The Seahawks could have nearly salted away the NFC West Sunday. But after putting on one of their worst offensive performances of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they've let their division foes barely stay alive. More importantly, Seattle's hopes of securing a first-round playoff bye took a big hit.
Let's start our tour in the NFC West, where Seattle got a lot of help.
The Arizona Cardinals were crushed by the Atlanta Falcons, 38-19. The Cardinals' playoff hopes are now on life support.
Same goes for the L.A. Rams. Their normally impressive defense was flat out embarrassed by the New Orleans Saints in a 49-21 blowout. The Saints put up 555 yards of offense.
The San Francisco 49ers were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 31-24 loss in Miami.
Here are the NFC West standings
The Dallas Cowboys won their 10th game in a row, beating the Washington Redskins 31-26 on Thursday. That win, along with Seattle's loss, nearly locks up the No. 1 seed in the NFC for Dallas unless they suddenly go on a major slump.
The Carolina Panthers, who the Seahawks will host next Sunday night, took the biggest stumble of the weekend. They blew an 8-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the white-hot Oakland Raiders 35-32. The defending NFC champions now have to consider every game from here on out a must-win.
The 16-13 loss by Minnesota Vikings to the Detroit Lions Thursday was severely damaging to Minnesota's division title hopes. The Lions took a one-game lead in the NFC North, but it's basically two games because they own the tiebreaker by winning both games against the Vikings this season.
The New York Giants kept the Cleveland Browns winless on the season with a 27-13 victory. The Giants could still catch the Cowboys in the NFC East. New York handed Dallas its only loss of the season. The two teams meet again in two weeks.
The Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles meet Monday night with both needing a win to stay in the playoff conversation.
Here's the updated playoff standings in the NFC. The two division leaders chasing the Seahawks for a playoff bye gained ground.
1. Cowboys 10-1 (NFC East leader; home-field advantage)
2. Seahawks 7-3-1 (NFC West leader; 1st Round Bye)
3. Lions 7-4 (NFC North leader; Host Wild Card Game)
4. Falcons 7-4 (NFC South leader; Host Wild Card Game)
5. Giants 8-3 (Wild Card; at Falcons)
6. Redskins 6-4-1 (Wild Card; at Lions)
7. Buccaneers 6-5
8. Vikings 6-5
9. Eagles 5-5
10. Saints 5-6
11. Cardinals 4-6-1
12. Packers 4-6
13. Panthers 4-7
14. Rams 4-7
15. Bears 2-9
16. 49ers 1-10
Five weeks to go!
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