NFC Playoff Scenarios: Packers Earn Bye with Win

Steve Dykes

Need a breakdown of how the NFC playoff picture will shake out? Look no further.

We have one game left to solidify the NFC playoff picture, so let's take a few minutes to break down the possibilities for each team in the NFC's picture. Due to the unlikely nature of a tie, I'm going to ignore ties as potential results. Also, it makes this much more difficult to break down and explain. We'll start with the sure things, as four NFC teams have clinched playoff berths.

Atlanta Falcons (13-2): the Falcons have clinched the top seed in the NFC, and therefore home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers (11-4): the Packers are currently in line for the #2 seed. They can fall no further than the #3 seed.
#2 seed: Win vs. Vikings OR 49ers and Seahawks losses
#3 seed: Loss vs. Vikings AND 49ers win or Seahawks win

San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1): they lead the NFC West division by a half-game over Seattle, and are a half-game behind Green Bay for the #2 spot. They have clinched at worst the #5 seed as a wild-card.
#2 seed: Win vs. Cardinals AND Packers loss
If Green Bay wins:
#3 seed: Win vs. Cardinals OR Seahawks loss
#5 seed: Loss vs. Cardinals AND Seahawks win

Seattle Seahawks (10-5): they can also finish no lower than 5th in the NFC.
#2 seed: Win vs. Rams AND Packers loss AND 49ers loss
If Green Bay wins:
#3 seed: Win vs. Rams AND 49ers loss
If San Francisco wins, Seattle will be the 5th seed.

Now we move on to teams that have not secured a playoff spot yet.

Washington Redskins (9-6): They have not clinched anything yet. The winner of the Redskins-Cowboys game wins the NFC East, but the Redskins can still make it as a wild-card with a loss if they get a lot of help.
#4 seed: Win vs. Cowboys
#6 seed: Loss vs. Cowboys AND Vikings loss AND Bears loss

Dallas Cowboys (8-7): They will either win the division with a win in Washington on Sunday night or they're out of the playoffs. It's that simple.
#4 seed: Win vs. Redskins

Minnesota Vikings (9-6): They currently lead the race for the last wild-card spot. Like the Redskins, they would need some serious help to make the playoffs with a loss.
#6 seed: Win vs. Packers OR Bears loss and Giants loss and Redskins win

Chicago Bears (9-6): A win will help, but they'll need some assistance from their rivals up north:
#6 seed: Win vs. Detroit AND Vikings loss

New York Giants (8-7): They need a win and help.
#6 seed: Win vs. Philadelphia AND Vikings loss AND Bears loss AND Redskins win over Dallas

That's your NFC playoff picture in a nutshell. Confused yet?

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