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NFL playoff picture: Cowboys clinch, Bucs on the rise

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We take a look at the playoff picture following important Week 13 action.

The San Francisco 49ers are not going to the playoffs this season (or probably anytime soon), but we can still keep track of the rest of the NFL playoff picture. There are a lot of new and rejuvenated teams in the mix this year, which could make for a fun postseason.

Cowboys clinch playoff berth, can add to it next week

The Dallas Cowboys became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. Their win combined with Washington’s loss in Arizona locked up at least a wild card berth for Dallas. The New York Giants lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that means Dallas can clinch the NFC East when they travel to face the Giants.

Bucs are rolling

Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have quietly put together a four-game win streak, capped with a comeback road win over the San Diego Chargers. The Bucs are 7-5 following their Week 13 win. They sit in seventh in the NFC, half a game back of 6-4-1 Washington. More importantly, they are suddenly tied with the Atlanta Falcons atop the NFC South. The two teams split their head-to-head series, which means it could come down to divisional record. The Falcons are 3-1, while the Bucs are 2-1.

Lions are looking good

Detroit finds themselves rolling, with a four-game win streak. They are now 8-4 and lead the NFC North by two games. They went into New Orleans and took care of business, and while the Saints are not a particularly good team, a road win in the Superdome is always solid. The Lions are a half game back of the Seattle Seahawks for the No. 2 seed and the first round bye that comes with it. The Lions finish out the season vs. the Bears, at the Giants and Cowboys, and vs. the Packers. They have a season sweep of the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings, so they effectively have a three game lead on them. The Packers could represent trouble for them, however. Green Bay is also 6-6, and finishes out the season vs. the Seahawks, at the Bears, vs. the Vikings, and at Detroit. That Week 17 matchup could very well end up being for all the divisional marbles.

NFC standings

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-1)
2. Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1)
3. Detroit Lions (8-4)
4. Atlanta Falcons (7-5)

5. New York Giants (8-4)
6. Washington (6-4-1)

In the picture: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5), Minnesota Vikings (6-6), Green Bay Packers (6-6), New Orleans Saints (5-7), Philadelphia Eagles (5-7), Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)

AFC standings

1. Oakland Raiders (10-2)
2. New England Patriots (10-2)
3. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
4. Houston Texans (6-6)

5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
6. Denver Broncos (8-4)

In the picture: Miami Dolphins (7-5), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5), Tennessee Titans 96-6), Buffalo Bills (6-6), Indianapolis Colts (5-6)