With the end of the season drawing near, the NFC Wild Card playoff picture should be slightly clearer. Instead, it looks almost incomprehensible after several battles between potential wild card teams. The Vikings hosted Seattle, Atlanta battled Tampa Bay, and the NFC East remains wide open with all teams still in contention. So who has the edge heading into Week 14?
5th seed: Minnesota Vikings (8-4)
The Vikings have fallen to both Green Bay and Seattle this season, proving that Minnesota aren’t yet ready to dethrone the NFC’s best. The offense couldn’t move against Seattle and doesn’t have much beyond Adrian Peterson. The defense had suffered several injuries to key starters and couldn’t hold the Seahawks at bay. But with most of their fellow wild card contenders struggling to break .500, the Vikings could still sneak into the playoffs.
6th seed: Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
The Seahawks are back a look like a team that no one wants to face in the playoffs. The defense shut down Minnesota completely just a week after their offense outscored the Steelers in a shootout. Seattle’s young players are all peaking at the right time as the Seahawks face a relatively easy schedule down the stretch. The defending NFC champions look like the best team in the wild card race and we shouldn’t be surprised to see them back in the postseason.
7th seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
Weekly improvement from Jameis Winston has the Bucs on the cusp of a wild card spot. Tampa Bay has a dominant rushing attack with Doug Martin and Charles Sims. The defense is playing better and can keep the Bucs in games. Tampa Bay hold tiebreakers over the Falcons and Eagles, but will need things to go wrong for those ahead of them if they want a realistic chance of making the playoffs.
8th seed: Atlanta Falcons (6-6)
The Falcons have lost six of their last seven games and are slipping further out of contention every week. Matt Ryan doesn’t look comfortable in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, while Devonta Freeman has been slowed by injuries. The defense has improved slightly from last season, but are still one of the weakest units in the league, meaning that the Falcons can no longer masquerade as a contender any longer.
9th seed: Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
With the poor state of the NFC East, only one team from the division will make the playoffs; the division champion. With four games left, all four teams are unbelievably still in the mix. But the Eagles are as unreliable as the rest of the division and have major flaws. The offense has struggled to play as Chip Kelly envisioned, and the defense is unable to pick up the slack.
10th seed: New York Giants (5-7)
The Giants had a chance to climb back to the top of the NFC East, but threw it away after blowing last week’s game against the Jets. The Giants have nothing on offense outside of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, while the defense fails to show up most weeks. The Giants could still win the division, but will need several miracles at the Meadowlands to make the playoffs as a wild card.