NFC playoff picture: Saints take sole possession of first place


The New Orleans Saints are without quarterback Drew Brees for at least two more weeks, but in their first game with Taysom Hill as the starter, everything continued to click with a dominant win over the Atlanta Fans.

Now on a seven-game winning streak, the Saints sit alone at the top of NFC with just six games to go after Green Bay and Tampa Bay each lost.

Here’s an updated NFC playoff picture with the remaining schedule for the contenders. Seven teams now make the postseason and only the top seed gets a bye week.

1. New Orleans Saints (8-2, NFC South)
Remaining games: at Denver, at Atlanta, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Kansas City, vs. Minnesota, at Carolina

2. Los Angeles Rams (7-3, NFC West)
Remaining games: vs. San Francisco, at Arizona, vs. New England, vs. New York Jets, at Seattle, vs. Arizona

3. Green Bay Packers (7-3, NFC North)
Remaining games: at Indianapolis, vs. Chicago, vs. Philadelphia, at Detroit, vs. Carolina, vs. Tennessee, at Chicago

4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1, NFC East)
Remaining games: vs. Seattle, at Green Bay, vs. New Orleans, at Arizona, at Dallas, vs. Washington

5. Seattle Seahawks (7-3, WC 1)
Remaining games: at Philadelphia, vs. New York Giants, vs. New York Jets, at Washington, vs. Los Angeles Rams, at San Francisco

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4, WC 2)
Remaining games: vs. Kansas City, Bye Week, vs. Minnesota, at Atlanta, at Detroit, vs. Atlanta

7. Arizona Cardinals (6-4, WC 3)
Remaining games: at Seattle, at New England, vs. Los Angeles Rams, at New York Giants, vs. Philadelphia, vs. San Francisco, at Los Angeles Rams

Outside looking in:

8. Chicago Bears (5-5)
9. Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
10. Detroit Lions (4-6)
11. San Francisco 49ers (4-6)
12. Carolina Panthers (4-7)
13. New York Giants (3-7)
14. Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
15. Washington Football Team (3-7)
16. Atlanta Falcons (3-7)

ANALYSIS: The Saints received a huge boost this week with the Packers and Buccaneers both losing. The loss gives New Orleans sole possession of first place in the NFC and the NFC South.

It remains to be seen whether Hill can continue to be a reliable quarterback down the final stretch of games but the Saints schedule is relatively easy. Of the six remaining games on their schedule, five of the teams currently have losing records. The only team with a winning record is the defending champion Chiefs.

New Orleans should be just fine in getting to the playoffs unless there is a complete collapse.