The NFL playoffs will be here before we know it, and the division races are quickly heating up.
The Saints became the first team to clinch a playoff berth when they defeated the Falcons on Thanksgiving to take home the NFC South title. During Monday Night Football, the Seahawks outlasted the Vikings 37–30 to be tied with the 49ers atop the NFC West.
However, Seattle owns the tiebreaker since it beat San Francisco in the two teams' Week 10 contest. Because of that, the Seahawks sit in the second seed of the playoff picture behind the Saints, who beat them in Week 3. The 49ers fell to the fifth seed but will face the Seahawks again in a key Week 17 matchup to close out the regular season.
In the NFC North, the Vikings dropped one game behind the Packers with Monday night's loss. Minnesota remains one game ahead of the Rams for the No. 6 seed in the NFC and a shot at reaching the playoffs.
The Ravens and Chiefs could lock up the AFC North and West divisions with wins this weekend, while the Bills, Patriots, 49ers and Seahawks could potentially clinch playoff berths as well.
With the Wild Card Round only a month away, here's what the projected playoff picture looks like:
WILD CARD ROUND (Jan. 4-5):
- No. 6 Steelers (7–5) vs. No. 3 Texans (8–4)
- No. 5 Bills (9–3) vs. No. 4 Chiefs (8–4)
- No. 6 Vikings (8–4) vs. No. 3 Packers (9–3)
- No. 5 49ers (10–2) vs. No. 4 Cowboys (6–6)
DIVISIONAL ROUND (Jan. 11–12):
- Lowest winning seed from AFC Wild Card Round vs. No. 1 Ravens (10–2)
- Highest winning seed from AFC Wild Card Round vs. No. 2 Patriots (10–2)
- Lowest winning seed from NFC Wild Card Round vs. No. 1 Saints (10–2)
- Highest winning seed from NFC Wild Card Round vs. No. 2 Seahawks (10–2)
IN THE HUNT:
- No. 7 Titans (7–5)
- No. 8 Raiders (6–6)
- No. 9 Colts (6–6)
- No. 10 Browns (5–7)
- No. 11 Jaguars (4–8)
- No. 12 Broncos (4–8)
- No. 13 Chargers (4–8)
- No. 14 Jets (4–8)
- No. 7 Rams (7–5)
- No. 8 Bears (6–6)
- No. 9 Buccaneers (5–7)
- No. 10 Eagles (5–7)
- No. 11 Panthers (5–7)
- No. 12 Redskins (3–9)