NFL tiebreaker scenarios for Vikings, Packers, Seahawks, more in NFC Wild Card

Which teams have an advantage going into the final weeks of the season and which have work to do?

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL playoff race is only getting hotter as the final month of play arrives. Every game matters. Every result could be the difference between making the postseason and missing it.

The NFC Wild Card spots certainly going to be tightly contested this year with a handful of teams hoping to gain and maintain an edge. Inevitably, playoff places will be determined by the slightest margin: Tiebreakers.

Let's look at the tiebreakers that can be used and where each team stands...

NFL tiebreaker scenarios for Vikings, Packers, Seahawks, more in NFC Wild Card

NFL Tiebreaker No. 1: Head-to-head

The first tiebreaker to take into consideration is head-to-head record.

These are the teams involved in the Wild Card race with head-to-head tiebreaker advantages going into Week 15:

  • Buccaneers over Vikings, Saints (Play in Week 17)
  • Falcons over Packers, Saints (Play in Week 18)
  • Rams over Seahawks
  • Vikings over Falcons, Packers (Play in Week 17), Saints
  • Packers over Rams, Saints

NFL Tiebreaker No. 2: Record within the division

The next tiebreaker is record within the division. Since teams have played an irregular number of division games so far, these standings are highly subject to change.

However, as of Saturday, Dec. 16, this is how division record rankings stand.

  1. Rams (4-1)
  2. Buccaneers (3-1) AND Falcons (3-1)
  3. Vikings (2-1)
  4. Packers (2-2) AND Saints (2-2)
  5. Seahawks (1-4)

NFL Tiebreaker No. 3: Record against common opponents

Next up is record against common opponents. That's a complex web to untangle.

For now, we'll point out that the Bucs are leading the NFC South divisional race with an advantage over the Falcons in that measure.

NFL Tiebreaker No. 4: Record within the conference

Record within the conference comes next. Here's how the conference record pecking order shakes out:

  1. Vikings (6-3)
  2. Buccaneers (5-4)
  3. Packers (4-4) AND Rams (4-4) AND Seahawks (5-5)
  4. Falcons (4-5)
  5. Saints (3-5)

Remaining NFL tiebreakers

There are a bunch of other tiebreakers the NFL can use to separate teams in the end. These are additional tiebreakers in order of application, per NFL.com.

  • Strength of victory in all games.
  • Strength of schedule in all games.
  • Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games
  • Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games
  • Best net points in common games
  • Best net points in all games
  • Best net touchdowns in all games
  • Coin toss

It's highly unlikely the NFL will need a coin toss, but you never know.

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