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With Carson Wentz’s injury, the NFC playoff race is going sideways

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Atlanta benefitted, but things are much less certain than they were a week ago.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the season, I imagine the Eagles will be the #1 seed and the Vikings will be the #2 seed in the NFC. They’ve been the two best teams in the conference all season long, and they’d need to collapse in epic fashion not to get wind up there at this point.

And yet, everything went wrong for both teams Sunday, in a way that might have lasting repercussions.

Let’s start with the Eagles. Carson Wentz suffered a knee injury Sunday evening, and he could very well be dealing with a season-ending ailment. If that’s the case, the Eagles are a #1 seed with Nick Foles at quarterback, a situation that is hardly ideal and could very well cap their postseason upside. They’re still a truly terrific team, as much as it pains me to admit that, but Wentz was a large part of the reason they were great. If he’s not healthy, everything changes.

The Vikings, meanwhile, blew a game against the Panthers that exposed some holes in Case Keenum’s game. Mike Zimmer has implied for weeks that he’ll consider putting in Teddy Bridgewater if Keenum falters, and given that Keenum just faltered, maybe we’re on the cusp of that. Either way, Minnesota is still dealing with an unsettled quarterback situation that could (surprise) cap their upside, as good as they are.

That leaves the door open for teams with more established, high-end quarterbacks to make noise in the postseason, but nothing is settled just yet. The Panthers, Saints, and Falcons are tight in the NFC South, the Seahawks are trying to hang on, and the Rams just lost to the Eagles. The only certain thing in the better conference is that nothing is all that certain at the moment.