NFL playoff picture: Road to Super Bowl goes through Seattle in NFC

Jonathan Ferrey

The Seahawks established themselves as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but everything else about the NFL playoff picture is far from settled.

The Road to the Super Bowl now goes through Seattle, and that's not a friendly road for NFC teams to have to travel.

The Seahawks dominated the New Orleans Saints at home in Week 13 with a convincing 34-7 win on Monday Night Football. It wasn't ever close. Seattle stormed out to a big lead early, Century Link Field broke the sound record for the second time this season, and the Saints left more worried about winning their division than claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Here's the updated playoff picture heading into Week 14.

AFC Playoff Picture

1. Denver Broncos (10-2)

2. New England Patriots (9-3)

3. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)

4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)

5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)

6. Baltimore Ravens (6-6)

The top four teams in the AFC standings all won, so there's no change there. The Chiefs have a big enough cushion on the rest of the wild card contenders that their recent three-game losing streak doesn't cripple them. The Ravens and Dolphins are currently tied for the sixth spot in the AFC, but Baltimore holds the tie breaker.

On the bubble

Miami Dolphins (6-6)

Four teams have a 5-7 record. The Chargers, Steelers, Jets and Titans all dropped to 5-7 with losses in Week 13. Meanwhile, both the Ravens and the Dolphins won, so they are now the clear front runners in the AFC Wild Card Race.

Big Week 14 games

The Colts and Bengals face off in Week 14, which will likely determine which team gets the No. 3 seed and which gets the No. 4. Miami and Pittsburgh face off in the biggest game with wild card implications. A win would put Pittsburgh back in the conversation.

NFC Playoff Picture

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-1)

2. New Orleans Saints (9-3)

3. Detroit Lions (7-5)

4. Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

5. Carolina Panthers (9-3)

6. San Francisco 49ers (8-4)

Century Link field is about to get a whole lot louder. Unless the Seahawks suffer a major collapse, they will be the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and have home field advantage throughout the postseason. The rest of the standings are still very much undecided. The NFC North and East races are still close, and the seedings will depend heavily on the next few weeks.

On the bubble

Philadelphia Eagles (7-5), Arizona Cardinals (7-5), Chicago Bears (6-6)

The NFC is a much more crowded playoff picture. The wild card spots will belong to the NFC West and NFC South in all likelihood. That means the Bears and Eagles will have to get to the playoffs through their division.

Big Week 14 games

The Bears and Cowboys play one another in Week 14, while the Eagles and Lions will also play. Not only could the division races be easier to figure out after next weekend, but so to will the seeding in the NFC.

The Seahawks have another big game, this one on the road against the 49ers. Seattle seems to have the division wrapped up at this point, but it can bury San Francisco with another win. The showdown we've been waiting for in the NFC South occurs in Week 14 as well. The Panthers will travel to New Orleans to play the Saints and figure out which team will have the leverage in the division race.

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