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NFC Playoff Seedings and where the Vikings fit in

14 weeks in the books, 4 more to go

Minnesota Vikings v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images

We are officially through fourteen weeks of the 2023 NFL season, and the Minnesota Vikings have a slightly more solid grip on an NFC playoff spot than they did at this time last week. That doesn’t mean the job is done or anything like that. . .far from it. But things are coming a bit more into focus as we approach the final four weeks. Let’s take a look at what the NFC playoff picture looks like and where the Vikings slot in.

1) San Francisco 49ers (10-3, NFC West leader, clinched playoff spot, ahead of Dallas via head-to-head win)

Through fourteen weeks, the Niners are the only team in the NFL that has officially punched their ticket to the postseason party. Kyle Shanahan’s bunch is rolling at this point, having blown out both Dallas and Philadelphia and making it look easy since their midseason stumble. It’s hard to see them relinquishing their hold on the top seed, but stranger things have happened.

Remaining schedule: at Arizona, vs Baltimore, at Washington, vs Los Angeles Rams

2) Dallas Cowboys (10-3, NFC East leader, ahead of Philadelphia via division record)

The Cowboys thrashed Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football and have jumped over them in the East race, making them the #2 seed in the conference. That’s no longer good enough for a bye, but it puts them in position to potentially make a run at the top spot. Dak Prescott is playing at an MVP level at this point, but I don’t think I trust any team coached by Mike McCarthy. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong.

Remaining schedule: at Buffalo, at Miami, vs Detroit, at Washington

3) Detroit Lions (9-4, NFC North leaders)

The Lions have made things hard on themselves lately, losing games to both Green Bay and Chicago. They still have a fairly firm grip on the NFC North race, but if they’re not careful those couple of games at the end of the season are going to end up mattering a whole lot more than it appears they do right now. If the Lions win their next two games. . .one of which is at Minnesota. . .they win the division. Can they make it happen?

Remaining schedule: vs Denver, at Minnesota, at Dallas, vs Minnesota

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7, NFC South leaders, ahead of Atlanta via common games)

Yep. . .NFC South still stinks. They currently have three teams at 6-7 and the odds are looking good for them sending a team with a losing record to the playoffs for the second straight year. But, again, that’s good enough for a home playoff game and the right to get boat raced by either Dallas or Philadelphia, I suppose.

Remaining schedule: at Green Bay, vs Jacksonville, vs New Orleans, at Carolina

5) Philadelphia Eagles (10-3, NFC East second place)

It’s weird not seeing the Eagles up among the top seeds, but their loss to Dallas has dropped them into a Wild Card position. The Eagles’ offense doesn’t seem quite as explosive as it has been in the past, and they haven’t got a lot of time to correct that before the playoffs start. They’re almost certainly in and, as noted above, they’ll likely draw whoever wins the NFC South pillow fight to move to the Divisional round.

Remaining schedule: at Seattle, vs New York Giants, vs Arizona, at New York Giants

6) Minnesota Vikings (7-6, NFC North second place)

Of the four NFC teams that went into Week 14 at 6-6, only the Vikings managed to emerge with a victory. Sure, it was an ugly win, but it was a win. Had the Vikings taken care of business against Denver and Chicago heading into the bye week, they’d be leading the NFC North right now and have a playoff spot pretty much assured. But, they didn’t, so now things are going to be a lot more difficult, but not impossible if they find even a little bit of offense with the way Brian Flores’ defense has been playing.

Remaining schedule: at Cincinnati, vs Detroit, vs Green Bay, at Detroit

7) Green Bay Packers (6-7, NFC North third place, ahead of Los Angeles Rams via head-to-head win)

The Packers embarrassed themselves against the Fightin’ Tommy DeVitos on Monday Night Football, which was awesome. I’m sure that won’t slow down the Green Bay hype train, but it should. They have the last NFC playoff spot at the moment but if they can lose to the Giants they’re capable of losing to pretty much anyone.

Remaining schedule: vs Tampa Bay, at Carolina, at Minnesota, vs Chicago

Outside Looking In

8) Los Angeles Rams (6-7, NFC West second place, ahead of Seattle via head-to-head sweep)

9) Seattle Seahawks (6-7, NFC West third place, ahead of Atlanta via conference record)

10) Atlanta Falcons (6-7, NFC South second place, ahead of New Orleans via head-to-head record)

11) New Orleans Saints (6-7, NFC South third place)

12) New York Giants (5-8, NFC East third place, ahead of Chicago via conference record)

13) Chicago Bears (5-8, NFC North fourth place)

14) Washington Commanders (4-9, NFC East fourth place)

15) Arizona Cardinals (3-10, NFC West fourth place)

16) Carolina Panthers (1-12, NFC South fourth place, eliminated from playoff contention)

That’s a complete look at the current NFC playoff picture, ladies and gentlemen. Hopefully the Vikings can hold on to a spot over these final four weeks, starting with Saturday’s contest in Cincinnati.