Five NFL teams with an outside view of the playoffs still have a chance to get into the tournament. The Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings would all miss the postseason if the season ended today.
But it doesn’t.
Each team’s potential approach to the playoffs is different. The Giants simply have to win their remaining games to play in January. Other teams will need a little help from their friends (or rivals, as the case may be).
NFC playoff hopefuls will likely need 10 wins—and tiebreakers to favor them—to make it into their side of the bracket. The Vikings, Bears and Cowboys still have the potential to top out at 10 regular-season victories, but the NFC North squads’ only hope of getting into the postseason is to grab the final wild-card spot, as the Green Bay Packers clinched their division.
The AFC is less crowded and playoff hopefuls will need at least eight wins to get in.