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NFL playoff picture: Arizona is in great shape, the NFC East is a disaster

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers playoff chances are somewhere between slim and none, but with Week 10 coming to a close Monday evening, I thought we would take a look at the current NFL playoff picture. We love the 49ers, but we're football fans as well, and there are plenty of intriguing storylines. And we can also mix in some discussion of the 49ers remaining schedule with some of these storylines.

The NFC West belongs to the Arizona Cardinals

There are still seven weeks of football left, but the Cardinals are going to win the NFC West. OK, let me clarify. If Carson Palmer remains healthy, they are winning the NFC West. We saw last year how quickly things can go south with that key injury. If Palmer stays healthy, this team is winning the division, probably getting a bye, and will be a strong contender to represent the NFC in Santa Clara next February.

As for the Seahawks? They are two games back of a wild card berth, and not really showing a whole lot of much. They have beaten bad teams, with wins over the 49ers, Cowboys, Lions and Bears. However, they have lost now to the Rams, Packers, Bengals, Panthers, and Cardinals. They're obviously not a good team, but their remaining schedule gives them a shot at a playoff berth. They face the 49ers, Steelers, Browns, and Rams at home, and the Vikings, Ravens, and Cardinals on the road.

Speaking of the Cardinals, the NFL tweeted out this video. It's my new favorite thing!

The NFC North is getting crazy

In May, the Packers were a 1/3 favorite to win their division. Nine games in, they now sit in second place, a game back of the Minnesota Vikings. The Detroit Lions had second best odds, and they now sit at 2-7. Of course, they just won their first game in Green Bay in a long time. The Packers have now lost three straight, while the Vikings have won five straight. Yep, the same Vikings team that lost to the 49ers in Week 1!

Nobody wants to win the NFC East

It was another wild weekend in the East. Washington crushed the Saints, the Giants lost a heart-breaker to the Patriots, the Cowboys lost an ugly won to the Bucs, and the Eagles were stunned late by the Dolphins. The Cowboys have lost seven straight without Tony Romo, and their season normally would seem all but dead. Of course, they are also only 2.5 games back of the first place 5-5 New York Giants. The Cowboys can activate Tony Romo this week when they travel to face the Miami Dolphins. They have a legit chance in the disaster that is the NFC East.

As for that Washington win, man is the Saints defense bad. It's a shame New Orleans has their bye this week, because I would be streaming every quarterback I could against that defense in fantasy football.

Panthers keep rolling

I thought the Panthers would slip up against the Titans. It was a tough game early, but the Panthers pulled away late to improve to 9-0. With Atlanta's loss to the 49ers and bye this past week, the Panthers now have a three-game lead. They're going to win the division, but the question now is how many more games they can win. They host Washington this week, so that should be a win. They then travel to Dallas, who should have Tony Romo in the lineup. Suddenly that is a wildly intriguing game. After that, their schedule is @ Saints, vs. Falcons, @ Giants, @ Falcons, vs. Bucs. They are bound to slip up at some point, but if they can get past the Cowboys, do they go 16-0? I don't think so, but it's crazy that we have a legitimate shot at multiple 16-0 teams.

Here is how the NFC playoff picture looks through Week 10:

1. Carolina Panthers (9-0)
2. Arizona Cardinals (7-2)
3. Minnesota Vikings (7-2)
4. New York Giants (5-5)

5. Green Bay Packers (6-3)
6. Atlanta Falcons (6-3)