We broke down the NFC playoff picture on Sunday night. Based on some reaction we heard after the Saints win, there remains some confusion about the remaining scenarios. So let’s clear a few things up.
1. Yes, the Bucs are still alive. They are essentially third in line for the No. 6 seed in the NFC behind the Packers and Giants. Tampa needs to win in New Orleans and hope the Packers and Giants both lose to get in the playoffs.
2. The Giants just need a Packers loss and a win in Washington to get in. The Packers are in with a win. They could also make with a loss if the Giants and Bucs also lose.
3. The Saints can be no lower than the No. 5 seed. They could climb all the way to No. 1 if the Falcons and Bears lose. We’d assume the Saints would play all their starters, but the Bucs could benefit from some scoreboard watching. Let’s say the Falcons are up 20 points at halftime against Carolina. Will the Saints consider pulling Drew Brees?
4. The Saints win also keeps the Bears alive for the No. 1 seed. But it seems like a waste of time for anyone to worry much about what happens if the Zombie John Fox Panthers wins in the Georgia Dome.
5. Here’s an oddity: If the Giants make the playoffs, there will be a Giants-Eagles rematch in the Wild Card round in Philadelphia. That’s because the Giants can only get in if the Bears beat the Packers, clinching the No. 2 seed for Chicago and pushing the Eagles to No. 3.
6. That seems to about cover it. The Eagles need to win Tuesday night to stay alive for a bye. Stay dry today.