(Image credit Jeff Hanisch/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 NFC.
Division Winners (Seed 1-4)
1. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
The Packers once again showed why they are the best team in the NFL as they dominated the Chicago Bears last week. This is the NFL version of the Last Dance as it will be Aaron Rodgers last season with the Packers and I would be shocked if the Packers didn't make the playoffs this season.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
Tampa Bay once again is the most complete team in the NFC as of now. I don't really see a weakness in the buccaneers excluding the secondary. Tampa defeated the Buffalo Bills in a Super Bowl matchup I predicted before the season began. If they keep the wins up they could potentially get the first seed as well.
3. Arizona Cardinals (10-3)
I was surprised that the Arizona Cardinals lost last week. Especially due to how beaten up the Rams are and the covid outbreak that made both CB Jalen Ramsey plus TE Tyler Higbee not play due to injuries. I still think Arizona should be fine for playoffs but they should not overlook this loss
4. Dallas Cowboys (9-4)
The Dallas Cowboys may have come away with the win and a three-win lead for the NFC East Division. But I am concerned with the Cowboys and it mainly has to deal with coaching. Mike McCarthy is going to hold this team back as he made a ton of questionable moves in the Washington game. He was trying to gift wrap the Washington Football Team with the win. But the Cowboys are so talented and should be a lot better than what they are. I'd be shocked if the Cowboys did not win this division. I am concerned about how deep of a playoff run the Cowboys will have.
Wildcard Teams (Seed 5-7)
5. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Rams beating Arizona is huge as not only did they increase their chances to make the playoffs but they could steal this division from the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams face the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks which should win. But the Rams true test to show that they are healthy is in their matchup against the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts as both are playoff contenders. If the Rams are healthy they should have a strong playoff push.
6. San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
I got to say I am very impressed with the 49ers as they played the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. George Kittle is one of the best Tight Ends that I have ever seen. He plays with so much toughness and passion. He wants to win football games and the 49ers are lucky to have him on their offense. Even though Jimmy G might not be here in the long term they are doing an excellent job handling Trey Lance’s development.
7. Washington Football Team (6-7)
Washington may have lost to the Cowboys but they had a hard-fought battle and made it closer than what it should have been (Thanks Mike McCarthey). But Washington lost WR Terry McLaurin due to an injury and that was a big blow. If he played the entire Dallas game I think they would have won. The 7th seed is wide open but Washington has an opportunity to make the playoffs.
In the hunt
8. Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
The Vikings looked a lot better than they did two weeks ago. Then again they faced the incompetent Steelers who loves to play down to competition. But they luckily get to face the Bears twice but the true test is against the Rams and Packers. But they need playoffs or else changes could come to this team including Mike Zimmer potentially being out of a job.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
The Eagles are in a good spot both in the present and the long term. For the present, they have an opportunity to make the playoffs as the 7th seed is very competitive. Every win is going to matter as they face the Chargers, Chiefs, Bengals, and Raiders. In the long term there in a good spot as they will have three 1st round picks (Their own, Indianapolis Colts, and Miami Dolphins pick in 1st round) in the 2022 NFL Draft. They can’t lose this season.
10. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)
Atlanta is still in the hunt and has been better than what I thought they were going to be. I thought the Falcons were going to tank the season and have this year be a contract suffering year. But man they performed a lot better than they have and they could make the playoffs this season if things go right and they keep their momentum up by winning more games.
11. New Orleans Saints (6-7)
The Saints winning against the New York Jets gave confidence and momentum to the team. Especially with how competitive the 6th and 7th seed is. Despite the QB concerns surrounding this team I still see the Saints being in the hunt for playoffs. But it will be tough as 3 of their last 4 games will be against divisional rivals.
12. Carolina Panthers (5-8)
The Panthers are in deep trouble right now. They recently fired their offensive coordinator in Joe Brady. The Panthers lost their best offensive weapon in Christian McCaffery and their defense has been inconsistent. Carolina doesn't truly have a good QB as Darnold is hurt, Newton is not good, and PJ Walker is inconsistent. I won't be shocked if Carolina decides to draft or sign a QB in the offseason. Matt Rhule Job is in jeopardy but I think he will stay as the head coach for next season.
13. Seattle Seahawks (5-8)
Seattle pretty much has nothing to lose this season. They don't have their first-round pick due to the Jamal Adams trade. They are going to try and win as many games. I doubt they make the playoffs but it is worth a shot for the Seahawks.
Somehow Not Eliminated Mathematically Eliminated
14. New York Giants (4-9)
The Giants have to start Mike Glennon at QB. Their season is pretty much done and I doubt Daniel Jones plays due to his neck injury. I wonder what will happen to Joe Judge but Dave Gettleman is most likely out of a job as the GM for the Giants.
15. Chicago Bears (4-9)
The Bears look like they have given up the season but are still trying to battle for jobs next season. Well with other teams as they are not a fan of head coach Matt Nagy. Why is he still the head coach for the Bears again?
Eliminated From Playoff Contention
16. Detroit Lions (1-11-1)
Now the Lions have officially been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Honestly, they have been for many weeks, this is just the mathematical proof that they can’t make the playoffs anymore.