Updated NFC Playoff Picture, NFC Wild Card standings after Bucs, Packers lose

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 16: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers gets hit while throwing a pass in th first quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 16: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers gets hit while throwing a pass in th first quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

Let’s check the pulse on the NFC Playoff Picture and NFC Wild Card standings now that we’re through Week 6 of the season. 

As if things weren’t crazy enough on Saturday, a day of upsets has altered the NFL Playoff picture in the NFC.

Obviously, there’s a ton of football left to play this season. This won’t be the last time things shift around, but Week 6 was less about what the picture looks like and more about how the NFC looks pretty bad in comparison to what’s happening in the AFC.

Perhaps the biggest upset of the weekend was the New York Jets marching into Lambeau Field and destroying the Green Bay Packers. The loss was the first time Green Bay has lost back-to-back games under Matt LaFleur and it seems to highlight some serious concerns the team has moving forward. Randall Cobb was lost to a heartbreaking ankle injury, which further depletes a receiving corps that was already struggling mightily. At this point, with the offense looking as embarrassingly bad as it does right now,  Green Bay’s best option might be to look at the trade deadline or sign someone like Odell Beckham Jr to come in and fix things.

Speaking of embarrassing, the Buccaneers went up to Pittsburgh and got rocked by Mitchell Trubusky and the Steelers. As absolutely putrid as that was, the saving grace for Tampa Bay was the Packers and 49ers both losing games they shouldn’t have; such a series of events didn’t shift things too much near the top of the standings but it turned up the heat on the teams below the line and has highlighted a massive discrepancy between what’s happening in the NFC versus the talent over in the AFC.

Updated NFC Playoff Picture after Week 6

As bad as the Bucs, Packers, and 49ers all played on Sunday, things weren’t a total disaster across the rest of the conference. The New York Giants appear to have completed their about-face and have established themselves as real NFC contenders after a huge win over the Baltimore Ravens.

The Minnesota Vikings continue to be on the heels of the Philadephia Eagles after going down to Miami and beating the Dolphins. Firmly controlling the No. 2 seed in the NFC is an obvious thrill for Vikings fans but the real headline is that Minnesota holds a two-game lead over the Packers and owns half of a complete sweep tiebreaker over them.

Trying to catch the Vikings is now the least of the Packers concern, as their loss to the Jets combined with a Rams win over the Panthers means Los Angeles has moved into the No. 7 seed.

Speaking of teams on a roll, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the conference. A dominating win over the Dallas Cowboys — who didn’t move in the playoff standings despite the loss — further makes it seem as though the road to Super Bowl LVII will go through the City of Brotherly Love.

Here’s a look at what the NFC Playoff bracket would look like if the postseason started today:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (5-1)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (3-3)
  5. New York Giants (5-1)
  6. Dallas Cowboys (4-2)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

Based on those standings, here’s what the playoff matchups would look like for the first weekend of action:

  • (2) Minnesota Vikings vs. (7) Los Angeles Rams
  • (3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. (6) Dallas Cowboys
  • (4) San Francisco 49ers vs. (5) New York Giants

Each higher-seeded team would host its Wild Card Weekend matchup. The Philadelphia Eagles would have a first-round bye with the No. 1 seed and host any playoff game they play in.

NFC Wild Card standings after Week 6

Just like last year, the NFC will have three Wild Card teams. In years past only two Wild Card teams punched a ticket to the playoffs, but the new postseason structure means there’s an extra team playing on Wild Card Weekend.

Typically the lowest-seeded team would play the third-best division winner. Now the lowest-seeded team plays the second-best team — which seems like a raw deal but might not end up mattering too much based on the parity in the NFC this season.

Here’s what the Wild Card standings look like after Week 5:

  1. New York Giants (5-1)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (4-2)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)
  4. Green Bay Packers (3-3)
  5. Atlanta Falcons (3-3)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (3-3)
  7. Arizona Cardinals (2-4)
  8. New Orleans Saints (2-4)
  9. Washington Commanders (2-4)
  10. Chicago Bears (2-4)
  11. Detroit Lions (1-4)
  12. Carolina Panthers (1-4)

NFC Playoff Picture Tiebreaker Scenarios

With so many teams tied in the standings, a handful of tiebreakers come into play based on various factors related to the schedule.

  • Buccaneers hold a tiebreaker over San Francisco based on best win percentage in conference games.
  • Packers hold a tiebreaker over Atlanta based on best win percentage in conference games.