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NFC Playoff Picture: Aftermath of Week 13

(Image credit Billy Hardiman/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick

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 teams. So until the playoffs hit I will continue to update the current playoff picture for both the AFC and NFC Conferences. For this article, I will dive into the AFC conference.

Division Winners (Seed 1-4)

1. Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

The Cardinals have been fantastic and they will absolutely play in the playoffs this year and honestly, I am shocked they have not clinched a playoff spot yet this season as they already have 10 wins this season. The Cardinals won that many games with all the injuries they had to deal with and I am very impressed with them.

Arizona can clinch a playoff berth in four ways: 1) WIn or Tie, 2) Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers both Loss or Tie, 3) Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers both Loss or Tie, 4) San Francisco 49ers Loss, New Orleans Saints Loss or Tie and Atlanta Falcons/Carolina Panthers game ties.

2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

The NFL version of the Last Dance is here and the Packers will get another shot at the playoffs as they look like they will take the division and make the playoffs or suffer a tremendous collapse. I doubt that will happen at all as the Packers will be healthier this week and face an easy opponent in the Chicago Bears.

Green Bay can clinch the NFC North Division in two ways: 1) Win and Minnesota Vikings Loss or 2) Tie and Minnesota Vikings Loss

Green Bay can clinch a playoff berth in two ways: 1) Win, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers both Lose 2)Win, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams Lose, plus the San Francisco 49ers Tie

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)

The Buccaneers are in good shape for Playoff football and could once again have a deep playoff push for this season.

Tampa Bay can clinch the NFC South Division in one way: 1) Win and Carolina Panthers plus New Orleans Saints both lose and tie

Tampa Bay can clinch a playoff berth in one way: 1) Win and Carolina Panthers, Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, and San Francisco 49ers all lose.

4. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)

Dallas on paper is the best team in this division and just defeated the Saints without their head coach and a portion of their team due to the Covid outbreak. Luckily they won and should be ready to go for this week. The Cowboys are in a good spot for now but need to win games as the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles

Wildcard Teams (Seed 5-7)

5. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)

The Rams may be dealing with injuries right now but I think they will be in good shape this week health-wise. Stafford should hopefully be healthier but like I said the Rams should take it easy as back injuries are no joke. But the challenge is that they will face Arizona and a win here is huge so that they can still have a shot at potentially winning the division plus get closer to locking a playoff spot.

6. Washington Football Team (6-6)

The NFC 6th Seed is wide open right now but Washington has been on a hot streak lately as they won their last 4 football games. This team has gotten a lot better lately to the point where they are currently in the playoffs if the season ended today. Their defense has gotten better as well and hopefully they continue this winning streak and make the playoffs again.

7. San Francisco 49ers (6-6)

The NFC 7th Seed is wide open and anybody can win it at this point. San Francisco is a team in this league I don't know what to think about. They have the talent to bet better than what they are but they just fall flat on occasion. They need to wake up and realize that they are better than what they are if they want to make the playoffs because the talent is there. The execution must be in upcoming games because this could go down to the wire.

In the hunt

8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

The Philadelphia Eagles have impressed me a lot this season as I thought that they were going to tank the season and rebuild. They did beat the Jets without Jalen Hurts. Gardner Minshew, while his time was brief with the Jaguars, is one of my favorite players in the league. The Eagles in the present are in a good spot and have a shot to challenge for the NFC East Division. The Eagles are solid for the future; as they will utilize their three 1st round picks in the 2021 NFL draft class to help rebuild their team.

9. Minnesota Vikings (5-7)

What a joke of a performance last week by the Minnisota Vikings. This season's losses are not on Kirk Cousins as he has been having an excellent year. The issue is head coaching Mike Zimmer and this defense is a mess. The Vikings have to make the playoffs or I won't be shocked if Zimmer is out of a job this season. The defense needs to be blown up during the offseason. The offense could struggle due to Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen’s injuries.

10. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

Carolina is not out of it yet but I am concerned that no Christian McCaffery will hurt this team much think. I don't think the Panthers have a good QB as well. Cam is not the player he was and I doubt Darnold will be either. The defense is still solid though and the Panthers have the ability to be what Washington was last season. The Panthers have a tough schedule as they have to face Buffalo, Atlanta, Tampa Bay twice, and New Orleans.

11. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)

The Falcons have a chance still to make the playoffs as they won a lot more games than I thought they would at this point. The Falcons have a shot to make the playoffs but will need to win the next few games in order for it to happen. I have more confidence in them than the next team.

12. New Orleans Saints (5-7)

I contemplated putting the Saints as a tank team but I decided not to as they still have a chance of making the playoff team this season. The Saints offense is a mess that is dealing with a ton of injuries. Imagine if the saints had consistency at the quarterback position. This team would be a lot better than what they are and I wonder what they will do to upgrade it during the offseason. I forgot the Saints did take Ian Book in the 4th round why are they not giving him a chance (Even though he stunk in Notre Dame too.

Tank Teams

13. New York Giants (4-8)

The Giants are not mathematically eliminated but come on when you got to start Jake from State Fromm your team is in trouble.

14. Chicago Bears (4-8)

The Bears are a complete mess right now. Who knows if Justin Fields will return and Andy Dalton is not the same QB he was years ago. I doubt they make the playoffs as the team clearly does not care anymore and they do not want Matt Nagy as their head coach anymore. Oh yeah, that reminds me Why is Matt Nagy still here again?

15. Seattle Seahawks (4-8)

Seattle’s season is pretty much done especially as they are in a very competitive NFC West division. I wonder what they do in the offseason when they blow it up and if Pete Carroll will still be the head coach next season. At least they will start their rebuilding process with a top pick in the 1st round of this draft class. Oh Wait I remembered this time without a reminder that their first-round pick is New York Jets Property due to the Jamal Adams trade.

Somehow Not Eliminated Mathematically Eliminated

16. Detroit Lions (1-10-1)

I want to congratulate the Detroit Lions for winning their first game of the 2021 NFL Season and during the Dan Campbell era. I am still shocked they have not been eliminated from the playoffs yet.

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