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NFC Playoff Picture: The door to the NFC’s top seed just opened for the Vikings

Can they take advantage?

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Don’t look now, but the odds of the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC running directly through U.S. Bank Stadium just increased significantly.

Thanks to the Washington Commanders taking down the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings are right back into the race for the NFC’s top seed.

Both the Eagles and the Vikings now stand with 8-1 records, though Philadelphia is still the 1 seed in the NFC as things stand right now because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. That means that, if they want the top spot, the Vikings are going to have to finish a full game ahead of Philadelphia.

There could be some funky stuff that happens in the case of a three-way tiebreaker, but does anyone think that the top team in the NFC West or the NFC South is going to make that sort of climb? I don’t.

Things look even more advantageous for the Vikings when you consider that five of their next six games are at home, the only road trip during that stretch takes them to Detroit, and they won’t play another game outside until they visit Lambeau Field in Week 17.

With the playoff field expanding to seven teams, it’s even more important to get the first-round bye, because every other playoff team would have to win three games to get to the Super Bowl rather than two. So, hopefully the Vikings will keep things going the way they have been and the Eagles will stumble somewhere to get them into that top spot.

The Vikings haven’t held the 1 seed in the NFC playoffs since the 1998 season. They’ve had the 2 seed several times (2000, 2009, 2017), but as mentioned, with only one team now getting a bye week the 2 seed isn’t quite as big a deal as it used to be.

Can the Vikings maintain their momentum and jump the Eagles into the NFC’s top spot? We’ve got eight more weeks of football left to find out.

NFC Playoff Picture

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1, win over MIN)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (8-1, loss to PHI)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
  5. New York Giants (7-2)
  6. Dallas Cowboys (6-3)
  7. San Francisco 49ers (5-4)
  8. Washington Commanders (5-5)
  9. Green Bay Packers (4-6, strength of victory tiebreaker over ATL)
  10. Atlanta Falcons (4-6, strength of victory tiebreaker < GB, 3-4 NFC record)
  11. Arizona Cardinals (4-6, 3-5 NFC record)
  12. Detroit Lions (3-6, 3-4 NFC)
  13. Los Angeles Rams (3-6, 3-5 NFC)
  14. Carolina Panthers (3-7, 3-1 NFC South, 3-5 NFC)
  15. New Orleans Saints (3-7, 1-2 NFC South, 2-4 NFC)
  16. Chicago Bears (3-7, 1-6 NFC)