The Saints' dominating win over the visiting Colts on Monday night didn't change much in the NFC playoff picture ... yet.
New Orleans entered the game as the No. 3 seed in the NFC, which is where it remains after beating Indianapolis like a drum. At 11-3, the Saints have the same record as current Nos. 1 and 2 seeds Seattle and Green Bay, as well as No. 5 seed San Francisco.
The 49ers, of course, clinched a playoff berth on Sunday despite losing to the Falcons in the final seconds. While that defeat bumped San Francisco out of the top spot, the 49ers would still finish as the No. 1 overall seed in the conference if they win their final two remaining games.
On one hand, 49ers fans should have been rooting for the Saints on Monday night, as their win put San Francisco three games up on Seattle in a potential strength-of-victory tiebreaker, which could come into play if the Seahawks beat the Cardinals and the Rams beat the 49ers in Week 16, combined with a San Francisco victory in Seattle in Week 17.
On the other, one couldn't blame those fans if they were rooting against the Saints, as their victory kept the door open for New Orleans to finish as the No. 1 overall seed, depending on other outcomes. In that event, the NFC path to the Super Bowl would lead through the Superdome, and the 49ers know quite well just how difficult of an environment that can be to play in.
Your head spinning yet?
If not, just wait. Assuming the favorites win in Week 16, there are going to be some insanely complex tiebreaking scenarios going into the final week of the regular season. Have a calculator handy.
Here's the full NFC playoff picture heading into Week 16:
- Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
- Green Bay Packers (11-3)
- New Orleans Saints (11-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
- San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-4)