The NFC standings are fluid and will continue to be throughout the remainder of the regular season. Two of the top dogs, the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, were idle in Week 9. Still, each team benefitted on Sunday.
Somehow, the Minnesota Vikings are still alive despite playing a quarterback who is on his third team in a year.
NFC Playoff picture
Here’s a look at the NFC playoff picture through Week 9:
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
THE TOP SEVEN
1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)
2. Detroit Lions (6-2)
3. San Francisco 49ers (5-3, NFC West division tiebreaker*)
4. New Orleans Saints (5-4)
5. Seattle Seahawks (5-3, NFC West division tiebreaker*, 4-1 NFC)
6. Dallas Cowboys (5-3, 2-3 NFC)
7. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
*The 49ers own the NFC West tiebreaker thanks to their division record. San Francisco is 2-0 in the NFC West and Seattle is 1-1.
8. Washington Commanders (4-5, win over ATL)
9. Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5, common games tiebreaker over GB)
11. Green Bay Packers (3-5)
12. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
Playing out the string
13. New York Giants (2-7, 2-3 NFC)
14. Chicago Bears (2-7, 1-4 NFC)
15. Carolina Panthers (1-7)
16. Arizona Cardinals (1-8)
After the Falcons, it’s fair to say that the Bucs, Packers, and Rams are dead in the water, too. But since they’re only two games back, anything could happen.
Seattle is no guarantee to make the playoffs, let alone win the division. They play Washington next, then travel to Los Angeles, where Matthew Stafford might be healthy.
But, after that, they get the 49ers at home, travel to Dallas and Santa Clara, then host the Eagles. That’s a brutal stretch for a team fighting for a playoff spot.
The 49ers obtaining the top seed isn’t as far-fetched as 43 percent of you believe it to be. They’re two games behind the Eagles and host Philly next month.
The Eagles have their bye in Week 10, but face the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, Cowboys, and Seahawks. They’re not going 5-0. But they finish up against the Giants-Cardinals-Giants, so the time to slip up would be during that five-game stretch.
Detroit’s schedule isn’t nearly as daunting. The only contenders on their schedule for the rest of the year are the Cowboys and Saints, unless you believe in Josh Dobbs and the Vikings.
The Niners must control what they can control, and that’s playing who is in front of them. Another winning streak should put some distance between them and the Seahawks in the NFC West. We should begin to see the top three teams separate themselves from the pack in November.
Then, during the last month of the season, the jostling for the top seed should continue between the 49ers, Eagles, and Lions. But San Francisco must get and remain healthy while regaining the edge that made them such a dominant force to begin the year.