NFC playoff scenarios: Week 16 clarity for New Orleans, Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit

December 20, 2013

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have a big game against the New Orleans Saints. (Bob Leverone / AP)

Not a single NFC division title has been resolved, which means that there are a number of playoff scenarios for the next-to-last week of the regular season:

Division leaders

1. Seattle Seahawks* (12-2); NFC West

2. New Orleans Saints (10-4); NFC South

3. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6): NFC East

4. Chicago Bears (8-6): NFC North

5. Carolina Panthers (10-4): wild card

6. San Francisco 49ers (10-4): wild card

*Has clinched a playoff berth

Teams still in the mix: Arizona Cardinals (9-5), Green Bay Packers (7-6-1), Detroit Lions (7-7), Dallas Cowboys (7-7).

Seattle can clinch the division title and NFC home-field advantage with a win or a tie or a San Francisco loss or tie.

New Orleans can clinch the division title and a first-round bye with a win over Carolina. It would also clinch a playoff spot with a tie and an Arizona loss; a tie and a San Francisco loss or tie; a tie and an Arizona tie; or a San Francisco loss and Arizona tie.

Carolina would clinch a playoff spot with a win or a tie and a loss by either Arizona or San Francisco, or losses by both Arizona and San Francisco.

San Francisco would clinch a playoff spot with a win or an Arizona loss, or ties by both teams.

Philadelphia can clinch the division title with a win and a Dallas loss to Washington or tie or a tie and a Dallas loss.

Chicago can clinch the division title with a win and a Green Bay loss and a Detroit loss or tie.

The scenarios are starkest for Green Bay (vs. Pittsburgh), Detroit (New York Giants) and Dallas (Washington), each of whom must win its division or there’s no postseason.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Kelyn Soong · December 20, 2013

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