NFC playoff picture: Possible scenarios heading into Week 17

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

A final look at the possibilities that could play out in Week 17.

This is it. Week 17 decides how the playoffs will look for the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals have a slight chance of making it. They have to win their game against the San Francisco 49ers and then the New Orleans Saints have to tie or lose at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Arizona could get in with a tie if New Orleans loses.

They would enter the playoffs as the sixth seed and head on the road to play the number three seed on wild card weekend.

They would play the Eagles, Cowboys or Bears, depending on the results of other games. They would play in Philly if the Eagles win. They would go to Dallas if the Cowboys win and Packers win. They would go to Chicago if Dallas and Chicago win.

How would that be?

Well, here are the current standings:

1. Seahawks 12-3
2. Panthers 11-4
3. Eagles 9-6
4. Bears 8-7
5. 49ers 11-4
6. Saints 10-5
7. Cardinals 10-5
8. Cowboys 8-7
9. Packers 7-7-1

All nine teams still have a chance of making the postseason.

Seattle will clinch the top seed in the playoffs and home field throughout the playoffs with a win against the Rams at home. They also clinch the top seed with a 49ers loss, regardless of their game against St. Louis. If they lose and the 49ers and Panthers win, Seattle falls to the five seed.

Carolina could clinch the top seed if they win, the 49ers win and the Seahawks lose. If they win and Seattle wins, or if both the 49ers and Seahawks lose, they will be the two seed. They also clinch the two seed in a loss if the Saints lose. If the Panthers lose and the Saints win, they become the five seed.

The Eagles will be the three seed if they beat the Cowboys. If they lose, they do not make the postseason.

Dallas will be the three seed if they win and the Packers beat the Bears. Dallas will be the four seed if they win and the Bears win. They are out if they lose.

Chicago will be the three seed if they win and the Cowboys win. They will be the four seed if they win and the Eagles win. If the Bears lose, they are not in the playoffs.

Green Bay can only be the four seed. If they beat the Bears, they are the four seed. If they lose, they are out.

San Francisco could be the one, two, five or six seed. They can earn the top seed and home field throughout the playoffs if they beat the Cardinals, the Seahawks lose and the Panthers lose. If the Niners win, Carolina wins and Seattle loses, they are the two seed. A Niners win with a Seahawks and Panthers win, they remain the five seed. If they win, but Carolina loses and the Saints win, they fall to the six seed. If the Niners lose and the Saints lose, they stay as the number five. If the Niners lose, Carolina loses and the Saints win, they also drop to the six seed.

The Saints can be the two, five or six seed, or they could be out of the postseason. If they win and the Panthers lose, the Saints win the South and are the two seed. If the Saints win, combined with a Panthers win and Niners loss, they move to the five seed. If the Saints, Panthers and Niners win, New Orleans remains the six seed. If the Niners lose and the Saints lose, then New Orleans is out, as the Cardinals move into the six seed. If the Saints lose, they are still are the six seed if the 49ers beat the Cardinals.

Is that clear?

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