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NFL Playoff Picture: Packers Loss Changes NFC Landscape

We’re just about through Week 14 of the NFL season and the playoff picture still isn’t looking any clearer. In fact, after this weekend it seems like even more teams are alive than last weekend. That said, we did get our first clinching team this weekend when the Patriots blew out the Bears in Chicago. Interestingly enough, 11 wins is enough to clinch in the AFC but not the NFC. Atlanta got to 11 wins and still did not mathematically clinch this weekend.

We’ve also still got the Giants and Ravens playing in separate games tonight which will certainly affect the playoff picture overall but won’t change the “If the season ended today” scenario.

In the AFC it’s the Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs and Jaguars in that order.

The AFC wildcards right now are the Ravens and Jets. The Chargers, Colts and Dolphins are still in the hunt. For the Chargers and Colts, their best shot at the postseason will probably be by winning their divisions, which are still in play. The Colts play the division leading Jags next week with a chance to pull even.

In the NFC the Falcons, Bears, Eagles and the 6-7 Rams are your top seeds.

The wild cards right now are the 10-3 Saints and the Giants. Yes, it’s very possible that the Saints the could win 12 or 13 games and get a wild card while the Rams finish below .500 and get a home game.

The Packers fell out of the playoffs with their loss to the Detroit on Sunday and if Aaron Rodgers can’t play next week they could find themselves in real trouble. They’re just a game behind the Bears in the NFC North but play at New England, home to the Giants and then the Bears to close out the season. It’s a brutal final three games. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept themselves in the race with a win at Washington thanks to a botched extra point. Were the Giants to lose tonight, the Bucs would pull dead even with them in the wild card race. They’d have the same overall record, division record and conference record.

The Seahawks are tied with the Rams stop the NFC west at 6-7 and the 49ers are only a game back at 5-8. Neither team has a shot at wild card, but they could get themselves into the postseason by winning the awful NFC West.