With Week 14 concluding, the NFL playoff picture begins to take shape more and more. Will the San Francisco 49ers still be the number one seed at season’s end? Or will they slip up and let either the Green Bay Packers or Seattle Seahawks usurp them? Time will tell.
NFC NFL Playoffs Outlook After Week 14
- San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
- Green Bay Packers (10-3)
- New Orleans Saints (10-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (10-3)
- Minnesota Vikings (9-4)
How They Got There
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off, quite possibly, the game of the season in their win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. They went through a gauntlet of facing three consecutive teams with at least nine wins in the Packers, Baltimore Ravens and Saints, and San Francisco won two of those games.
Equally important for the 49ers was the loss the Seattle Seahawks sustained against the Los Angeles Rams during Sunday Night Football, which propelled San Francisco from the number five seed in the NFC back to the number one seed heading into Week 15.
Green Bay Packers
Since their thrashing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay has responded with two straight wins over the New York Giants and Washington Redskins to get back on track in the NFC. This will be Green Bay’s first 10-win season in three seasons and, because of it, they have reclaimed the number two seed in the NFC.
Green Bay has the look of a team that could both go far into the playoffs or get bounced in the first (or second) round once the playoffs begin. Their inability to put together meaningful scoring drives is a massive concern for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Aaron Rodgers said on Sunday after the game that he wouldn’t mind “winning ugly” all the way to the Super Bowl.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints matchup against San Francisco was a potential preview of the NFC Championship game to come in January. Fans are used to seeing Drew Brees and company win these type of big games at home, but their loss to San Francisco has set them back a bit. They’ll need to finish with a better record than San Francisco to finish with a better seed than the 49ers.
For as good as a team as the Saints have been, they needed to win this game badly to send a message to the rest of the NFC. Instead it seems the 49ers sent a message.
Someone has to win the NFC East, right? Currently, the Dallas Cowboys have a losing record and with the Philadelphia Eagles win on Monday night, the Cowboys hold on the NFC East got a little precarious. Dallas might be leading their division, but they have a lot of glaring concerns that could keep them from winning the NFC East or making a deep run in the postseason.
Seattle had a golden opportunity to keep a strangle hold on the NFC West with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. Instead, they never really arrived at the game. It’s been a long time since fans have seen Russell Wilson and company lay an egg, but an egg they laid on Sunday.
Week 17 will be a humongous game when they host San Francisco. This game will most likely be for the NFC West and, possibly, the number one seed in the NFC. Seattle cannot afford any more slip ups if they’re going to obtain either the NFC West crown or the top seed in the conference.
Minnesota continues to hum along while waiting for Green Bay to slip up. The Vikings chance will come in Week 16 when they host the Packers, but the only way they’re going to overtake them in the NFC North is if Green Bay loses at least two games in the final three weeks.
However, with nine wins as of now, they’re in a fairly good spot to make the playoffs, especially with a win in Week 15. Should they fail to win the division crown, they’ll be a road team throughout the playoffs, but as well as they’re playing, they could be one of the surprise teams in January.
NFL Playoff Picture: Which Seeds Could Be on the Move?
As eventful as Week 14 was with playoff seeding in the NFC, it’s going to get even crazier over these final three weeks.
San Francisco controls their destiny. If they win their three remaining games, then no one can catch them and the road to the Super Bowl will go through California. However, as noted before, a loss to Seattle could send them back into the Wild Card if both teams finish the season 13-3.
Green Bay is still very much alive for the number one seed, but they’re going to need losses from both San Francisco and Seattle to overtake either team in the end. Minnesota will be rooting for the Chicago Bears to knock off Green Bay in hopes of catching them in the NFC North.
It’s currently a two team race in the NFC East between Dallas and Philadelphia. But regardless of who wins, they’ll most likely be locked into the number four seed as the three teams above them all have significantly better records.
Lastly, New Orleans needs help to get back into, at least, the number two seed in the NFC. A Green Bay win on Sunday will keep them at the two spot no matter what New Orleans does this Sunday. Their loss to San Francisco really hurt their chances of moving up.