NFC playoff picture, Week 17: Divisions remain unsettled

In the NFC, Week 16 provided ample clarity in the playoff picture, with all but one spot being clinched. For the remaining postseason vacancy, the NFC South will be forced to crown a champion on Sunday, filling out the field. However, plenty of seeding is still up for grabs. No team is locked into a seed, and only the Dallas Cowboys have clinched their division.

Here is how the playoff picture looks with one game remaining:

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-4) *
2. Detroit Lions (11-4) *
3. Dallas Cowboys (11-4) **
4. Carolina Panthers (6-8-1)
5. Arizona Cardinals (11-4) *
6. Green Bay Packers (11-4) *

** – Division winner
* – Clinched playoff berth

In the hunt

7. Atlanta Falcons (6-9)

With a win over the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks will earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

If the Lions can beat the Packers at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991, they will be crowned NFC North champions and earn a first-round bye as the second seed. With a loss, Detroit would be either the No. 5 or 6 seed. Should Arizona and Seattle lose to the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis respectively, the Lions could be the top seed with a win.

Dallas is virtually locked into the third seed in the NFC. The Cowboys can’t drop, but could move up to the No. 2 seed with a win over the host Washington Redskins should the 49ers beat Arizona and the Rams topple Seattle.

For both Carolina and Atlanta, the winner of their head-to-head matchup at the Georgia Dome on Sunday determines who the No. 4 seed is, and who is home for the winter.

Arizona can only win the NFC West and clinch home-field throughout the playoffs by beating San Francisco at Levi’s Stadium with Logan Thomas at quarterback, and getting a Seattle loss. Otherwise, the Cardinals are locked into the No. 5 seed and will travel to either Carolina or Atlanta.

Green Bay will earn a bye week with a victory over Detroit. The Packers could be the top seed with a win and losses by Seattle and Arizona. If the Packers lose, they will be the No. 6 seed and likely visit Dallas in the Wild Card round.

About Matt Verderame

Matt Verderame, 26, is a New Yorker who went to school at the frozen tundra of SUNY Oswego. After graduating, Verderame has worked for Gannett and SB Nation among other ventures.