If the playoffs started today, the New Orleans Saints would be the fifth seed in the NFC bracket and would travel to face the fourth seed the St. Louis Rams in the first round.
*If the Saints win one of their remaining two games (at Falcons on Dec. 27 and vs. Buccaneers on Jan. 2) they clinch a playoff spot.
*If the Buccaneers lose their road game against the Seahawks on Dec. 26, the Saints clinch a playoff spot.
*If the Buccaneers win out and the Saints fall in their final two games (putting both teams at 10-6), Tampa Bay would get a playoff spot over New Orleans. However, the Saints and Buccaneers can both make the playoffs at 10-6 in two scenarios:
1. If the Giants lose their final two games (at Packers on Dec. 26 and at Redskins on Jan. 2) and the Packers fall at home to the Bears on Jan. 2, those outcomes would put the Giants and Packers both at 9-7.
2. If the Giants win their final two games and the Eagles fall in their remaining two contests (vs. Vikings on Dec. 26 and vs. Cowboys on Jan. 2). That outcome would put the Eagles and Saints tied at 10-6 and the Saints would own a better NFC record, giving them the playoff birth.
*If the Saints win their final two contests and the Falcons also lose their season finale against the Panthers on Jan. 2, New Orleans would be the NFC's top seed.
*If the Saints split their final two games, they will be the fifth seed and face the No. 4 seed, which will be the NFC West winner.
Below are the playoff scenarios for the other NFL teams left in the playoff hunt:
* CLINCHED: New England – playoff spot Pittsburgh – playoff spo*t
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches AFC East division and homefield advantage with:
1) NE win or tie OR
2) NYJ loss or tie
Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division and a first-round bye with:
1) PIT win BAL loss
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Kansas City clinches AFC West division with:
1) KC win SD loss or tie OR
2) KC tie SD loss
Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:
1) BAL win or tie OR
2) KC loss JAX loss or tie OR
3) KC loss IND loss or tie OR
4) SD loss or tie JAX loss or tie OR
5) SD loss or tie IND loss or tie
NEW YORK JETS
New York Jets clinch a playoff spot with:
1) NYJ win or tie OR
2) JAX loss or tie OR
3) IND loss or tie
* CLINCHED: Chicago – NFC North Atlanta – playoff spot*
Atlanta clinches NFC South division and homefield advantage with:
1) ATL win or tie
Philadelphia clinches NFC East division with:
1) PHI win OR
2) PHI tie NYG loss or tie
3) NYG loss
Philadelphia clinches a playoff spot with:
1) PHI tie OR
2) TB loss or tie
Chicago clinches a first-round bye with:
1) CHI win PHI loss NYG loss or tie
NEW YORK GIANTS
New York Giants clinch a playoff spot with:
1) NYG win