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NFC Playoff Picture: Minnesota Vikings Back To #3

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Since tonight's Monday Night Football match-up between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns isn't going to affect the playoff picture in any meaningful way, let's take a look at where the NFC stands right now.

After the events of the past week, your Minnesota Vikings stand at 8-3 and in first place in the NFC North once again. I know. . .those four days that the Vikings didn't have the division lead were tough, but we persevered. Because the NFC East is a tire fire from top to bottom, the Vikings currently sit with the #3 seed in the NFC.

In the current NFC playoff scenario, their first round opponent would be none other than the team they host this weekend, the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are now 6-5 following their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and have leapfrogged the Atlanta Falcons due to a superior record against NFC opponents. . .the Seahawks are 5-4 against NFC teams, while the Falcons are 4-4.

The other NFC match-up for Wild Card weekend would see the Green Bay Packers traveling to the nation's capital to take on the 5-6 Washington Redskins. Yes, if the season ended today, the NFC East would have a champion with a sub-.500 record. . .which would still be good enough to get them a home playoff game.

The top two seeds in the NFC remain with the NFL's last undefeated team, the Carolina Panthers (11-0) and the Vikings' opponent in Week 14, the Arizona Cardinals (9-2).

Over on the AFC side, the byes would go to the New England Patriots (10-1) and the Cincinnati Bengals (9-2). The Bengals get the nod for the #2 seed over the Denver Broncos due to a superior conference record. The AFC match-ups on Wild Card weekend would see the Broncos hosting the #6 seed, the Houston Texans, and the Kansas City Chiefs. . .yes, those Kansas City Chiefs. . .heading to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. You read correctly. . .if the playoffs started today, the AFC South would have two teams in the post-season tournament.

According to the folks over at 538, the Vikings have a 90% chance of making the playoffs, along with a 51% chance of winning the NFC North. They need to keep doing what they've been doing to ensure they stay locked in a battle with the Cardinals for the #2 seed and a first round bye as opposed to sliding into the Wild Card chase.