December 28, 2010

Panther, Saint victories on Sunday give NFC South title, #1 seed to Superdome

With their hard-hitting victory on Monday night, the 11-4 Saints cemented a playoff birth in January - at least the 5th overall seed. 

The NFC South division title and the #1 overall playoff seed are still within the Saints' reach, though unlikely.

Arguably the league's worst team, the two-win Carolina Panthers would need to go into Atlanta and defeat the Falcons.  In a game that also starts with a noon kickoff, the Saints need to beat division rival Tampa Bay in the Superdome.

Should the Falcons run up the score early against the Panthers, the Saints might pull their starters.  With the Falcons victorious at home against the Panthers, the Saints would have nothing to gain in terms of playoff seeding from a victory over the Bucs.

With a win over the Panthers, the Falcons would finish 13-3, with the NFC South title and the NFC #1 seed. 

The 9-6 Bucs can seal the sixth playoff seed by beating the Saints and then watching the 9-6 Packers and 9-6 Giants lose in 3:15pm kickoffs to the Bears and Redskins, respectively. 

The fifth seeded Saints would not get a bye, and would go to the fourth seeded team in the wildcard round.  The fourth seed team will be the winner of the NFC West.  That will be decided by the winner of the Rams-Seahawks game in Seattle, the final game of the regular season at 7:20pm on Sunday night.  The 7-8 Rams or the 6-9 Seahawks will enter the playoffs without a winning record, and with recent blowout losses to the Saints on their record.

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