NFL playoff picture, Week 16: One game matters more than the rest


We break down the current NFC playoff picture as the 49ers prepare for the Seahawks in Week 16.

The NFC playoff picture is slowly starting to shape up, as we have our first locked in team. The Atlanta Falcons locked up home field throughout the NFC playoffs with their Saturday Night Football win over the Detroit Lions. The Falcons were 1 1/2 games up on the 49ers for the top seed, and the Falcons win secures it.

The 49ers can still earn a first round bye as they currently hold a half game lead over the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers head to Seattle with a chance to clinch the division with a win. If the 49ers win and the Packers lose, the 49ers would clinch the bye as well. However, with a loss and a Packers win, the 49ers would suddenly find themselves a half game back of the Packers with a game to go. The 49ers would still have a chance to clinch the division title with a win over the Cardinals in Week 17, but the bye is crucial.

Here is how the NFC playoff picture currently stands heading into Week 16's Sunday matchups:

1. Atlanta Falcons: 13-2
2. San Francisco 49ers: 10-3-1
3. Green Bay Packers: 10-4
4. Washington Redskins 8-6
5. Seattle Seahawks: 9-5
6. Minnesota Vikings 7-6

7. Chicago Bears: 8-6
8. Dallas Cowboys 8-6
9. New York Giants: 8-6
10. St. Louis Rams 6-7-1

The Falcons got their game out of the way already, so they are off our rooting guide. Here is the rest of the NFC schedule for Week 16:

Saints (6-8) @ Cowboys (8-6)
Titans @ Packers (10-4)
Redskins (8-6) @ Eagles (4-10)
Rams (6-7-1) @ Buccaneers (6-8)
Vikings (8-6) @ Texans
Bears (8-6) @ Cardinals (5-9)
Giants (8-6) @ Ravens

The biggest game to track on this schedule is the Packers game. Green Bay is hosting the Titans, and while the Packers are heavy favorites, we can still keep our fingers crossed for a Titans win. I'm not holding my breath, but a Packers loss would certainly be a sweet appetizer for Sunday Night Football.

Other than that, I am also rooting for the Giants to lose. The Giants are a team I would love to not see make the playoffs. They seem like a sort of Jason or Freddy Krueger when it comes to the playoffs. Just when you think they're finished, they somehow pop back up again. Anything to get them out of the playoffs entirely would be very welcome.

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