The New Orleans Saints saw almost everything break their way on Sunday. All they need now is to knock off the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football and keep it moving. Here’s where they stand.
Right now, the Saints have the first seed in the NFC. That’s great, but they haven’t locked it up long term. To do that, they’ll need to win two of their last three games. The Los Angeles Rams were competing for that first spot, but a shocking Sunday Night Football loss to the Philadelphia Eagles dropped them a game behind New Orleans. If the Saints can just win two of their last three outings, the NFC playoffs will run through New Orleans.
As for the second seed, right now it’s L.A.’s to lose. The Chicago Bears are within punching distance, just a game behind the Rams, and they also own a tiebreaker over L.A. If Chicago wins out and the Rams trip up again, Chicago could upgrade to a playoff bye just like the Saints.
The Dallas Cowboys were also upset by the Indianapolis Colts in a 23-0 disaster. They will probably hold onto the division but are flirting with danger at 8-6. Both Philadelphia and Washington are 7-7, so there’s a chance the Cowboys could lose the NFC East.
As for the wild card spots, right now it’s the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. It won’t be easy but the door is open for either Philadelphia or Washington to steal a playoffs spot if they manage to win out. The Panthers have longer odds at 6-7, but the Saints can sink their hopes with a win tonight. The Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were eliminated.
So, the TL;DR:
NFC Playoff Picture
1. New Orleans Saints 11-2, clinched NFC South
2. Los Angeles Rams 11-3, clinched NFC West
3. Chicago Bears 10-4, clinched NFC North
4. Dallas Cowboys 8-6
5. Seattle Seahawks 8-6
6. Minnesota Vikings 7-6-1
In the Hunt
7. Philadelphia Eagles 7-7
8. Washington 7-7
9. Carolina Panthers 6-7