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Thursday, December 30, 2010
Saints or Falcons await NFC West winner

By Mike Sando

A quick refresher on Week 17 scenarios affecting NFC West playoff matchups:

What we know: The Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams are playing Sunday for the NFC West title and the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs. The fourth seed plays at home in the wild-card round against the fifth seed.

Scenario No. 1: New Orleans will be the fifth seed if the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers or the Saints lose to Tampa Bay.

Scenario No. 2: Atlanta will be the fifth seed if the Panthers beat the Falcons and the Saints beat the Bucs.

Note: The Saints and Falcons are both playing at home in Week 17. The Saints have two home defeat this season, against Cleveland and Atlanta. The Falcons have one home defeat this season, against New Orleans.

Conclusion: The NFC West champion will very likely face the Saints in the wild-card round. The Seahawks and Rams both lost in New Orleans this season.