Image Credit: (Eric Hartline / USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
Like I said in the last article, last year starting Week 13 I did a weekly Playoff Picture article series detailing the current seeding of the playoffs. Well It has returned as I am doing this again. The Playoffs are getting closer and closer with each week that passes. Now there is plenty of football left to be played but again it is crunch time for some team. So until the playoffs hit I will continue to update the current playoff picture for both the AFC and NFC Conferences. Now lets look at the NFC.
Division Winners (Seed 1-4)
1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
With having double digit wins, the Eagles are clearly going to the playoffs. Especially as they are arguable the best team in the NFL today. They are impressive, but the question is if they can truly lock up this division with the Cowboys, Giants, and Commanders each having 7 or more wins.
Clinching Scenarios for the Philadelphia Eagles (Week 14)
#1. Philadelphia (Win) + Washington (Loss) + San Francisco (Loss or Tie) + Seattle (Loss or Tie) *Keep in mind if both San Francisco Along with Seattle both Tie, then the Eagles don’t clinch a playoff spot*
#2. Philadelphia (Win) + Washington (Tie) + San Francisco (Loss) + Seattle (Loss)
2. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
See what happens when an organizational change happens in both the executive and coaching branch. The Vikings are a big example as why change sometimes is good. Just look how motivated the Vikings are with Kevin O’Connell as the head coach compared to Mike Zimmer. Now the Vikings are 9-2 and are clearly going to win the NFC North. Well it can be locked depending on this upcoming week.
Clinching Scenarios for the Minnesota Vikings (Week 14)
NFC North Division
#1. Minnesota (Win) + Detroit (Loss or Tie)
#2. Minnesota (Tie) + Detroit (Loss)
3. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
Is it too early to say that the 49ers regret trading up and drafting QB Trey Lance. I mean we still don’t know what he is due to injuries, but thank goodness they did not trade Jimmy Garoppollo. He has performed very well and their offense is very legit. The defense despite being beaten up is still playing well. They should take care of business of locking up this division, but they need to beware of the Seattle Seahawks.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)
Let's be real, nobody in the NFC South deserves to be in the playoffs this season as every team in that division are a mediocre team. The Buccaneers are a team that is very mediocre due to injuries on offense and are also poorly coached with Todd Bowles as the head coach. I was watching the press conferences after the Buccaneers lost to the Cleveland Browns and my goodness Bowles goes to show he never learned from his mistakes in New York. Just listen to his answer regarding his timeouts.
I am watching like excuse me. When he said “no that clock was going to run down” I legit laughed. He has three timeouts to stop the clock whenever he can and chooses not to call one in the most important part of the game. I mean the total lack of awareness and also lack of proper time management during the game is obvious. Bowles is a great defensive coordinator, but he is a terrible head coach that is holding this team back and those that say he is not, don’t know what they are talking about.
Wildcard Teams (Seed 5-7)
5. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
The Cowboys have been performing well and while the offense has been great, there is no debate saying that Dallas’s defense is elite. Micah Parsons is the best linebacker in the NFL and there really is not a debate here. The only concern I have with this team is of course the coaching with Mike McCarthy as I still think he is a terrible coach. Overall I give the Cowboys a thumbs up this season.
6. New York Giants (7-4)
The Giants are a classic example as to why coaching matters in the NFL. Look at how proper coaching has led to a massive amount of improvement. I do worry about the injuries getting worse for the Giants as they have a ton of them right now. However a good coach overcomes it and Brian Daboll is a good coach.
7. Washington Commanders (7-5)
The Commanders yet again do a great job winning an important game (Tiebreaker wise) against the Atlanta Falcons. The Commanders may have something if they keep this up and I will be happy for the players. Not the organization after that disgraceful way that they yet again disrespected Sean Taylor Legacy by giving him a “Statue”. Look at the photo below.
Does that look like a statue to you? No it does not and I was disgusted seeing that as it is clear the organization just took a mannequin from probably their team store and just put it in a glass case. The worst part was that it was all a marketing ploy. The “statue” had a Nike Jersey, Reebok, pants, and Adidas soccer cleats. I am not kidding as the material this mannequin has on is in the wrong sport, especially in the clients as those are soccer cleats, not football cleats. Yes I know Sean Taylor played with Soccer Cleats on occasion, but come on.
I am going to keep saying this until it is done, Sell The Team Snyder. The longer you are here brings damage to not only the franchise, but the league as a whole. Stuff like this makes me hate the Commanders as a whole and just not care about the product on the field.
In the hunt
8 Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
The team that has surprised almost everybody is the Seattle Seahawks. With how they ran the offseason, nobody expected this team to win as many games as they have. So much has gone right for the Seahawks in finally hitting on draft picks and the reemergence of Geno Smith at QB. While they are out of the playoffs if the season ended today, they have an opportunity to get in the playoffs this year.
9. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)
I really don’t know what to think of the Atlanta Falcons this season. There are moments where this team can be competitive and then there are moments where they just want to go back to Plan A and tank for a top draft pick. I will say that the NFC South is wide open and anybody can win it. Although it is more unlikely with the way the Saints are run and lack of talent on Carolina’s offense.
Maybe in the Hunt/Kind of a Tank team
10. Detroit Lions (4-7)
The Lions may be a crushed franchise, but I really am buying into what they are doing both culturally and on the field. This team is getting better and while Campbell needs to do better calling plays and the way he handles time in the game, these players care for him as a coach. With how weak the NFC is there kind of in hunt for a playoff spot, but there is a part of me in reality that still sees them as a Tank Team.
11. Green Bay Packers (4-8)
While the Packers lost to the Eagles they came out with a positive. WithAaron Rodgers now hurt and who knows how long he will be out, his injury is a blessing in disguise as we finally get to see Jordan Love play. After all they used a first round pick on the kid and many including myself want to see how he performs. Well that opportunity is now. I still am labeling them as a Tank Team as it can go either or, but this change at QB is a big positive for the Packers.
12. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
I have come to one conclusion about what the Cardinals are. They are the NFC version of the Las Vegas Raiders. Think about it both have incompdtent coaches and invested a ton in building the team. Difference is that they did it through extensions and boy is Arizona regretting extending Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim. It is not looking good when Kyler Murray admits that they are screwed then you better roll those tanks and unemployment papers.
13. New Orleans Saints (4-8)
The Saints are just a disaster this season and are going nowhere with Andy Dalton this season. Could they maybe win the division, Probably as the team has nothing to lose as their 1st Round Pick is Philadelphia Eagles property. However with how poor the offense has been and Dennis Allen as the coach, I really doubt that the Saints will make it to the playoffs.
14. Carolina Panthers (4-8)
It is clear these past few weeks that Steve Wilks is a better coach than Matt Rhule was in Carolina. However it is clear that Carolina is also going nowhere and are such an inconsistent team. There are high moments that they have, but some are lowlights. If they perform more consistently maybe they will have a chance of winning the division, but for now they are clearly tanking and that is probably for the best.
Somehow Not Eliminated Mathematically Eliminated
15. Los Angeles Rams (3-8)
The Rams are pretty much done this season. Injuries have completely derailed them this season. Hey, at least they can tank and get a top draft pick, Oh wait, their first round pick is Detroit Lions property due to the Matthew Stafford Trade. Well at least you won a Super Bowl last season.
16. Chicago Bears (3-8)
Not a shock the Bears have a low amount of wins right now. With Justin Fields injured, that seals the Bears this season. It would not be a shock if they shut down Fields and tank for a top draft pick. To build the team, which pretty much was the goal with the way they built the team during last offseason.