For most of the season, the Vikings and the New Orleans Saints were the elite teams in the NFC. And that was the matchup that seemed most intriguing looking ahead to the playoffs.
But the way December unfolded, with the Vikings and Saints slumping, suddenly the NFC playoffs look wide open. All six NFC teams in the playoffs have at least 10 wins, and that means there isn’t an obvious favorite.
There are clearly four “Elite “ teams this season in New Orleans, Minnesota, Indianapolis and San Diego. Beyond those four, the NFC is clearly stronger then the AFC.
The hottest team, Dallas, is the No. 3 seed and could have a tough time reaching the Super Bowl. If the Cowboys beat Philadelphia on Saturday night, they would play at Minnesota in the divisional round. The Vikings are one of only 2 undefeated teams at home ( New England is the other).
When asked, Vikings coach Brad Childress replied “I think it is always wide open,” , who knows his team will play host to either Dallas, Green Bay or Arizona next week.
“All you have to do is look at the number of different division winners this year. We did talk about it at the beginning of the year. We put down the evolution, if you will, of the last four years. How many different playoff teams were there in the last years? How many different champions? How many champions didn’t make it back? We’re mindful of that.”
Childress knows that anything can happen. This season, six teams qualified for the playoffs that didn’t play in the postseason last year. And five of the eight divisions had new champions, with only Minnesota, San Diego and Arizona repeating.