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Monday, December 19, 2011
Looking at the playoff picture

By Pat Yasinskas

If the playoffs started right now, the NFC South would have two representatives.

The Atlanta Falcons would be the No. 5 seed. The Falcons and Lions both are 9-5, but Detroit would be the No. 6 seed because the Falcons won a head-to-head meeting.

The 11-3 New Orleans Saints also would be in, but we can’t really say where they’d be seeded just yet. It could be No. 2 or No. 3. But the San Francisco 49ers are 10-3 and don’t play until Monday night.

The Saints can clinch the NFC South title if they beat the Falcons next week. At the moment, the Falcons would play No. 4 Dallas in the first round.

Here’s a look at how the playoff situations stand for both conferences right now.

And here’s our playoff Machine, where you can run all sorts of possible scenarios.