NFC Playoff Picture and clinching scenarios: Seahawks, Drew Lock keep hopes alive with Eagles upset

The Seattle Seahawks desperately needed an upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football and got it.

Dec 18, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) looks to pass
Dec 18, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) looks to pass / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Seattle Seahawks were on high alert this week. The NFC Wild Card race has become that much tighter with teams like the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints winning. With the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers losing, the Seahawks needed to win to have a one-game separation between those two teams. All they had to do was take on last year's NFC champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

There was uncertainty about who would start at quarterback for the Seahawks, as Geno Smith dealt with a groin injury and was deemed active on Monday night. Ultimately, Drew Lock got the start, and he helped lead the Seahawks to an incredible upset.

With just under a minute remaining in regulation, Lock heaved up a deep pass to DK Metcalf to set the team up in scoring range. Then, Lock threw a picture-perfect deep pass to rookie wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for the 29-yard touchdown.

Philadelphia attempted to tie the game up by putting Jake Elliott into field goal range. But quarterback Jalen Hurts would attempt a deep pass to star wide receiver A.J. Brown, only for it to be intercepted by Seahawks safety Julian Love, who hit a toe-tap in bounds to secure the 20-17 win.

The Seahawks playoff hopes are alive. Let's look at the playoff picture after the Week 15 edition of Monday Night Football.

Updated NFC playoff picture after Seahawks score upset win over Eagles

Here is what the playoff picture looks like in the NFC after Monday Night Football (x denotes playoff spot clinched):

1. San Francisco 49ers (11-3) -- x
2. Dallas Cowboys (10-4) -- x
3. Detroit Lions (10-4)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7)
5. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) -- x
6. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
7. Los Angeles Rams (7-7)

IN THE HUNT:
8. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
9. New Orleans Saints (7-7)
10. Atlanta Falcons (6-8)
11. Green Bay Packers (6-8)
12. New York Giants (5-9)
13. Chicago Bears (5-9)

With the win, the Seahawks now sit in the eighth spot in the NFC playoff picture, just behind the Rams for the final Wild Card spot. Seattle would need to finish the season with a better record, as Los Angeles holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with two wins over them this season.

As for the Eagles, they missed out on a chance to leapfrog the Cowboys, who lost 31-10 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Now, they sit tied with a 10-4 record. But if the Eagles are to win out, they will win the NFC East division.

Here is what the Wild Card round matchups would look like if the season ended today (49ers would hold the first-round bye):

  • (7) Los Angeles Rams at (2) Dallas Cowboys
  • (6) Minnesota Vikings at (3) Detroit Lions
  • (5) Philadelphia Eagles at (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Updated NFC playoff clinching scenarios after Seahawks beat Eagles in Week 15

The Detroit Lions would have clinched a playoff berth if the Eagles had beaten the Seahawks on Monday night. Now, they will have to wait until next week to clinch their berth. But the two-seed could be in play for them, considering they have a similar record as the Cowboys and Eagles.

As for the 49ers, they can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC as soon as next week. As Nick Wagoner of ESPN points out, the 49ers can do so with a win over the Baltimore Ravens, an Eagles loss to the Giants, a Cowboys loss to the Miami Dolphins, and a Lions loss to the Vikings.

Updated NFC Wild Card standings after Seahawks win vs. Eagles

Below is the Wild Card standings in the NFC:

5. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) -- x
6. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
7. Los Angeles Rams (7-7)

IN THE HUNT:
8. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
9. New Orleans Saints (7-7)
10. Atlanta Falcons (6-8)
11. Green Bay Packers (6-8)
12. New York Giants (5-9)
13. Chicago Bears (5-9)

There is one Wild Card berth clinched, and it will go to either the Eagles or Cowboys. That leaves two spots up for grabs in the final three weeks of the season.

The Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, and Saints all hold 7-7 records. As for the Falcons and Packers, they sit one game back of those four teams. The New York Giants and Chicago Bears are technically in the hunt for a playoff spot with 5-9 records, but both would need a lot of outside help to make that a reality.

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