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Week 15 NFL playoff picture: Packers move back on top in NFC

Mike Florio and Mike Golic analyze what made the Packers the better team overall against the Bears in Week 14 and look ahead to what Justin Fields needs as Chicago anticipates major changes next year.

The NFC playoffs went through Green Bay last season and we may be on our way to a repeat this season.

Monday night’s 30-23 Rams win over the Cardinals dropped Arizona out of the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the Packers, who beat the Cardinals in Week Eight, moved into their place. The Cardinals also dropped behind Buccaneers and the Rams are now just a game back, so their playoff outlook looks very different as they turn their attention toward Week 15.

No teams dropped out of playoff position this week, but Washington did slip to the No. 7 seed after losing to the Cowboys. That won’t be the case if they lose again in Philadelphia this week.

Here’s how the entire playoff picture looks with Week 14 in the books:

1. Packers (10-3) Aaron Rodgers’ toe took a turn for the worse on Sunday night, but the wins keep on coming for the Packers.

2. Buccaneers (10-3) The Saints have been their kryptonite in the regular season the last two years and they’ll try to change that trend this week.

3. Cardinals (10-3) Monday’s loss dropped them to 3-3 at home, but they remain perfect on the road and a trip to Detroit offers a good chance to keep that rolling.

4. Cowboys (9-4) The offense is still trying to find the right formula and their defense has given them the opportunity to do that with the division comfortably in their pocket.

5. Rams (9-4) November was a rough month for the Rams, but things are looking up again in Los Angeles.

6. 49ers (7-6) They recovered after blowing a 14-point lead in Cincinnati and will try to knock the Falcons out of the Wild Card race this weekend.

7. Washington (6-7) Their winning streak ended at home against the Cowboys and their playoff hopes will look pretty dim if the Eagles beat them this weekend.

8. Vikings (6-7) Holding on against the Steelers last Thursday keeps hope alive heading into this week’s trip to Chicago.

9. Eagles (6-7) A bye week allowed them to rest up for a four-game stretch of divisional games that will decide their playoff fate.

10. Falcons (6-7) Being outscored by 108 points usually isn’t a formula for making the playoffs, but the Falcons are still breathing after beating the Panthers.

11. Saints (6-7) Ending their five-game losing streak leaves the lights on for the Saints and finding a way to win in Tampa would give them a lot of momentum heading into the final three weeks.

12. Panthers (5-8) The Panthers’ 3-0 start feels like it came in a completely different season.

13. Seahawks (5-8) Two straight wins have made things less bleak in Seattle, but a loss in Los Angeles this week will turn attention back to what will happen in the offseason.

14. Giants (4-9) The best news for the Giants right now is that they also have the Bears’ first-round pick in 2022.

15. Bears (4-9) With two games against the Vikings in the next four weeks, the Bears can play spoiler for their divisional rivals.


16. Lions (1-11-1) The Lions were shorthanded in Week 14 and that’s a bad spot to be in when you’re not all that good at full strength.