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NFC Playoff Picture: Vikings Back To The Wild Card

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The bad news is. . .well, what we saw yesterday.

The good news, however, is that the Minnesota Vikings are still most definitively a part of the playoff picture in the NFC at this point.

With their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the Vikings fell to 8-4 on the season and, once again, fell from the NFC's #3 seed to the top Wild Card spot, the #5 seed. If the playoffs were to start today, that would give the Vikings a trip to play the NFC East Champions. As it stands right now, that team would be the Washington Redskins at 5-6. However, the Redskins face the Dallas Cowboys (3-8) on Monday Night Football, and a loss would drop them into a three-way tie at the top of the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) and the New York Giants (5-7).

The other NFC match-up for Wild Card weekend would see the team that just thrashed the Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks, traveling to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in a rematch from earlier this season. It's important to note that, if the Vikings and Seahawks should end up with the two Wild Card spots, the Seahawks would wind up with the #5 seed and the Vikings would be at #6 based on head-to-head results. That could be the difference between having to travel to Green Bay and having to travel to whoever wins the NFC East.

The byes in the NFC would continue to belong to the still-undefeated Carolina Panthers (12-0) and the Vikings' opponent this week, the Arizona Cardinals (10-2).

Over in the AFC, the New England Patriots have gone from the #1 seed in the conference to the #3 seed after two straight losses. If the season ended today, the Patriots (10-2) would end up hosting their AFC East rivals, the New York Jets (7-5) on Wild Card weekend. The other AFC Wild Card match-up would feature the current AFC South leaders, the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) hosting the Kansas City Chiefs (7-5). The new top seed in the AFC would be the Cincinnati Bengals (10-2), while the Denver Broncos (10-2) would be the #2 seed.

That's a look at the NFL playoff picture, folks. . .the Minnesota Vikings are still in it, but the outlook isn't quite as rosy as it's been in the past.