After a sloppy 31-19 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints still have some work to do to secure their best possible position in the playoffs.
With all but the Monday night game complete, here's how the playoff picture was shaping up in the National Football Conference with two weeks left to play.
1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (12-2)
Week 15 result: 34-29 victory over New York Giants
Current status: Clinched the NFC East Division title. Has a one-game lead over Minnesota for the conference's No. 1 overall seed, which comes with a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
2. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-3)
Week 15 result: 34-7 victory over Cincinnati
Current status: Leading NFC North division by three games. Trails Philadelphia by a game for the No. 1 overall seed and has a one-game lead for the conference's No. 2 overall seed, which comes with a first-round bye.
3. LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-4)
Week 15 result: 42-7 victory over Seattle
Current status: Holds one-game lead over Seattle in NFC West. Slotted for No. 3 seed. Holds tiebreaker over Saints because of head-to-head advantage (Rams defeated New Orleans, 26-20, on Nov. 26).
4. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-4)
Week 15 result: 31-19 victory over New York Jets
Current status: Tied for first place in the NFC South but holds the lead because of head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over the Carolina Panthers (New Orleans swept the season series over Carolina, 2-0). Holds No. 4 overall seed.
Division race: If New Orleans wins its final two games (vs. Atlanta Falcons), it will finish the season 12-4 and win the NFC South, no matter how the other teams fare. If New Orleans defeats Atlanta in Week 16, and the Panthers lose at home to Tampa, the Saints will win the NFC South. The Saints need a win in its final two games to clinch a playoff berth.
If the Saints lose to to the Falcons, they can still a playoff berth if Seattle and Dallas were to tie.
Key games down the stretch: The Falcons-Saints rematch is on Christmas Eve ... Atlanta hosts Carolina in both teams' season finale.
5. CAROLINA PANTHERS (10-4)
Week 15 result: 31-24 victory over Green Bay
Current status: Holds No. 5 overall seed, which is the conference's first wild card spot. The Panthers can clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie against the Buccaneers. They can also clinch a playoff berth if Dallas and Seattle were to tie.
6. ATLANTA FALCONS (9-5)
Week 15 result: 24-21 victory over Tampa Bay
Current status: Holds No. 6 overall seed, which is the conference's second and final wild card spot. The Falcons can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Saints. They can also clinch a playoff berth with a tie against the Saints, along with a Dallas and Seattle tie and a Detroit loss or tie.
OTHERS IN THE HUNT
Seattle Detroit Lions (8-6), Seahawks (8-6), Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
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