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Week 15 NFC Playoff Picture and Vikings Postseason Scenarios

The Minnesota Vikings are in good position to make a deep run in the playoffs.

The Vikings suffered an uneasy 24-31 loss to Carolina over the weekend. The defeat may have caused a slight lull in momentum, but a return home after a three-game road trip to face the NFL’s worst offense should put wind back in the team’s sail.

With the playoffs on the horizon, the Vikings currently hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC. If the season ended today Minnesota would have a first-round bye in the playoffs. However, with three weeks remaining in the regular season, a lot can change.

The Philadelphia Eagles are the current No. 1 seed in the conference. Philadelphia won a close game over the Los Angeles Rams over the weekend. In doing so, the Eagles became the first NFC team to clinch a playoff berth. With a one-game lead over Minnesota, it would appear Philly is in the captain’s seat to clinch the No. 1 seed. However, they lost their star quarterback for the season in the win over the Rams.

With the Eagles adjusting to life after Carson Wentz and the Vikings facing a favorable schedule to end the season — hold onto your seats folks.

The Vikings have not officially made the playoffs, but that can change in Week 15. The Vikings can punch their ticket to the postseason in a variety of ways.

In order for the Vikings to reach the postseason by clinching the NFC North division (and guaranteeing a 1-4 seed as a division winner), one of these two scenarios must occur:

  1. MINNESOTA win or tie OR
  2. DETROIT loss or tie PLUS GREEN BAY loss or tie

In order for the Vikings to reach the playoffs based on record, one of the following scenarios must occur:

  1. SEATTLE loss + ATLANTA loss + NEW ORLEANS loss OR
  2. SEATTLE loss + ATLANTA loss + CAROLINA loss OR
  3. SEATTLE loss + ATLANTA loss + DETROIT loss or tie OR
  4. SEATTLE loss + ATLANTA tie + NEW ORLEANS loss + DETROIT loss or tie OR
  5. SEATTLE loss + ATLANTA tie + NEW ORLEANS loss + CAROLINA loss

Here’s how the playoff picture look today in the NFC. Remember, the top six seeds make the playoffs. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds each receive a first-round bye.

Division Leaders

#1 seed: Philadelphia Eagles (11-2)

#2 seed: Minnesota Vikings (10-3)

#3 seed: Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

#4 seed: New Orleans Saints (9-4)


Wild Card

#5 seed: Carolina Panthers (9-4)

#6 seed: Atlanta Falcons (8-5)


In the hunt

#7 seed: Seattle Seahawks (8-5)

#8 seed: Detroit Lions (7-6)

#9 seed: Green Bay Packers (7-6)

#10 seed: Dallas Cowboys (7-6)

#11 seed: Arizona Cardinals (6-7)


National Football Conference Standings

Here’s a look at how the entire conference stacks up, courtesy of NFL.com.

  • [*] Clinched Homefield Advantage in Playoffs
  • [y] Clinched Division Title
  • [z] Clinched First-Round Bye
  • [x] Clinched Playoff Berth

Playoff Rounds and Dates

  • The Wild Card Round is January 6-7
  • The Divisional Round is January 13-14
  • The Conference Round is January 21
  • The Super Bowl is February 4 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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8 Comments

  1. We should finish 13-3. Based on who they’re playing and how they’ve done so far, I could see the Rams, Falcons, Saints, Panthers and Seahawks all ending up 11-5, one of whom would miss the playoffs. The Eagles, even with Nick Foles, should finish 14-2, but Lord save me, unless the Giants can pull off an amazing upset this weekend, I may have to root for the Cowboys (Blech! Ptui! Ptui!) to get the Eagles down to 13-3. Any idea who would be the number one seed if both the Vikings and Eagles ended up at 13-3, Sean?

    1. No way we can catch the Eagles unless they lose 2. If they lose one (the 1 loss can’t be Oakland) and we win out… tied at 13-3, tied in conference at 10-2. Next tiebreaker is common games. Chicago.. Carolina.. Washington.. Rams.. I think that’s it. We’d be 4-1, they’d be 5-0.

    2. Harry hands is correct. Since there’s no head-to-head game it would depend on which team has the better conference record at the end of the season. Right now the tiebreaker belongs to Philly at 9-1. The Vikings are 8-2 in conference games. If the conference records are the same the next tiebreaker is common games and Harry listed those records as well.

      Each team has two conference games remaining. The Eagles would need to lose both games versus NFC opponents (Giants and Cowboys) and the Vikings would need to win out in order for the Vikings to take over the No. 1 seed.

      So while it’s a long shot, the Vikings can still earn the top seed. An Eagles loss this week would make things REAL interesting.

  2. vikes can beat eagles in philly if we need to, and they might lose their first playoff game anyways. all depends on how foles plays. we just gotta get and then stay healthy. want that bye to rest

    1. Exactly CalVkg. Eagles don’t scare me that much, especially without Wentz. A bye could be big to allow players like Reiff and Alexander to rest. 2 to go!

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