Update: The Packers beat the Bears, ending all hope for the Saints to sneak into the playoffs. Onto the NFL draft!
Update: The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers, making them the NFC South champions. The Saints are still in the running for a Wild Card berth after defeating the Falcons, and now need a Bears win and a Cardinals win to reach the playoffs.
The Saints are still in the running for either an NFC North title or a Wild Card berth as they head into their Week 18 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. If you are a Saints fan, you’ll have a few games you’ll be paying attention to as they look to improve their chances of a playoff berth.
Saints vs. Falcons
The Saints need to grab a win here to make the playoffs. There is no scenario in which they lose and still get in. Even if they win, they are not guaranteed the NFC South title, as the Buccaneers would win the tiebreaker. The Saints could still grab the NFC’s final Wild Card spot if the Bucs defeat the Panthers, but they would need a lot of help. The Saints enter as 3.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Buccaneers vs. Panthers
If the Buccaneers lose to the Panthers, the Saints will win the NFC South. However, this scenario is unlikely, as the Panthers have managed to win just two games this season. With the NFC South title on the line, the Bucs will be playing hard in this game. Tampa enters as a 5.5-point favorite.
Seahawks vs. Cardinals
If the Buccaneers win, the Saints can still get into the playoffs with a win over the Falcons and a few other outcomes. In this scenario, the Cardinals need to defeat the Seahawks for the Saints to have a shot at the seventh seed in the NFC. Saints fans should be cheering for the Cardinals this week.
Packers vs. Bears
Even if the Cardinals win, the Saints would still need one more thing to happen in the case of a Bucs victory — the Bears need to beat the Packers. This eliminates the last of the Saints’ Wild Card competition and would place them in the playoffs. The Bears are 3-point underdogs.