Week 15 NFC playoff picture (after Sunday's games)

CREATED Dec 11, 2011 - UPDATED: Dec 19, 2011

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GREEN BAY - The following describes the NFC's playoff scenarios as of 3:17 p.m. Sunday, following the noon games.  These will most assuredly be changes after the rest of Sunday's games, and we'll update them for you later.

Check out more on the NFC playoff picture from Jeff Falconio's blog, "The Falcon's Eye View"

Team in control of their home field destiny (1 seed):
Green Bay Packers (13-1)

The Packers have a magic number of one to clinch home field for the NFC playoffs.  

That means that just one Packers win or 49ers loss (Monday vs Pittsburgh) means the road to Super Bowl XLVI goes through Lambeau Field.

Team in control of their destiny for a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs (2 seed):
San Francisco 49ers (10-3)

The 49ers have a magic number of three to clinch that week off: a combination of three wins and/or New Orleans Saints (11-3) losses.

That's because the 49ers own the conference tiebreaker advantage.

The 49ers take on Pittsburgh Monday night.

Team clinching at least a three seed: New Orleans Saints (11-3)

The New Orleans Saints won the NFC South after beating Minnesota 42-20, and can still gain that number two seed.

Teams in control of their destiny for the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs: the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) and New York Giants (7-7).

The reason that both Dallas (who beat Tampa Bay Saturday night) and the Giants (who lost to Washington Sunday) each have their destiny in their control? 

They play each other twice in the final four weeks, with the first meeting last Sunday night turning into a Giants' 37-34 win in Jerry Jones' overgrown sandbox.

If the Giants win the season finale between these two teams, they earn the tiebreaker.

If both teams run the table going into their week 17 tussle at the Meadowlands, it's winner-take-all for the NFC East.

If they end up tied in both overall record and head-to-head, the next tiebreaker is division record.

That tiebreaker could also be up in the air, since each team also has another division game besides their head-to-head games.

There is also too much yet to be determined in the common games or conference record tiebreaker to show one team clearly ahead of the other.

Teams in control of their wildcard destiny:
the Atlanta Falcons (9-5) and Detroit Lions (9-5)

The Falcons and Lions both control their destiny in the NFC wildcard chase, with Atlanta owning the tiebreaker on Detroit for the five seed.

Atlanta upped its record with a 41-14 destruction of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

Detroit produced a near-miraculous comeback to defeat the Oakland Raiders 28-27 on Sunday.

Who else is alive in the playoff race, but needs help?


- Seattle Seahawks (7-7) who beat Seattle 38-14 Sunday.  (Still in race for wildcard)
- Chicago Bears (7-7) who lost to Seattle 38-14 Sunday.  (Still in race for wildcard)
- Arizona Cardinals (7-7) who upended Cleveland 20-17 in overtime.  (Still in race for wildcard)
- Philadelphia (6-8) who blew out the N.Y. Jets 45-13.  (Still in race for NFC East)