Playoff scenarios: Saints are back in charge of the NFC South _lowres

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) talk after an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. The Saints won 31-15. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

After beating Chicago, New Orleans (6-8) has sole possession of first place in the NFC South, a half-game ahead of Carolina (5-8-1) and a game ahead of Atlanta (5-9).

If New Orleans beats Atlanta and Tampa Bay to close the season, the Saints will clinch the division title and will have a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Other scenarios:

--- If New Orleans beats Atlanta and loses to Tampa Bay, the Saints will clinch the division if Carolina loses to Cleveland or Atlanta. The Falcons would be eliminated from contention after losing to the Saints.

--- If New Orleans loses to Atlanta and beats Tampa Bay, the Saints will win the division if Carolina loses to Cleveland and then beats Atlanta.

--- If New Orleans splits its last two games and Carolina beats Cleveland and ties Atlanta, the Panthers would win the division based on a better divisional record than the Saints (3-2-1 vs. 3-3).

The teams’ remaining schedules

Saints: at Atlanta, at Tampa Bay

Atlanta: at New Orleans, Carolina

Carolina: Cleveland, at Atlanta