If you’re one for drama, then the race for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC is right up your alley. Heading into Monday Night Football in Week 14, both the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks were both looking to pick up a crucial win. After all, the two teams entered the game sitting in the No. 5 (Seahawks) and No. 6 spots, both narrowly holding onto playoff spots.
But one team was set to get a nice boost when the week wrapped up, and thanks to Seattle’s 21-7 win, they now have a firm hold on one of the Wild Card spots. While the Seahawks moved to 8-5 with the win, the loss sent the Vikings to 6-6-1 and created a huge mess for the No. 6 seed moving forward.
The Seahawks may be well on their way to the playoffs, but for the Vikings and multiple other teams, things remain very much up in the air. Let’s take a look at the NFC standings the outlook for the final spot in the dance.
NFC Wild Card Standings
- 1. New Orleans Saints (11-2)*
- 2. Los Angeles Rams (11-2)*
- 3. Chicago Bears (9-4)*
- 4. Dallas Cowboys (8-5)*
- 5. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
- 6. Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1)
- Carolina Panthers (6-7)
- Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
- Washington Redskins (6-7)
- Green Bay Packers (5-7-1)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8)
- New York Giants (5-8)
- Detroit Lions (5-8)
*Notates division leader
While the divisions seem to be set for the most part, although a big late-season slip-up could hurt the Dallas Cowboys, the real race comes down to the No. 6 seed. This win was crucial for the Seahawks and moved them into a position where they would need to falter badly to not make the postseason.
For the Vikings, they do still hold the No. 6 seed, but the final three games will feature a few major tests. Following a Week 15 date with the Miami Dolphins, they’re on the road against the Detroit Lions and then face the division-leading Chicago Bears in Week 17. Minnesota will need to reel off the wins in order to hold off the three teams with six wins and even the four others just below that with five.
Key NFC Teams to Watch Down Stretch
The Vikings are unquestionably a team who’ll be at the forefront of everyone’s minds moving forward, but a few of those teams listed have a real chance to put the pressure on. Both the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, who are likely two of the favorites, do have brutal schedules to finish out the year, though.
Cam Newton and the Panthers have to face the New Orleans Saints twice, while the Eagles draw the other 11-win team in the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams. Philadelphia also plays the Houston Texans in Week 16, which is another brutal matchup.
As for the five-win teams, there’s no question the Green Bay Packers have an edge due to the tie over the rest of the group. They do have a big game against the Bears in Week 15, but two winnable games after against the New York Jets and Detroit Lions. Coming back from this hole may be Aaron Rodgers’ most impressive late-season run ever if he can pull it off, but there’s a lot of work to do.
Finally, the Lions face both the Vikings and Packers over the final two weeks of the season. If they can knock off the Buffalo Bills in Week 14, there’s a chance they could jump up and navigate their way into a Wild Card spot.