NFL

Saints still mathematically alive in the hunt for NFC’s No.1 playoff seed

Nothing is set in stone yet. The New Orleans Saints have clinched the NFC South, but they’re still competing for positioning in the NFL playoff picture. And so are the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. There’s plenty left to say about how the playoffs may shake out.

So here’s what to watch for, and what Saints fans should root for both on Sunday night and in Week 17:

Green Bay Packers lose twice

In one scenario, the Packers would need to lose out for the Saints to win the top seed. It would grant the Packers an 11-5 record, with the Saints only a Week 17 win over the Carolina Panthers to finish at 12-4. Not bad. Green Bay’s remaining games:

It’s not enough for the Packers to lose one game or the other. They need to lose both, or else they’d finish with the same record as the Saints. And Green Bay owns the head-to-head tie breaker, giving them an edge for the No. 1 seed.

Three-way tie at the top of the NFC

So this is more complicated. The Saints, Packers, and Seahawks would each need to finish at 12-4 for the road to the Super Bowl to run through New Orleans. That requires Green Bay to lose Week 17’s finale with the Bears, while the Seahawks must beat the San Francisco 49ers next week. And of course the Saints have to pull off their sweep of the Panthers. Because a three-way tie between New Orleans, Green Bay, and Seattle would be decided by conference records rather than head-to-head results, this gives the Saints a way to elbow their way to the top. Here’s what to hope for in Week 17:

  • Saints beat Panthers

  • Bears beat Packers

  • Seahawks beat 49ers


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