NFC Playoff Scenarios
1. EAGLES (12-2)
Clinched NFC East, first-round bye
REMAINING GAMES: vs Raiders, vs Cowboys
They need to win one of their final two games to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They could actually clinch the 1-seed before playing Oakland on Christmas, if the Vikings lose to the Packers on Saturday.
(All pictures from USA Today Images)
2. VIKINGS (11-3)
Clinched NFC North
REMAINING GAMES: at Packers, vs Bears
The Vikings need at least a split of their final two games to earn a first-round bye. None of the 4-loss teams in the NFC could catch them by winning out.
3. RAMS (10-4)
Lead NFC West
REMAINING GAMES: at Titans, vs 49ers
The Rams can clinch their division with one more win. There's also a small chance they could miss the playoffs entirely by losing their final two games. Looking at their schedule, that doesn't seem likely.
4. SAINTS (10-4)
Lead NFC South
REMAINING GAMES: vs Falcons, at Buccaneers
New Orleans clinches the NFC South with two wins to close out the season. That would make the Saints 12-4, but they have very little chance at a first-round bye, after losing head-to-head to both the Vikings and Rams.
5. PANTHERS (10-4)
2nd place, NFC South
REMAINING GAMES: vs Buccaneers, at Falcons
This NFC South race will be fantastic these final two weeks. Carolina can clinch a playoff berth with one more win. The Panthers can also win the NFC South if they win out and the Saints lose a game. And the Panthers could completely miss the playoffs if they lose twice. The way they're playing now, it's doubtful, and they'll be a tough out once the postseason begins.
6. FALCONS (9-5)
3rd place, NFC South
REMAINING GAMES: at Saints, vs Panthers
Like Carolina, Atlanta is in the postseason with one more win. In fact, for a team sitting at the 6-seed, the Falcons are in the driver's seat. They have head-to-head wins over the three teams chasing them. And Matt Ryan and company can still win the NFC South by winning their final two games.
7. LIONS (8-6)
2nd place, NFC North
REMAINING GAMES: at Bengals, vs Packers
After a 3-4 start, the Lions have a real shot at finishing 10-6. But will it be enough? They need the Falcons to lose out to make the postseason. Remember the overturned, game-ending TD by Golden Tate way back in Week 3 against the Falcons? That controversial call will likely be the main reason if the Lions don't get in.
8. SEAHAWKS (8-6)
2nd place, NFC West
REMAINING GAMES: at Cowboys, vs Cardinals
The Seahawks making the playoffs were a scary proposition two weeks ago after they handed the Eagles a 24-10 defeat. But two straight losses since leave them with some heavy lifting just to get into the tournament. To make the playoffs, the Seahawks must win out while the Falcons lose twice and the Lions lose at least once.
9. COWBOYS (8-6)
2nd place, NFC East
REMAINING GAMES: vs Seahawks, at Eagles
They have Ezekiel Elliott back, but the Cowboys face some serious long odds to get into the playoffs. They face the exact same scenario as the Seahawks (needing two wins, two Falcons losses and one Lions loss). Seattle and Dallas play on Sunday in a pre-playoff playoff game.