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NFC playoff picture | Commanders get into the Wild Card discussion


There are five games left in the 2022 season, but if the postseason started today, the Washington Commanders would be one of the seven surviving teams on the NFC side of the playoffs. 

After trudging out to a 1-4 start, the Commanders have turned around their season by winning six of the last seven games, which is the best record in the NFL during that span, and thanks to the Seattle Seahawks losing their game to the Las Vegas Raiders, Washington is in the midst of the playoff discussion with five games left. 

What's more, three of their next opponents are in the NFC and vying for postseason berths as well. So, let's take a look at the playoff picture heading into Week 13. 

Division leaders 

No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) 

Despite losing to the Commanders on Monday Night Football two weeks ago, the Eagles still have a firm grasp on the NFC East and conference as a whole. They have since bolstered their run defense with Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph as an answer for Jordan Davis going on Injured Reserve. 

Next opponents: Titans, Giants, Bears, Cowboys, Saints 

No. 2 Minnesota Vikings (9-2) 

After dropping their first loss in seven games to the Dallas Cowboys, 40-3, the Vikings bounced back with a 33-26 victory over the New England Patriots. Minnesota's margin of victory has been less than a touchdown, but Kirk Cousins and Co. know how to win close games. 

Next opponents: Jets, Lions, Colts, Giants, Packers, Bears 

No. 3 San Francisco 49ers (7-4) 

 The 49ers started the season with a 3-4 but have since gone on a four-game winning streak with convincing victories against the Rams and Cardinals. The team is undefeated in the NFC West with two matchups against the Cardinals and Seahawks left on the schedule. 

Next opponents: Dolphins, Buccaneers, Seahawks, Commanders, Raiders, Cardinals 

No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) 

The Buccaneers have struggled to consistently string together wins, but a weak NFC South gives Tom Brady a chance at postseason contention. Outside of the 2008 season, during which he missed most of the year with a knee injury, Brady has made the playoffs every season since 2002. 

Next opponents: Saints, 49ers Bengals, Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons

Wild card

No. 5 Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

The Cowboys survived well enough without Dak Prescott to start the season, but now that their franchise quarterback is back under center, they have won four of their last five games. With four of their next six games against AFC South opponents -- three of the division's teams are below .500 -- the Cowboys look to be headed for a postseason appearance, barring a setback.

Next opponents: Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Eagles, Titans, Commanders

No. 6 New York Giants (7-4)

In what may be the most surprising turnaround of the season, the Giants escaped with a 21-20 win over the Titans that started a run in which they won five of their first six contests. Things have taken a sour turn over the past month, as the Giants have lost three of their last four. New York will continue to be tested down the stretch.

Next opponents: Commanders, Eagles, Commanders, Vikings, Colts, Eagles

No. 7 Washington Commanders (7-5)

Things looked bleak for the Commanders after dropping a heartbreaker to the Titans that put them at 1-4 to start Ron Rivera’s third season. However, thanks to a strong running game and improvements from the defense, Washington is playing as good as any team in the league and in control of its playoff hopes. It is eerily similar to last season, when a four-game win streak gave Washington a shot at the playoffs. If the Commanders continue to stick to their identity, they have a good shot at playing in mid-January.

Next opponents: Giants, bye, Giants, 49ers, Browns, Cowboys

In the hunt

Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

Atlanta Falcons (5-7)

Detroit Lions (4-7)

Green Bay Packers (4-8

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