- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We’ve got all the playoff scenarios over on our NFL Nation Blog, but I wanted to break out the NFC South here.
Let’s run through the entire list of official clinching scenarios the NFL sent out this afternoon.
Let’s start with the Falcons, who have more ways and more things to possibly clinch than the Saints and Buccaneers.
Atlanta claims the NFC South title if it wins or ties its final game with Carolina. The Falcons also would clinch the division if New Orleans loses to or ties Tampa Bay. A win or a tie also would give the Falcons the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. But they also could lose and get in with either of the following scenarios:
A New Orleans loss or tie, plus a Chicago loss or tie, plus Philadelphia loses or ties one of its two remaining games.
A New Orleans loss or tie, plus a Chicago win, plus two wins by Philadelphia (in this scenario, Atlanta would win a strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Philadelphia). The Falcons also could clinch a first-round bye even if they lose to the Panthers if New Orleans loses or ties and Chicago loses or ties or New Orleans loses or ties and Philadelphia loses or ties one of its games.
The scenarios are a lot less complicated for the Saints. If they win and Atlanta loses, the Saints claim the NFC South title and the No. 1 seed. If they don’t win the NFC South, the Saints already are in with a wild-card berth.
At 9-6, the Bucs are trying for a wild-card spot, but they’re going to need some help. There are two scenarios that will get Tampa Bay into the playoffs.
A Tampa Bay win, plus a loss or tie by the Giants and a loss or tie by the Packers.
A Tampa Bay tie, plus a loss by the Giants and a loss by the Packers.