LOS ANGELES — The first 16 weeks of the 2019 NFL regular season are in the history books, Week 17 is upon us. This is the week where football jargon not used for 358 days is said over and over. We learn who controls their own destiny and who needs help to make the playoffs. Some years it seems almost everybody has a shot at the playoffs. This year very few NFC teams have possibilities. That’s our assessment of this season’s Year End NFC playoff permutations and combinations.
Five of the eight NFC Week 17 games have playoff implications.
In the NFC, only two of the four divisions have already been clinched. Virtually everything is up for grabs. The top seed and the other first-round bye are wide open. Five of the six teams have clinched playoff spots. The main mystery is seeding. Only the four seed remains open, and two teams are alive for that final spot.
The AFC playoff picture is another matter entirely.
Here is the NFC playoff picture.
1.) San Francisco 49ers (12-3):
The 49ers lead the NFC West by one game and right now are the top seed. They have clinched a playoff spot but nothing else. If they win their regular-season finale, they remain the top seed with home field throughout the playoffs. If the 49ers lose next week, they lose their division and fall to the five seed. They would then have to go on the road for a Wildcard game.
2.) Green Bay Packers (12-3):
The Packers have clinched the NFC North and are currently the two seed. If they win next week and the 49ers also win, the Packers would remain the two seed and get a first-round bye. On the other hand, if the Packers win and the 49ers lose, the Packers move up to the top seed with home field throughout the playoffs. But if the Packers lose next week, they can still remain the two seed if the 49ers and Saints also lose. If the Packers lose and the Saints win, the Packers fall to the three seed and would have to host a playoff game on Wildcard weekend.
3.) New Orleans Saints (12-3):
The Saints have clinched the NFC South but nothing more. The lowest they can be is the three seed. If they lose next week, they are the three seed and would have to host a Wildcard game. Yett if the Saints win but the 49ers and Packers also win, the Saints remain the three seed. On the other hand, if the Saints win and either the 49ers or Packers lose, the Saints move up to the two seed and have a first round bye. If the Saints win and the 49ers and Packers both lose, the Saints move up to the top seed with home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
4.) Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) —
The Eagles currently lead the NFC East by one game and are the four seed. However, they have not clinched anything. The Eagles cannot make the playoffs as a Wildcard. If they win next week, they win the division and the four seed. If they lose, they still win the division and the four seed if Dallas also loses. They would host a playoff game on Wildcard weekend. If the Eagles lose next week and Dallass win, the Eagles are out.
5.) Seattle Seahawks (11-4) —
The Seattle Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth and are currently the five seed. They have the most possibilities but cannot go lower than the five seed. They would go on the road for a Wildcard playoff game. If the Seahawks win next week, they win the NFC West and are at worst the three seed. They would have a home playoff game on Wildcard weekend. If the Seahawks win and the Packers lose, the Seahawks move up to the two seed with a first round bye. If the Seahawks win and the Packers and Saints both lose, the Seahawks would win the three-way tie-breaker and vault into the top seed with home field throughout the playoffs.
6.) Minnesota Vikings (10–5) —
The Minnesota Vikings are locked into the six seed Wildcard. They will be on the road for as long as they are win the playoffs.
7.) Dallas Cowboys (7-8):
The Cowboys are on the outside looking in. They cannot make the playoffs as a Wildcard. Their only hope is to win next week and have Philadelphia lose. If that happens, the Cowboys clinch the NFC East and are the four seed. They would host a Wildcard game. If they lose or if Philadelphia wins, Dallas is out.
Here are the NFC games with playoff implications:
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
1.) Packers 13-3
2.) Saints 13-3
3.) Seahawks 12-4
4.) Eagles 9-7
5.) 49ers 12-4
6.) Vikings 11-5
Out — Cowboys 8-8
Nobody is resting their starters. The Packers and 49ers have road games at Detroit and Seattle while the Saints have a road game at a Carolina team that has lost seven straight games.
6.) Vikings at 3.) Seahawks, 5.) 49ers at 4.) Eagles
The Packers and Saints have the first round bye.
3.) Seahawks at 2.) Saints, 5.) 49ers at 1.) Packers,
NFC Title Game: 2.) Saints at 1.) 49ers
The 49ers and the Saints played a game for the ages in New Orleans that the 49ers won 48-46. When you switch the home field, the 49ers would appear to have the advantage. Normally defense wins championships, but football is normally played in cold weather.
This year the best pinball offense would be playing in relatively warm weather in Northern California. The Saints have the experience and are hellbent on getting to the big game after being denied in spectacular fashion the last two years. The 49ers will be exhausted from going into Green Bay and winning, which used to be impossible. The Saints will hoist the George Halas NFC Championship Trophy and reach the Super Bowl. Bringing home the Vince Lombardi Trophy is very realistic.
– Headline image: NFC Championship logo. Copyright protected. Fair use in this article, which previews the playoff possibilities leading up to the NFC Championship. Use of the logo here does not imply endorsement of the organization by Communities Digital News (CDN), nor vice versa. Image accessed via Wikipedia article on topic.