Guessing the NFC North's playoff position

The way I see it, the NFC playoff picture could very well be in flux until the final moment of Week 17. That means Minnesota could still clinch the No. 1 seed or tumble as far as No. 4. For now, it means Green Bay has the No. 5 seed but suggests a scenario in which Arizona will have incentive to play its starters for the Packers’ regular season finale.

First, let’s look at the current NFC standings:

1. New Orleans (13-2)

2. Minnesota (11-3)

3. Philadelphia (11-4)

4. Arizona (10-5)

5. Green Bay (10-5)

6. Dallas (10-5)

The Vikings would be the No. 1 seed if three things happen:

  • They win Monday night at Chicago

  • They win next Sunday at home against the New York Giants

  • New Orleans loses next Sunday at Carolina

The Vikings must be equally wary of falling from their current No. 2 perch. A 1-1 finish could drop them to the No. 3 seed, based on losing tiebreakers with Philadelphia, and an 0-2 finish could allow Arizona to leapfrog them as well.

So based on what happens with the Vikings, the Cardinals could be in position to move up at least one position in the seedings. If that’s the case, you can expect them to play their starters next week against the Packers.

And the Packers might need a victory against the Cardinals to ensure a No. 5 seed. They could drop to the No. 6 if they lose to the Cardinals and Dallas defeats Philadelphia in Week 17.

As always, we’ll keep you updated.