NFL playoff picture 2013: Saints keep pace with Seahawks atop NFC, Dolphins improve wild card standings

David Banks

A late field goal keeps New Orleans within striking distance of NFC-leading Seattle, while a big win for Miami pulls them even with an inconsistent Jets team in the AFC wild card race.

The NFL playoff picture is increasingly coming into focus as the league moves towards the home stretch, and several key winners and losers in Sunday's Week 11 afternoon slate reshuffled the postseason landscape in both conferences.

NFC playoff picture

No. 1 Seattle Seahawks 10-1 (NFC West leader)

No. 2 New Orleans Saints 8-2 (NFC South leader)

No. 3 Detroit Lions 6-4 (NFC North leader)

No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles 6-5 (NFC East leader)

No. 5 Carolina Panthers 6-3 (Wild Card)

No. 6 San Francisco 49ers 6-4 (Wild Card)

Contenders: Arizona Cardinals 6-4, Chicago Bears 6-4, Dallas Cowboys 5-5

Seattle blasted the Vikings for an easy 41-20 win, a victory that gained even more significance when Garrett Hartley booted a game-winning kick to help the Saints keep pace for the NFC lead. New Orleans remains within one game-and-a-half of the Seahawks for a the top seed, and also keeps their lead over the hard-charging Panthers in the NFC South.

The NFC North became a much closer race as Detroit dropped a game to the Steelers while the Bears hit a last-second field goal against the Ravens to pull even at 6-4. The Lions hold the tiebreaker heading down the stretch, however, thanks to head-to-head wins in Weeks 4 and 10.

The Eagles put down the Redskins to take control of the NFC East, but after a fourth consecutive win from the Giants, the once-0-6 G-men have fought their way back into the race.

AFC playoff picture

No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs 9-0 (AFC West leader)

No. 2 New England Patriots 7-2 (AFC East leader)

No. 3 Indianapolis Colts 7-3 (AFC South leader)

No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals 7-4 (AFC North leader)

No. 5 Denver Broncos 8-1 (Wild Card)

No. 6 New York Jets 5-5 (Wild Card)

Contenders: Miami Dolphins 5-5, Oakland Raiders 4-6, Tennessee Titans 4-6

The Colts were a little worried after being blown out by the Rams in Week 10, but regained firm control of the AFC South with a comeback win over the division-rival Titans last Thursday. The Bengals got an equally crucial win over the Browns, who had been sneaking up on them in the AFC North race.

The biggest AFC winners early Sunday were the Dolphins, who find themselves back in the Wild Card hunt after beating the Chargers and watching the Jets fall hard to the Bills. The Jets still lead the race for now, but blew a big opportunity to stretch their lead against a weak Buffalo team.

For now, the AFC still awaits the momentous Chiefs-Broncos game Sunday night, which will decide not only the AFC West leader, but the conference's top team overall.

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