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NFL playoff picture: What does Steelers-Vikings mean for AFC, NFC standings

The Steelers face the Vikings in Minneapolis on Thursday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view after practice of U.S. Bank Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The NFL kicks off Week 14 this evening with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. ET and the game airs on FOX and Amazon Prime.

The Vikings are a three-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook in a game with huge playoff implications. Both teams are in the thick of the playoff race and badly need a win to avoid losing ground in the wild card chase.

Steelers playoff picture

Current AFC standing

The Steelers beat Baltimore last week to snap an 0-2-1 skid and are now 6-5-1. They are approximately a game and a half back of Baltimore and a half game back of Cincinnati while a half game up on Cleveland in the AFC North. They are in eighth place in the overall AFC standings, sitting just behind LA, Cincinnati, and Buffalo who are all 7-5.

Rest of the AFC playoff field

Ravens (8-4) @ Browns (6-6)
Raiders (6-6) @ Chiefs (8-4)
Lions (1-10-1) @ Broncos (6-6)
Giants (4-8) @ Chargers (7-5)
49ers (6-6) @ Bengals (7-5)
Bills (7-5) @ Buccaneers (9-3)

Vikings playoff picture

Current NFC standing

The Vikings have lost two straight to drop to 5-7, most recently losing 29-27 to Detroit to get the Lions their first win of the season. The Vikings are in second place in the NFC North, four games back of Green Bay and one game up on Chicago. They are in ninth place in the overall NFC standings, a half game back of eighth place Philadelphia, and two back of wild card teams Washington and San Francisco.

Rest of the NFC playoff field

This is the first weekend teams have an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth. The Cardinals, Packers, and Bucs are the three teams with a clinching scenario, and the Vikings could impact all three. The Cardinals can clinch a playoff berth with a win or help from various combinations of losses involving the Vikings, 49ers, Saints, and Panthers. The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win and a Vikings loss. The Bucs can clinch a playoff berth with a win and losses by the Vikings and several other teams.

Saints (5-7) @ Jets (3-9)
Cowboys (8-4) @ Washington (6-6)
Falcons (5-7) @ Panthers (5-7)
49ers (6-6) @ Bengals (7-5)
Rams (8-4) @ Cardinals (10-2)