NFL Playoff Picture: Which Teams Will Survive in the Crowded NFC Race?
The NFL playoff picture is nearly set, but there are a number of pivotal games left to be played in the NFC.
Some teams have already clinched a playoff berth, but they're still jostling for higher seeds and positioning with one first-round bye still up for grabs.
However, there are a plethora of bubble teams still battling it out to insure that their team advances to the postseason.
What are the consequences and outcomes for each team after Week 17 of the regular season draws to a close?
The Seattle Seahawks have a huge divisional game against the St. Louis Rams for their final game.
However, they may be without Matt Hasselbeck, which would significantly hurt their chances of making it in.
If they somehow found a way to win the game, they would take the NFC West and grab a spot in the playoffs. They would perhaps be the worst team to ever make it into the playoffs.
St. Louis Rams
It truly is amazing that the Rams are currently in control of the NFC West with a playoff berth only a win away. This comes on the heels of a one win season.
They have Sam Bradford to thank for bringing the team so far.
However, the Rams are not out of the woods just yet. They need to beat the Seattle Seahawks on the road in order to insure a spot in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For Tampa Bay to even be in a position to play for a playoff berth in the final week of the regular season is impressive.
However, they'll need a lot of help to grab the final Wild-Card spot.
First, they have to topple the reigning Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints. Then, they need both the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants to lose their final games.
New York Giants
The New York Giants had an opportunity to take the lead in the NFC East, but they had a colossal meltdown. Then, they had a chance to lock up a playoff berth with a win against the Green Bay Packers, and they were manhandled on the road.
Now, they need to win against the Washington Redskins and for the Packers to lose to have a chance of grabbing the final Wild-Card spot.
They enter Week 17 with a number of key injuries that won't make it any easier on them.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay put themselves into the driver's seat for a playoff berth when they routed the New York Giants at home.
They face their division rivals, the Chicago Bears, in their final game. If they win, they're in. If they lose, they can still get in as long as New York and Tampa Bay both lose their final game.
The Packers already lost to the Bears earlier this season, and Lovie Smith said he has no intention of resting his starters.
If they advance, they'll be pitted against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round.
New Orleans Saints
When the New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, they locked up a spot in the playoffs. They even put themselves in a position to take over the NFC South, but that is unlikely with the Falcons playing against the worst team in the NFL for their final game.
New Orleans will be matched up against the winner of the game between the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks for the NFC Wild-Card round. They should have no trouble advancing past either team.
The Eagles blew their chance to at least put themselves in contention for a first-round bye when they were beaten at home by the Minnesota Vikings.
However, they already clinched the NFC East after the New York Giants lost in Week 16.
They will match up against the No. 6 seed in the NFC.
Chicago already has the NFC North and a first-round bye locked up for the playoffs.
If they were to beat the Green Bay Packers in their final game and New Orleans and Atlanta somehow lost their final games, they could also clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Atlanta Falcons have already clinched a playoff berth, but the No. 1 seed and home field advantage are no longer a lock after they lost to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
Luckily, they have the Carolina Panthers up next, which they should be able to win with their eyes closed.
With a win or losses by the New Orleans Saints or Chicago Bears, they will finish with the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.