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NFL Playoff Picture, Week 14: Packers retake NFC North lead

Green Bay got a little help from last year's nemesis to help them retake the lead in their division this week.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers got some help in the NFC North standings in week 13. After their Hail Mary victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. That pulled the Packers back into a tie with Minnesota for the lead in the NFC North, and Green Bay holds the tiebreaker by virtue of their win in Minneapolis in Week 11.

Although the Packers now are in line for a home playoff game again, the matchup is significantly less desirable. The Packers' 3rd seed would put them in line for a rematch of their week 2 game, when they defeated the Seahawks in Lambeau Field. The Vikings, on the other hand, fall from 3rd to 5th, but would travel to play the champion of the NFC East, which for now is Washington.

Though Washington and Dallas play on Monday Night Football, ESPN's Playoff Machine indicates that Washington will still maintain the lead in the NFC East even if they lose and fall back into a three-way tie with the Giants and Eagles.

NFC Playoff Rankings

1. Carolina Panthers, 12-0 (NFC South leader)
2. Arizona Cardinals, 10-2 (NFC West leader)

3. Green Bay Packers, 8-4 (NFC North leader)
4. Washington, 5-6 (NFC East leader)*
5. Minnesota Vikings, 8-4 (Wild-Card)
6. Seattle Seahawks, 7-5 (Wild-Card)

Outside Looking In

6-6: Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5-7: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears
4-8: Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams
3-8: Dallas Cowboys*

* Washington and Dallas play on Monday Night Football tonight

Meanwhile, in the AFC we have seen a major shakeup at the top. The Patriots, now on a two-game losing streak, have fallen out of the top spot and all the way out of a bye week, as they now sit third in the conference. Like in the NFC, the AFC has a division leader without a winning record. However, the only winning team not currently holding a playoff spot is here in the AFC, as the Steelers are on the outside with a 7-5 record.

AFC Playoff Rankings

1. Cincinnati Bengals, 10-2 (AFC North leader)
2. Denver Broncos, 10-2 (AFC West leader)

3. New England Patriots, 10-2 (AFC East leader)
4. Indianapolis Colts, 6-6 (AFC South leader)
5. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-5 (Wild-Card)
6. New York Jets, 7-5 (Wild-Card)

Outside Looking In

7-5: Pittsburgh Steelers
6-6: Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans
5-7: Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders
4-8: Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars
3-9: Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers
2-10: Cleveland Browns