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NFC Playoff Picture: Vikings Have Slim Hopes With 2 Games Left

EAGAN, Minn. — What a difference a week makes.

Last week, Minnesota controlled its own playoff destiny. Yet after Sunday's loss to the Rams and other Week 16 results, the Vikings are now 7-8 and need to win out plus get some help if they want to make the playoffs.

According to analytics website FiveThirtyEight.com, the Vikings postseason chances now sit at just 13 percent.

Minnesota will face a must-win scenario Sunday night at Lambeau Field if Philadelphia wins at Washington earlier in the day. Any combination of an Eagles win and Vikings loss over the next two weeks will eliminate Minnesota.

"We've still got to win the last two games," said Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said Sunday. "We can't really worry about scenarios and all that.

"If we lose, we're out, so we've got to go out and win these last two and let the chips fall where they may," Barr added.

A reminder that there are seven postseason berths in each conference and that only the No. 1 seed gets a first-round bye, a format the league adopted in 2020.

Here's the look at the NFC playoff picture — with standings, current playoff odds, and a status update — as we head into Week 17.

1. Green Bay Packers (12-3)

Final 2 games

01/02 MIN (7-8)

01/09 @DET (2-12-1)

Remaining foes' combined records: 9-20-1

Opponents' win percentage: .317

Current playoff odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com): Clinched NFC North title

Status: The Packers have a step ahead in the march toward a potential No. 1 seed. Aaron Rodgers set Green Bay's franchise record for touchdown passes in Week 16 to surpass Brett Favre's 442, and also once again finds himself in the MVP discussion. With Border Battle No. 123 on tap, you know the Packers would relish the chance to eliminate the Vikings from playoff contention.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.

2. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

Final 2 games

01/02 AZ (10-5)

01/09 @PHI (8-7)

Remaining foes' combined records: 18-12

Opponents' win percentage: .600

Current playoff odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com): Clinched NFC East title

Status: The Cowboys have won four straight games and made quite the statement Sunday night. Dallas dominated Washington in all three phases, putting up a 2021 league-high 56 points in a prime-time thrashing. The Cowboys are trying to claim the top seed, but they also look like a dangerous team as the playoffs near.

3. Los Angeles Rams (10-4)

Final 2 games

01/02 @BAL (8-7)

01/09 SF (8-7)

Remaining foes' combined records: 16-14

Opponents' win percentage: .533

Current playoff odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com): Clinched playoff spot

Status: The Rams weren't at their best Sunday and were still able to win in more ways than one. Not only did Los Angeles clinch a playoff berth, but the Rams also moved ahead of the Cardinals for first place in the NFC West. The Rams can clinch the division Sunday with a win coupled with a Cardinals loss.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4)

Final 2 games

01/02 @NYJ (4-11)

01/09 CAR (5-10)

Remaining foes' combined records: 9-21

Opponents' win percentage: .300

Current playoff odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com): Clinched NFC South title

Status: The Buccaneers clinched their first division title since 2007 on Sunday. The defending champs will again be a team to keep an eye on when the playoffs begin. Tampa Bay was without numerous key players in a win over Carolina, but the Bucs had depth players step up when needed. Tom Brady is in line to participate in the playoffs for the 19th time in his career (22 seasons).

5. Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

Final 2 games

01/02 @DAL (11-4)

01/09 SEA (5-10)

Remaining foes' combined records: 16-14

Opponents' win percentage: .533

Current playoff odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com): Clinched playoff spot

Status: Arizona's losing streak is now at three games, and the Cardinals are trending in the wrong direction in late December. Perhaps the only cheer for Arizona at the moment is that it clinched a playoff spot over the weekend thanks to its 7-0 start. Once thought to be the league's top team, the Cardinals might end up being in a Wild Card spot when all is said and done.

View photos of RB Dalvin Cook, WR Justin Jefferson and S Harrison Smith from the 2021 season and were named to the 2022 Pro Bowl.