NFC Playoff Scenarios: Green Bay-Chicago and Philadelphia-Dallas Prepare for Showdowns

By Jason Lisk

Unlike the AFC, none of the divisions have been clinched as of today in the NFC. You can thank an Arizona win at the place where it is impossible to win, an implosion by everyone in the NFC North, and late touchdowns by the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers for that. Yes, today people are talking about how clutch Cam Newton is, just a few months after he could never win a close game. I’m sure it’s because he discovered the clutchness handbook.

Here are the playoff scenarios for every eligible NFC team.


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-3) vs. St. Louis: Can clinch the NFC West and the #1 seed with either a win, or one San Francisco loss. If they lose to Rams and 49ers win both remaining games, Seattle falls to the 5 seed.

CAROLINA PANTHERS (11-4) at Atlanta: clinched playoff spot, can clinch NFC South with a win, or a New Orleans loss. Can still get #1 seed with win, Seattle loss, and two San Francisco wins. If lose and New Orleans wins, are the 5 seed if San Francisco is also 11-5, are the 6 seed if San Francisco wins both, or loses both.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-4) vs. Atlanta, at Arizona: Clinch playoff spot with one more win. Can win NFC West with two wins, plus a Seattle loss. Can get #1 seed by winning West and Carolina losing. Eliminated from postseason with two losses. Can get the 5 seed by winning both, and Seattle winning, or by winning one game, and New Orleans losing both. San Francisco will be the 6 seed if tied at 11-5 with either New Orleans or Carolina for wildcard spot.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-5) vs. Tampa Bay: Clinch playoff berth with a win, or an Arizona loss. Can also clinch with a San Francisco loss to Atlanta, so long as the SF/ARI game in week 17 does not end in a tie, as they would win a tiebreaker at 10-6 over either team. Win NFC South with a win and a Carolina loss. New Orleans misses out on the playoffs if they lose to Tampa Bay, and either a) Arizona beats San Francisco, after San Francisco beats Atlanta on MNF, or b) San Francisco and Arizona tie.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-5) vs. San Francisco: Arizona makes the playoffs with a win over San Francisco, plus either a San Francisco loss to Atlanta, or a New Orleans loss to Tampa Bay. Can be the 5 seed if (a) Carolina loses, San Francisco loses to Atlanta, and New Orleans wins, or (b) San Francisco loses to Atlanta, and New Orleans loses. Arizona will be the 6 seed otherwise.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-6) at Dallas: Win the NFC East with a win or tie at Dallas. Will be the 3 seed if they win the division.

DALLAS COWBOYS (8-7) vs. Philadelphia: Win the NFC East with a win over Eagles. Will be 3 seed if Green Bay wins NFC North, or if Chicago and Green Bay tie. Will be 4 seed if Chicago beats Green Bay.

CHICAGO BEARS (8-7) vs. Green Bay: Win the NFC North with a win or tie against Green Bay. Will be the 3 seed with a win, if Dallas wins the East. Will be the 4 seed if Philadelphia wins.

GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-7-1) at Chicago: Win the NFC North with a win over Bears. Will be the 4 seed.