The loss to the 49ers isn’t making the road to the playoffs any easier, but action from around the NFL in week 12 has certainly put the Saints in a very favorable position.
Atlanta predictably pulled out a close win against Tampa Bay; Miami somehow pulled a win out of their hat against Seattle; and Minnesota lost to Chicago.
Looking at the teams left chasing the final wildcard spot and their schedules as we come to the close of the season, New Orleans has the best shot of getting in.
The Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers look like the teams that will take the first round bye.
Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants round out the rest of the playoff picture with one spot left for one NFC hopeful.
The remaining contenders for the final playoff spot are: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5), Seattle Seahawks (6-5), Minnesota Vikings (6-5), New Orleans Saints (5-6), Washington Redskins(5-6), and Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
The Giants could win the NFC East with a win against the Redskins next weekend. A Giants win would also knock the Redskins out of the playoff race.
Minnesota faces the Green Bay Packers (twice), Chicago Bears for the second time, and the Houston Texans. I think I hurt myself when I typed this. Tough schedule; Vikings most likely out of the race.
Seattle faces Chicago next week, potential spoilers in Buffalo and against Arizona, and San Francisco to finish their schedule. If they can’t win they are out of the playoff race.
Tampa Bay will have to go through Denver, New Orleans, and Atlanta in order to make the playoffs. A very tall task to ask from Josh Freeman and company.
Dallas barely has hope of making the playoffs. They play Pittsburgh, Cincinatti, RGIII (oh and the rest of the Redskins), and New Orleans. Not looking too good there for “America’s Team.”