As we venture further into December, the NFC playoff picture is becoming more clear.
Heading into Week 15, the Eagles are the only team in the NFC to officially clinch both a division title and a playoff berth. As such, this weekend's matchups could have important playoff implications for the remaining contenders.
The Rams' 43-35 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday may have hurt their record, but the Seahawks' loss to the Jaguars kept L.A. atop the NFC West for at least another week. But an important matchup with Seattle — the current No. 7 seed in the NFC — could alter Los Angeles' playoff picture moving forward.
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY:
At 9-4 and first place in the NFC West, Los Angeles is still in a favorable position to host a playoff game in January. As the NFC's current No. 3 seed, the Rams would host the No. 6 Falcons at the Coliseum in the Wild Card round if the playoffs started today.
CURRENT NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE:
|Seed||Team||Comment||Record vs. NFC||Next|
||Eagles(11-2)||By outlasting the Rams, Philadelphia clinched the NFC East and moved back into the conference's projected top seed.||9-1||at Giants (2-11)|
||Vikings(10-3)||Minnesota fell to the Panthers, 34-21, in Week 14. With the loss, the Vikings moved back down to the No. 2 spot in the conference, but still maintain first place in the NFC North.||8-2||vs. Bengals (5-8)|
||Rams(9-4)||The Rams lost to the Eagles, but kept their one-game lead in the NFC West. Now, a huge contest in Seattle this weekend will be important for both the Rams' and Seahawks' playoff hopes.||6-4||at Seahawks (8-4)|
||Saints(9-4)||A loss to the Falcons is not what the Saints wanted out of their Thursday Night Football contest last week. But if New Orleans is able to win out, it will still clinch a division title and a place in the playoffs.||7-3||vs. Jets (5-7)|
||Panthers(9-4)||A big win over the Vikings helped kept the Panthers on pace with the Saints in the NFC South. It also moved them up from the No. 6 seed to the No. 5 seed.||5-4||vs. Packers (7-6)|
||Falcons(8-5)||Seattle's loss to the Jaguars allowed the Falcons to move back to the projected 6th seed because Atlanta owns the tiebreaker over Seattle.||7-2||at Buccaneers (4-9)|
IN THE HUNT:
- Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
- Detroit Lions (7-6)
- Green Bay Packers (7-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
- Arizona Cardinals (6-7)
OUTLOOK FOR WEEK 15:
This is a big weekend for the NFC and especially for the Rams. Sunday's contest in Seattle will have big playoff implications for both clubs and for the rest of the NFC.
1. No. 3 Rams vs. No. 7 Seahawks
The Rams head into CenturyLink Field as the No. 3 seed in the conference. If L.A. defeats the Seahawks, the club would increase its division lead to two games and would retain its place as the No. 3 seed. But if Los Angeles loses to the Seahawks, they risk the possibility of dropping to No. 7 seed, depending on the rest of the Week 15 results.
2. No. 1 Eagles vs. Giants
The Eagles (11-2) currently hold the best record in the NFC and are the only team to have clinched a playoff berth. With a win over the Giants in Week 15, Philadelphia will also clinch a first-round bye, guaranteeing its place as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In addition, if the Eagles win and the Vikings lose, the Eagles will also clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
3. No. 2 Vikings vs. Bengals
The Vikings will look to rebound from a tough loss to the Panthers with a win over the Bengals at home. If they are able to come out on top, Minnesota will clinch the NFC North and strengthen their hopes of a top-seeded playoff berth. Additionally, if Seattle, Atlanta, and New Orleans all lose on Sunday, the Vikings would clinch their trip to the playoffs.
4. No. 4 Saints vs. Jets
The Saints will look to bounce back from a tough loss on Thursday with a victory over the Jets (5-8) at home. New Orleans needs to win its final three games to keep control over the NFC North.
5. No. 5 Panthers vs. Packers
The Panthers rose up one spot in the NFC playoff picture by beating the top-seeded Vikings and will look to carry that momentum into Sunday's game. But this game is also important for the Packers, who are still in the hunt for a playoff berth this season.
6. No. 6 Falcons vs. Buccaneers
And rounding out the weekend are the Falcons who will travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. This contest is especially important for Atlanta as they strive to keep pace with the Saints and Panthers in the road to the playoffs.
SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE?
For the Rams to clinch a playoff berth in Week 15, they will first and foremost need to defeat the Seahawks in Seattle. L.A. will also need a loss or tie from Lions and Packers, plus a loss from both the Falcons and the Saints.