1. Los Angeles Rams Rams (10-1)
2. New Orleans Saints (10-2)
3. Chicago Bears (8-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-5)
5. Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1)
6. Washington Redskins (6-5)
These teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot, competing through season’s end for a chance in the tournament.
7. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
8. Carolina Panthers (6-5)
9. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
10. Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
11. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
13. Detroit Lions (4-7)
Also, the book isn’t shut on the NFC South just yet. The Saints could have clinched it by taking down Dallas and if some other games shook out right, but that’s not where we are.
1. New Orleans Saints (10-2)
2. Carolina Panthers (6-5)
3. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
With two games left against the second-place Carolina Panthers, New Orleans can’t get too comfortable despite their lead on the division title. But getting a little help in Week 13 and beyond would go a long way towards ensuring a playoff bye. Here’s who Saints fans should root for on Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens over Atlanta Falcons
Okay, this one doesn’t affect the standings. But it would be terrific if Lamar Jackson’s Ravens can hammer another nail into Atlanta’s coffin. The Georgia Bulldogs found out that 28 points weren’t enough in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, just like the Falcons did in Super Bowl 51. With that energy lingering over Mercedes-Benz Stadium still, let’s hope for the Falcons to trip up in front of a big audience.
New York Giants over Chicago Bears
The Giants haven’t beat many teams this year, but fans have to hope they can get it done against Chicago. The Bears travel to New York with backup quarterback Chase Daniel starting a second game in place of Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears are just a few games behind New Orleans and could poach the No. 2 playoff seed if the Saints start to skid in December. Hope for a Giants upset.
Detroit Lions over Los Angeles Rams
This game is an even longer shot than the previous, but here we are. The Rams leave Los Angeles to visit the Lions on Ford Field, where Detroit last played on Thanksgiving – losing to the Bears. L.A. expects the return of cornerback Aqib Talib, which should help a pass defense that’s been just as vulnerable as the Saints’. Hopefully the Lions can use their extra prep time to get the jump on Los Angeles, giving the Saints a one-game lead and for now, homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers
The Saints lead Carolina by four games, but there’s still the slimmest of chances that the Panthers roar back to challenge for the NFC South crown. Any loss they suffer between now and the end of the season helps the Saints, and that could start today against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are in desperation mode and badly need several wins in the final month to save everyone’s jobs. Saints fans should pull for Tampa in solidarity in Week 13, and hope for a third consecutive defeat for Carolina.