintained its two-game grip on the NFC North by defeating the Saints (5-7) in New Orleans on Sunday. The 28-13 victory was the first game this season that the Lions have not trailed in the fourth quarter and Detroit's fourth win in a row.

The Vikings need to win their remaining four games and need the Lions to lose three of their final four in order for Minnesota to defend its NFC North crown. Similarly, if the Packers won out, and the Lions lost three of four, then Green Bay would win the division.

The other division leaders are Dallas (11-1), Seattle (8-3-1) and Atlanta (7-5). The Seahawks cruised over the Panthers at home, giving the defending conference champs their eighth loss of the season.

The Falcons lost 29-28 at home after the Chiefs returned a two-point conversion attempt for the game's final score with 4:32 left in the fourth quarter. Eric Berry intercepted a pass by Matt Ryan and returned it to the opposite end zone.

The Giants (8-4) lost to the Steelers, and the Redskins (6-5-1) fell to the Cardinals on Sunday. The Eagles (5-7) also lost at the Bengals in an interconference game.

The Buccaneers, however, improved to 7-5 with a win against the Chargers.

If the playoffs started this week — they don't — the New York Giants and the Buccaneers would be the NFC's two Wild Card teams.

Current positioning and remaining schedules:

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No. 1 seed: Dallas (11-1)

Final four: at Giants on Dec. 11; vs. Buccaneers on Dec. 18; vs. Lions on Dec. 26; at Eagles on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 28-20

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No. 2 seed: Seattle (8-3-1)

Final four: at Packers on Dec. 11; vs. Rams on Dec. 15; vs. Cardinals on Dec. 24; at 49ers on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents:  16-31-1

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No. 3 seed: Detroit (8-4)

Final four: vs. Bears on Dec. 11; at Giants on Dec. 18; at Cowboys on Dec. 26; vs. Packers on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 28-20

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No. 4 seed: Atlanta (7-5)

Final four: at Rams on Dec. 11; vs. 49ers on Dec. 18; at Panthers on Dec. 24; vs. Saints on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 14-34

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No. 5 seed: New York (8-4)

Final four: vs. Cowboys on Dec. 11; vs. Lions on Dec. 18; at Eagles on Dec. 22; at Redskins on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 30-17-1

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No. 6 seed: Tampa Bay (7-5)

Final four: vs. Saints on Dec. 11; at Cowboys on Dec. 18; at Saints on Dec. 24; vs. Panthers on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 25-23

Note: Tampa Bay and Atlanta split their head-to-head, but the Falcons have an edge in the second tiebreaker, record within the division.

Needing help (in order of next in line):

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Washington (6-5-1)

Final four: at Eagles on Dec. 11; vs. Panthers on Dec. 19; at Bears on Dec. 24; vs. Giants on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 20-28

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Minnesota (6-6)

Final four: at Jaguars on Dec. 11; vs. Colts on Dec. 18; at Packers on Dec. 24; vs. Bears on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 16-31

Note: Indianapolis plays the Ne

w York Jets tonight.

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Green Bay (6-6)

Final four: vs. Seahawks on Dec. 11; at Bears on Dec. 18; vs. Vikings on Dec. 24; at Lions on Jan. 1

Combined record of remaining opponents: 25-22-1

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