NFC playoff picture: Cowboys fall to fourth seed

Here is how the NFC playoff picture looks in Week 17, after the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Arizona Cardinals.

The 2021 NFL season just has one week remaining before the playoffs begin. Week 17 will perhaps go down as the wildest week of this campaign.

In the NFC, five spots were already clinched, but there was a shakeup in the seeding. The Dallas Cowboys dropped down from the second seed to the fourth following their 25-22 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Besides that, there are two playoff spots remaining that four teams (San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings) are fighting for.

Here is how the NFC playoff picture looks after Week 17.

NOTE: This playoff picture was written before the Sunday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

NFC Playoff Picture: NFL Division Standings after Week 17

NFC East

  1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
  3. Washington Football Team (6-10)
  4. New York Giants (4-12)

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers (12-3)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (7-8)
  3. Chicago Bears (6-10)
  4. Detroit Lions (2-13-1)

NFC South

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
  2. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
  4. Carolina Panthers (5-11)

NFC West

  1. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
  2. Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
  4. Seattle Seahawks (6-10)

Besides the Cowboys losing, the Cardinals now enter Week 18 with the chance to win the NFC West. They can do so if they defeat the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams lose to the San Francisco 49ers.

Speaking of the Rams, they pulled out a clutch 20-19 win over the Baltimore Ravens, helping them jump all the way up to the second seed.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an eventful Week 17. They watched as wide receiver Antonio Brown left mid-game shirtless, leading to his postgame release. With the spotlight on them, the Buccaneers picked up a huge comeback win over the New York Jets.

Matchups if the NFL Playoffs started today

  • (1) Green Bay Packers — First round bye
  • (2) Los Angeles Rams vs. (7) Philadelphia Eagles
  • (3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. (6) San Francisco 49ers
  • (4) Dallas Cowboys vs. (5) Arizona Cardinals

Teams on the bubble:

  • (8) New Orleans Saints
  • (9) Minnesota Vikings

NFL Playoff format: How many teams make the postseason?

Seven teams from each conference will be eligible to participate in the NFL Playoffs, much like last season.

NFL schedule: How many games are there?

There are 18 weeks in the 2021 season, with each team playing 17 games on their schedule.

NFL tiebreaker scenarios

For division and Wild Card record ties, here is how the seeding will be determined, per Here is how teams are seeded:

  • The division champion with the best record.
  • The division champion with the second-best record.
  • The division champion with the third-best record.
  • The division champion with the fourth-best record.
  • The Wild Card club with the best record.
  • The Wild Card club with the second-best record.
  • The Wild Card club with the third-best record.

Breaking a tie within the division or Wild Card becomes way more complicated, and is determined by any combination of head-to-head record, division record or conference record.

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