It’s Week 14 of the NFL season, and fans of the Seattle Seahawks can rest easy Sunday because the team has the day off. With the matchup against the Minnesota Vikings set for Monday Night Football, the only thing Seattle fans need to do on Sunday is prepare for the holidays and sit back and watch the rest of the NFC playoff picture unfold around them.
Here is the full Week 14 NFC slate of games
In the grand scheme of things, this game likely has more important ramifications on the 2019 draft than it does the postseason. It’s been an interesting, drama-filled week up in Green Bay between the firing of Mike McCarthy and Winston Moss, so the game gives the team the chance to perhaps put some of the drama behind them.
Somehow the Giants are just three games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East with a quarter of the season left, meaning they’re not dead dead just yet. Their playoff hopes took a nasty hit when the Cowboys upset the Saints last week, but the Giants have the chance to keep those postseason dreams alive this weekend when they face a Washington team that will be forced to start Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Back before the trade deadline the Panthers were 6-2 and looking like they could be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. Now, they travel to Cleveland where they need a victory over the rejuvenated, post-Hue-Jackson Browns to keep pace in the NFC playoff race.
The best thing the Panthers have going for their playoff chances in Week 14 may be the simple fact that the two teams they are chasing in the Wild Card race play each other this weekend, meaning that barring a tie the Panthers can make up ground on one of the two teams. And, if they are going to make up ground, it likely needs to be this week because their final three games are a home and home with the Saints sandwiched around a matchup against their divisional nemesis, the Falcons. At least we’re likely to get some good pouty Cam sideline shots over the final month of the season.
New Orleans Saints (10-2) at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8), 1:00 New York Time
The revenge game the Saints have had circled for weeks is finally here. Looking ahead to this game is the only logical reason I can come up with for how the Saints lost to the Cowboys last week. Tampa somehow defeated the Saints in Week 1 to open the season, in a 48-40 shootout that was the Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams game weeks before that game actually took place.
Denver has managed to keep its playoff hopes alive, while as of the time of writing the 49ers are the only NFC team that has been eliminated from postseason contention. That list should grow this weekend, but this game has as close to zero implications on the NFC postseason picture as a game can possibly have.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) at the Dallas Cowboys (7-5), 4:25 New York Time
For the second time in three weeks, the Cowboys are playing with first place in the NFC East on the line. The Eagles come in having won two in a row, while the Cowboys have won their last four, but all streaks are irrelevant because when this game ends, the victor of this contest will be in first place in the division. If the Cowboys win they will be sitting at 8-5 and likely two games up in the division with just three games remaining in the season. The Eagles, on the other hand, would move into a tie with Dallas if they win, but would hold the tiebreaker thanks to a better division record. Any hold Philadelphia would have on first place would likely be short lived, as they play the Los Angeles Rams and the red hot Houston Texans over the next two weeks, but I’m all for any team knocking Jerry & Co. out of first place for any amount of time.
Somehow, neither of these two teams have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason. That would change for the Cardinals with a loss this weekend. Detroit can’t officially be eliminated this weekend, but because the teams ahead of them play each other down the stretch, their season is all but officially over.
Los Angeles Rams (11-1) at the Chicago Bears (8-4), 8:20 New York Time
Sit back and enjoy what should be a quality primetime matchup. It’s one of the best defenses in the league against one of the the best offenses in the league. These two teams have young, offensive-minded coaches with an experienced veteran defensive coordinator leading the other side of the ball. The Rams have an opportunity to clinch a first round bye with a win, while the Bears are looking to maintain their lead in the division over the Vikings.
In short, the two biggest NFC matchups for Week 14 are primetime games back to back on Sunday and Monday.
So, that’s the lineup of games, and here are the current standings.
NFC Standings heading in to Week 14
|Los Angeles Rams||11||1||0||0.917|
|New Orleans Saints||10||2||0||0.833|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5||7||0||0.417|
|Green Bay Packers||4||7||1||0.375|
|New York Giants||4||8||0||0.333|
|San Francisco 49ers||2||10||0||0.167|
And that’s the Seahawks playoff picture for Week 14.
After things shake out on Sunday, I’ll likely have a piece on Monday that breaks down where things stand for the Hawks heading into their game against the Vikings.