It’s the time of the year when thoughts begin to turn toward the playoffs and three NFC teams will have an opportunity to book spots in the postseason tournament this weekend.
The most straightforward scenario belongs to the team that’s currently the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Cardinals will be in the playoffs if they beat the Rams next Monday night. The win won’t make them NFC West champs, but it would give them a sweep of the Rams and a commanding lead with four weeks left to play.
Arizona could also back into the playoffs this weekend. They would also get in via a Vikings loss or tie and a 49ers loss; a Vikings loss or tie with a Saints loss or tie and a Panthers loss or tie; or with a 49ers loss paired with a Saints loss or tie and a Falcons-Panthers tie.
The Packers will clinch the NFC North with a win and a Vikings loss or tie or with a tie and a Vikings loss. They can secure at least a Wild Card by pairing a win with a Saints loss or tie and a 49ers loss or by pairing the first two results with a Rams loss and a 49ers tie.
The Buccaneers can win the NFC South if they win while the Saints and Panthers lose or tie. They can also get in the playoffs without winning the division, but it would take pairing a tie with a Panthers loss, a Saints loss, a Vikings loss, a 49ers loss or tie, and a Washington loss or tie.