Skip to main content

Playoff Forecast: Contenders Snapshot

With only two weeks left in the regular season, the NFC playoff picture is starting to take shape. Below is a look at how the conference stacks up heading into Week 16. All playoff odds are courtesy of ****; all postseason scenarios are via

No. 1 Seed: Dallas Cowboys (12-2) – 1stPlace, NFC EastOdds of Making Playoffs: 100%
Odds of Winning Division: >97%
* *Following a setback against the Giants, the Cowboys rebounded Sunday night by taking down the red-hot Buccaneers, 26-20. If they win or tie one more game, and if the Giants lose or tie one of their remaining matchups, the Cowboys will secure a division crown, a first-round bye in the playoffs and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 26: vs. Detroit Lions (9-5)
Jan. 1: at Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)

No. 2 Seed: Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1) – 1stPlace, NFC WestOdds of Making Playoffs: 100%
Odds of Winning Division: 100%

The Seahawks locked up the NFC West title on Thursday night by dominating the Rams, 24-3, at CenturyLink Field. Seattle can clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye if it beats Arizona on Saturday. A Falcons loss or tie, coupled with a Lions loss, would guarantee the same.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 24: vs. Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1)
Jan. 1: at San Francisco 49ers (1-13)

No. 3 Seed: Atlanta Falcons (9-5) – 1stPlace, NFC SouthOdds of Making Playoffs: 96%
Odds of Winning Division: 77%

By roundly defeating the 49ers on Sunday, the Falcons ensured they'll finish with a winning record for the first time since 2012. On Christmas Eve, Atlanta can clinch the NFC South with a win over Carolina and a loss or tie from Tampa Bay. Additionally, there are many ways the Falcons can seize a playoff berth this week. Click here to view the different scenarios.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 24: at Carolina Panthers (6-8)
Jan. 1: vs. New Orleans Saints (6-8)

No. 4 Seed: Detroit Lions (9-5) – 1stPlace, NFC NorthOdds of Making Playoffs: 77%
Odds of Winning Division: 59%

A 17-6 loss to the Giants on Sunday, along with wins by the Seahawks and Falcons, dropped the Lions fell from the second to fourth seed. Matters won't get easier on Monday night, when they battle the Cowboys, or on New Year's Day, when they take on the Packers. Nonetheless, there are two ways the Lions can clinch the NFC North in Week 16: With a win and a Green Bay loss or tie, or with a tie and a Green Bay loss. There are also plenty of outcomes that could give them a playoff spot before the calendar flips.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 26: at Dallas Cowboys (12-2) 
Jan. 1: vs. Green Bay Packers (8-6)

No. 5 Seed: New York Giants (10-5) – 2ndPlace, NFC EastOdds of Making Playoffs: >99%

After taking down the Cowboys and Lions in successive weeks, the Giants have overcome a 4-5 start and reached the brink of a postseason berth. The loss to the Eagles delayed clinching a playoff spot, and any shot of winning their division, but they are almost locked into a Wild Card spot at this point. A slew of other circumstances can make it official.

*Remaining Schedule:
Jan. 1: at Washington Redskins (7-6-1)

No. 6 Seed: Green Bay Packers (8-6) – 2ndPlace, NFC NorthOdds of Making Playoffs: 57%
Odds of Winning Division: 41%

The Packers and Bucs each sport an 8-6 record, but due to the strength of schedule tie-breaker, Green Bay enters Week 16 in the second wild card slot, while Tampa Bay is sitting on the outside looking in. The Packers cannot punch a ticket to the playoffs this week, nor can they be eliminated.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 24: vs Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
Jan. 1: at Detroit Lions (9-5)

Still in the Hunt

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) – 2ndPlace, NFC SouthOdds of Making Playoffs: 42%
Odds of Winning Division: 23%

Washington Redskins (7-6-1) – 3rd place, NFC EastOdds of Making Playoffs: 25%
Odds of Winning Division: 0% Minnesota Vikings (7-7) – 3rd Place, NFC North
Odds of Making Playoffs: 3%
Odds of Winning Division: 0%* New Orleans Saints (6-8) – 3*

rdPlace, NFC South
Odds of Making Playoffs: <1%
Odds of Winning Division: 0%* Carolina Panthers (6-8) – 4*

thPlace, NFC South
Odds of Making Playoffs: <1%
Odds of Winning Division: 0%* *

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content