NFL playoff standings and playoff picture 2014: Packers maintain narrow NFC North lead
The Green Bay Packers remain one game up on the Detroit Lions in the NFC North, while the NFC South is once again tied between the 5-8 Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
The NFC North has been a two team race for much of the season, and like much of the season, the Green Bay Packers held on to their narrow lead. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a solid victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, lifting Green Bay to its 10th win of the season and tying them with a few other elite teams for the best record in the NFL.
They’re maintaining a narrow one-game lead over the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. Detroit is 9-4 on the year after a dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. They’ve got games against the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears up next, and then a rematch with the Packers in Week 17, so the NFC North isn’t quite locked up just yet.
Both the Vikings and Bears are struggling big time this season. The Vikings are still trying to find a solution in the running game after the departure of Adrian Peterson, and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a long way to go. Jay Cutler doesn’t look like his old self for the Bears, and there’s talk of Marc Trestman’s job being in danger.
Whatever the case, it’s still a two-team race, though the Packers have the edge. Let’s take a look at the rest of the divisions and where they stand after Week 14:
The NFC South remains the worst division in football and nothing is going to change that at this point. The Falcons were dominated by the Packers on Monday, and well to 5-8 on the season. Of course, they’re still tied for the NFC South lead with the New Orleans Saints, who are 5-8 after falling to the Carolina Panthers. Carolina dominated the Saints on Sunday and is 4-8-1 on the season, within spitting distance of the division lead.
This division became a two-team race over the weekend. The San Francisco 49ers were holding on to hopes of taking the division, and technically there is still a chance of making it to the postseason, but given that they looked totally lost against the Oakland Raiders of all teams, it’s not likely. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals notched their 10th win of the season, while the Seattle Seahawks are just a game behind.
The Philadelphia Eagles put themselves on top of the NFC East with a win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13, but the division is tied up again after the Cowboys won on Thursday and the Eagles fell to the aforementioned Seahawks. Both teams are at 9-4, and they’ll play each other again on Sunday for Week 15. That game could decide the division.
The AFC North is starting to clear up a little bit, but it’s still very competitive. The Cincinnati Bengals are back to having a very narrow lead thanks to an 8-4-1 record. That tie remains the difference maker, as both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are 8-5 on the season. The Cleveland Browns lost in Week 14, so it’s going to be tough for them to get back. The Steelers will play the Bengals in Week 17.
The Houston Texans are doing what they can to keep the AFC South close, but the Indianapolis Colts keep winning and the division is getting out of reach. The Texans are 7-6 on the year, much better than they were a year ago, when they had the worst record in the league. But Indianapolis is 9-4 and in firm control of the AFC South. The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars are non-factors.
Both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers have done an excellent job at keeping things close against the Denver Broncos this season, but Peyton Manning’s team is starting to pull away. Kansas City has suffered some tough losses and sits at 7-6 on the year, while the Chargers fell in a tough game against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Denver won its game though, and is now tied for the best record in the league at 10-3.
The New England Patriots are in a similar position to the Broncos. They’ve been getting some surprising pushback from the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills in the AFC East, but they have a firm grip on the division lead. Both Miami and Buffalo sit at 7-6 on the year, while the Patriots also moved to double digit wins, with their aforementioned win over the Chargers on Sunday.