2013 NFL Playoffs

Updated Playoff Scenario After Tonight's Big Win for Atlanta Falcons

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22:  Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates a first quarter touchdown with Michael Palmer #81 while playing the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Thomas GaliciaContributor IIDecember 23, 2012

The Atlanta Falcons' 31-18 victory over the Detroit Lions have officially given the Falcons the number one seed in the NFC with a record of 13-2.

With Atlanta now firmly atop the NFC, what does this mean for the rest of the postseason heading into Sunday?

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of the the NFC's playoff picture going into a Week 16 slate filled with implications.


Atlanta Falcons (13-2, NFC South Champions, Home Field Advantage Throughout the Playoffs).

That does it for Atlanta, now all they need to do is wait for the rest of the NFC playoff picture to sort itself out to see who would wind up traveling to Atlanta for a divisional playoff matchup.


San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1, First Place in the NFC West, Second Seed).

The San Francisco 49ers just need a win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night to clinch their second consecutive NFC West championship. In order to clinch the second seed in the NFC, they will need not only a win over the Seahawks, but also a Green Bay Packers loss to the Tennessee Titans.

If the 49ers beat Seattle on Sunday, then beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, they will also clinch the second seed in the NFC and an important bye week in the Wild Card Round.


Green Bay Packers (10-4, NFC North Champions, Third Seed).

The Packers already clinched the NFC North thanks to a victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 15. They will need to win out the rest of the season along with the 49ers losing to the Seahawks on Sunday night or against Arizona in Week 17 in order to move up to the second seed and clinch a bye week in the Wild Card round.


Seattle Seahawks (9-5, Second Place in the NFC West, Fifth Seed).

Seattle still has a shot not only at the NFC West, but also at the second seed in the NFC. In order to claim the West, they will have to win their final two games of the season (including Sunday night against the 49ers), and the 49ers would then have to also lose in Week 17 to the Cardinals.

To clinch the second seed, Seattle will not only have to win out, but they also need for the Packers to lose at least one out of their last two games.


Washington Redskins (8-6, First Place in the NFC East, Fourth Seed).

Currently Washington has it as easy as you can get: win out and the Redskins are NFC East champions. With a win on Sunday—along with losses by the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings—Washington will clinch a playoff berth.


Minnesota Vikings (8-6, Second Place in the NFC North, Sixth Seed).

The Vikings are officially out of the running for the NFC North title but, as of tonight, are still the sixth seed in the NFC.

However, they're not in total control of their destiny, as in order to make the playoffs they will have to win out and will need the Giants and Bears to lose at least once.


New York Giants (8-6, First Place in the NFC East, out of the Playoffs as of Now).

Despite being tied with the Redskins and Cowboys atop the NFC East, the Giants are still currently out of the playoffs due to having the worst divisional record of the three.

A loss against Baltimore effectively knocks them out of contention for the East unless both Washington and Dallas loses. However, if the Giants win out, they will need for either the Cowboys or Redskins to lose on Sunday or have both teams tie in their Week 17 matchup.

If the Giants do win out, they will clinch the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs, but knowing their history of playoff runs, this is probably right where they want to be.


Chicago Bears (8-6, Third Place in the NFC North, out of the Playoffs as of Now).

In a season where the Bears started off 7-1, there's a good chance that even if they win out, they will miss the postseason. In order to get in, they will have to not only win their remaining games, but also need the Giants and Vikings to lose at least one out of their final two.

If the Bears lose one out of their last two games with the Cowboys losing once and Giants and Vikings lose twice, they could still clinch the final playoff spot.


Dallas Cowboys (8-6, First Place in the NFC East, out of the Playoffs as of Now).

Dallas will need a victory over the New Orleans Saints in order to remain in the NFC playoff conversation and set up a potential winner-take-all Week 17 game with Washington.

As long as they win out, they will be headed to the playoffs as NFC East champions due to having a better divisional record than the New York Giants.

Dallas still has a faint shot at a wild-card berth if they lose one out of their last two games: The Giants would need to lose once and the Bears and Vikings lose twice.


St. Louis Rams (6-7-1, Third Place in the NFC West, out of the Playoffs as of Now).

Here's the longest of long shots, as the St. Louis Rams will need a lot of help in order to get into the playoffs.

They will have to win their final two games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. Both games are on the road.

Then they will need the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and two of the three NFC East teams still in contention to lose twice and finish 8-8 so that the Rams, who would finish 8-7-1, could finish a half game ahead of the rest of the field, clinching the final wild-card spot.


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