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NFL playoff scenarios for the New Orleans Saints in final week of season

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The New Orleans Saints have only one game left in the 2013 NFL season, and it could possibly go down as one of the biggest games in a long time. As of Dec. 26, 2013, the NFL playoff scenarios were out in full, and that meant the black and gold fans now knew what the Saints had to do against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so that the season isn't over.

Even with a record of 10-5, the New Orleans Saints are in danger of missing the playoffs, but there are a few ways they can get in.

Should the Saints win against the Buccaneers, then they will be in the playoffs. It is just that simple. Win and they're in. If that were to happen, the Saints could end up as high as a number two seed and as low as the number six seed.

SEE: Full NFL playoff scenarios for final week of 2013 regular season

Here is how things can work out if the Saints win against the Bucs.

  • If Atlanta beats Carolina, the Saints win the NFC South, get the second seed, and a first-round bye
  • If Carolina, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco win, the Saints will end up as the number six seed and play the Eagles in Philadelphia in the first round
  • If Carolina, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and Chicago win, the Saints will be the sixth seed and play at Chicago
  • If Carolina, Dallas, Green Bay, San Francisco, and Seattle win, the Saints will be the sixth seed and play at Green Bay.
  • If Carolina, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Arizona win, the Saints will be the fifth seed and play at the winner of Green Bay vs. Chicago

Now, if the Saints happen to lose against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their playoff future is out of their hands. They can still get in, and likely be the sixth seed, but they will need a bit of help.

Should the Saints tie with the Bucs, they can get into the playoffs with a loss or tie by the Arizona Cardinals. If the Saints end up losing, the need the Cardinals to lose in order to get into the playoffs.

Luckily for the Saints, the San Francisco 49ers are still fighting for a better seed and divisional title so they won't be taking the week off and resting players. The Niners will be at full power when they play the Cardinals this weekend.

With two losses in a row, the Saints have really hurt themselves in this playoff race. Many believe that a loss to the Bucs and not making the playoffs could be one of the biggest collapses in Saints history.

They may very well be right.

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