NFL Week 15 playoff picture: 49ers join Eagles in the NFC playoffs, five spots still open
The 49ers have won the NFC West, becoming the second team in the NFC to clinch a playoff berth and the first to clinch their division.
Thursday night’s win over the Seahawks made the 49ers the NFC West champions. The 49ers actually don’t have a whole lot to play for over the final three weeks of the season: They’re very unlikely to catch the Eagles for the No. 1 seed, or to fall behind the Buccaneers for the No. 4 seed, so the only real question is whether they’ll finish ahead of the Vikings for the No. 2 seed.
Here’s how the NFC playoff picture looks after Thursday night:
1. Eagles (12-1) Hard to envision a scenario where the road to the Super Bowl doesn’t go through Philadelphia.
2. Vikings (10-3) Likely to win the NFC North, but not looking like a Super Bowl team.
3. 49ers (10-4) Even down to third-string quarterback Brock Purdy, the 49ers look like contenders.
4. Buccaneers (6-7) They don’t look good, but someone has to win the NFC South.
5. Cowboys (10-3) Unlikely to catch the Eagles in the division, which means they’ll probably have to win three road games to reach the Super Bowl.
6. Commanders (7-5-1) Currently have the tiebreaker over the Giants based on a better record within the NFC East.
7. Giants (7-5-1) A big game on Sunday night against the Commanders.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
8. Seahawks (7-7) After a hot start, the playoffs appear to be slipping away from the Seahawks.
9. Lions (6-7) Sunday’s game against the Jets is very important to both conferences’ playoff races.
10. Packers (5-8) Green Bay owns the strength of victory tiebreaker over Carolina.
11. Panthers (5-8) Carolina has the division record tiebreaker over Atlanta.
12. Falcons (5-8) Still only a game out in the NFC South.
13. Cardinals (4-9) No real chance of a late-season run, especially after Kyler Murray’s injury.
14. Saints (4-9) Blowing their Monday night game against the Buccaneers cost them a share of the NFC South lead.
NO CHANCE OF GETTING IN
15. Rams (4-9) Baker Mayfield could make the last few games of an awful season interesting.
16. Bears (3-10) Mathematically eliminated.