NFC Playoff Picture: Packers continue to stay alive despite Lions taking NFC North [UPDATED after 4pm games]

The Green Bay Packers are one of several teams whose playoff hopes are not completely dead yet as Week 16 games conclude.

Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Sunday of NFL's Week 16 fell on Christmas Eve, giving fans plenty of reason to post up on the couch and enjoy some football. Week 16 featured games that were meaningful relative to the playoff picture. While few teams are positioned to firmly secure playoff spots with outcomes this week, odds of making the playoffs shoot up or down dramatically in some cases based on wins or losses.

The Lions, in particular, have clinched a playoff spot by winning the NFC North for the first time in 30 years. Detroit has not been to the postseason since 2016 and hasn't won a playoff game since 1991.

This year's three wild card spots are tightly contested, with each game moving the picture in potentially dramatic ways.

After the early window, here's how the NFC shakes out.

NFC Playoff Picture after Week 16 games

Here's the playoff picture, with records and playoff probability:

  1. San Francisco 49ers: 11-3
  2. Detroit Lions: 11-4
  3. Dallas Cowboys: 10-5
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-7 (86%)
  5. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-4
  6. Los Angeles Rams: 8-7 (68%)
  7. Seattle Seahawks: 8-7 (64%)

Bold indicates a team that is guaranteed a playoff spot.

NFC Wild Card standings

Here's how the wild card is shaking out. Remember, top three get in:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-4
  2. Los Angeles Rams: 8-7 (68%)
  3. Seattle Seahawks: 8-7 (64%)
  4. Minnesota Vikings: 7-8 (32%)
  5. Green Bay Packers: 7-8 (26%)
  6. New Orleans Saints: 7-8 (14%)
  7. Atlanta Falcons: 7-8 (10%)
  8. New York Giants: 5-9 (<1%)
  9. Chicago Bears: 5-9 (1%)

The NFC North and NFC South remain most interesting, with the top three teams all playing for a spot. In the case of the NFC South, the division and wild card are still very much up for grabs.

It's hard to see teams like the Packers, Vikings, Saints, or Falcons truly leap-frogging the Rams or Seahawks in the standings to sneak into the Wild Card spot, but with a few games left, anything is possible. These teams aren't dead yet, which may make for an extremely exciting week of Red Zone coverage in Week 18.

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