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NFL Playoff Picture: Breaking Down the NFC After 16 Weeks

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Minnesota went into Houston this weekend and took care of business, defeating the Texans 23-6 and keeping their postseason hopes alive. The surprise Vikings victory further complicates the end of the NFC playoff picture, where several teams are potentially competing for the final spot. Here is what the NFC playoffs look like after Week 16:

  1. Atlanta Falcons 13-2
  2. Green Bay Packers 11-4
  3. San Francisco 49ers 10-4-1
  4. Washington Redskins 9-6
  5. Seattle Seahawks 10-5
  6. Minnesota Vikings 9-6
  7. Chicago Bears 9-6
  8. Dallas Cowboy 8-7
  9. New York Giants 8-7

The Falcons have secured the top spot, while the Packers are looking to protect their half-game lead over San Francisco for the 2nd seed. After the 49ers things really get interesting. The NFC East 4th seed will be decided by the winner of next Sunday night’s matchup between the Cowboys and Redskins, and for the sake of simplicity, the Bears and Vikings will be rooting for Washington.

Minnesota is in the playoffs with a victory over the Packers, but they can also get in with help. If Chicago, New York, and Dallas all lose, the Vikings get in no matter what. The NFC North is rooting for the Redskins because a Washington loss will still potentially keep them alive for the last wildcard spot. If Minnesota, Chicago, and Washington ended up in a three-way tie for the 6th seed, Washington is playoff-bound.

Which brings us to the Bears. The Monsters of the Midway are alive but need a Green Bay victory over Minnesota to stay in the race, as well as their own win at Ford Field over the Lions. The sixth seed is currently the Vikings’ to lose; with a win over the Packers they are in, plain and simple. The Bears need help but it is certainly not improbable. Green Bay will be traveling to Minnesota in search of a decisive victory and have to be considered the favorites over the rival Vikings, so if the Bears take care of business against the 4-11 Lions they will be in. It’s looking like an NFC North team will nab the 6th seed but a lot of football still has to be played. Stay tuned.

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