The NFL playoff picture just got much worse for the Green Bay Packers. As the Dallas Cowboys took over the top seed in the NFC, the Packers fell out of the latest NFL playoff picture. Losing to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday (Oct. 30) did the Packers no favors, as the team tumbled out of a Wild Card spot. The updated NFL standings have the New York Giants moving ahead of the Packers for that No. 6 seed in the NFC.
Had the Detroit Lions pulled out a victory in Week 9, the Packers would have also slipped to third place in the NFC North. As it stands, the 4-3 Packers are just ahead of the 4-4 Lions and trail the 5-1 Minnesota Vikings by 1 1/2 games. The Vikings play on Monday night (Oct. 31) against the Chicago Bears. A victory would push the Vikings further ahead in the division and right back into the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
The NFL playoff picture was also directly affected by the Dallas Cowboys beating the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime late on Sunday night. For the time being, the Cowboys are now the top-seeded team in the conference. That will go back to the Vikings if they beat the Bears on Monday night football, but Cowboys fans have been pretty ecstatic following the shift in the standings. At worst, the Cowboys will head into Week 9 as the No. 2 seed in the NFC by a wide margin.
Despite the loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles remain in the NFL playoff picture. The team currently holds the first NFC Wild Card spot, with the New York Giants now owning the second Wild Card. That’s three teams from the NFC East residing in the top six spots for the conference. It will raise the stakes for divisional games coming up on the NFL schedule.
Among the Week 9 NFL games, the Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants might be the most noteworthy. The Cowboys play the Cleveland Browns, the Vikings host the Detroit Lions, and the Packers host the Indianapolis Colts. The other division leaders play in primetime games, with the Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday (Nov. 3) and the Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills on Monday (Nov. 7).
NFC Playoff Picture
1 – Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
2 – Minnesota Vikings (5-1)
3 – Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1)
4 – Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
5 – Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)
6 – New York Giants (4-3)
7 – Green Bay Packers (4-3)
8 – Washington Redskins (4-3-1)
9 – Detroit Lions (4-4)
Over in the AFC playoff picture, the West has taken over the standings. The Oakland Raiders (6-2) lead the AFC West and currently hold the No. 2 seed. The Denver Broncos (6-2) are the first AFC Wild Card team, while the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) hold that second Wild Card spot. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost again without injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but have managed to hold the lead in the AFC North. The team might need its star QB back on the field in Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens, as the divisional game will directly affect the standings.
The New England Patriots are clearly the top team in the conference, moving to 7-1 and remaining unbeaten since Tom Brady returned from his suspension. The team is rewarded with a bye week, with a chance to rest up for the stretch run. The Houston Texans also get a Week 9 bye, with the team currently holding the No. 3 seed in the AFC after moving to 5-3. The team has a nice lead on the rest of the division, but has had to do it without former Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt. Can they keep winning games and move up in the AFC playoff standings?
AFC Playoff Picture
1 – New England Patriots (7-1)
2 – Oakland Raiders (6-2)
3 – Houston Texans (5-3)
4 – Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
5 – Denver Broncos (6-2)
6 – Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
7 – Tennessee Titans (4-4)
8 – Buffalo Bills (4-4)
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]