NFL Playoff Picture 2018: Cowboys-Saints Game Impacts NFC Standings

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Getty The Saints and Cowboys are fighting for playoff positioning in the NFC.

The NFL playoff picture is starting to heat up, and the Saints-Cowboys game has major implications on the postseason standings. New Orleans can clinch a playoff birth with a win over Dallas.

The Cowboys still have a bit more work to do even with a win over the Saints, but a victory would put them even further ahead in the driver’s seat atop the NFC East. Dallas heads into Week 13 as the No. 4 seed in the NFC. The Saints have won 10 straight games heading into AT&T Stadium, but New Orleans head coach Sean Payton believes his team will have to bring their A-game against the Cowboys.

“You don’t begin to count (games), but then you start beginning to do the things that are necessary to win,” Payton said per the Saints website. “Some of it is confidence and some of it is playing well down the stretch. This will be a challenge. A much different challenge then we have had as of late. The Cowboys defense is playing just as well as any defense in the league. We are going to have to be able to handle that, handle the noise and their front does a great job of getting on your edge and the movement they present and the challenges they present are difficult.”

The Saints-Cowboys game is just one of several Week 13 matchups that will impact the playoff standings. Minnesota hosts New England in a cross-conference matchup. The Patriots are fighting for a first round bye, while the Vikings are currently hanging on to one of the Wild Card spots.

The Steelers host the Chargers on Sunday Night Football in what could be a preview of the playoffs. The Chargers and Steelers would face each other on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs if the postseason started today.

Here’s a look at the current NFL standings heading into Week 13. Keep in mind the top six teams in the AFC and NFC will make the playoffs. Teams in bold would make the postseason based on the current standings. The top two seeds in each conference will get a first round bye along with home field advantage in at least their first playoff matchup.


NFC Playoff Standings

TEAM W L T
1. L.A. Rams 10 1 0
2. New Orleans Saints 10 2 0
3. Chicago Bears 8 3 0
4. Dallas Cowboys 7 5 0
5. Minnesota Vikings 6 4 1`
6. Washington Redskins 6 5 0
7. Seattle Seahawks 6 5 0
8. Carolina Panthers 6 5 0
9. Philadelphia Eagles 5 6 0
10. Green Bay Packers 4 6 1
11. Atlanta Falcons 4 7 0
12. Tampa Bay Bucs 4 7 0
13. Detroit Lions 4 7 0
14. New York Giants 3 8 0
15. Arizona Cardinals 2 9 0
16. San Francisco 49ers 2 9 0

NFC Playoff Matchups Based on Current Standings

No. 1. Los Angeles Rams (Bye)
No. 2 New Orleans Saints (Bye)
No. 6 Washington Redskins vs. No. 3 Chicago Bears
No. 5 Minnesota Vikings vs. No. 4 Dallas Cowboys


AFC Playoff Standings

TEAM W L T
1. Kansas City Chiefs 9 2 0
2. New England Patriots 8 3 0
3. Houston Texans 8 3 0
4. Pittsburgh Steelers 7 3 1
5. L.A. Chargers 8 3 0
6. Baltimore Ravens 6 5 0
7. Indianapolis Colts 6 5 0
8. Miami Dolphins 5 6 0
9. Cincinnati Bengals 5 6 0
10. Denver Broncos 5 6 0
11. Tennessee Titans 5 6 0
12. Cleveland Browns 4 6 1
13. Buffalo Bills 4 7 0
14. Jacksonville Jaguars 3 8 0
15. New York Jets 3 8 0
16. Oakland Raiders 2 9 0

AFC Playoff Matchups Based on Current Standings

No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (Bye)
No. 2 New England Patriots (Bye)
No. 6 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 3 Houston Texans
No. 5 L.A. Chargers vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh Steelers