NFC playoff standings through Week 12

As you know, ESPN.com has brought back its Playoff Machine to provide playoff seedings based on future results. The most important piece of the puzzle, of course, is the ESPN.com playoff standings that displays conference seeding on a weekly basis.

So as Week 12 closes, let's look at where the top three NFC North teams would be seeded if the regular season were now complete. As with last week, two would make the playoffs and a third would be eliminated by a tiebreaker. Here is how the upper half of the NFC shakes out at the moment, and I don't think it will change based on Monday night's game between the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles.

  1. Atlanta Falcons (10-1)

  2. San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1)

  3. Chicago Bears (8-3)

  4. New York Giants (7-4)

  5. Green Bay Packers (7-4)

  6. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)

  8. Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

As we noted last week, the Vikings would lose any tiebreaker with the Seahawks and Bucs because they have lost to both of them. Sunday's loss to the Bears, on a day when the Seahawks and Bucs also lost, qualified as a missed opportunity to gain ground in the wild-card race.