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How can Saints clinch a playoff spot in Week 18?

We discuss the scenarios that could see the Saints clinching a playoff spot in Week 18.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Derek Carr looks for an open receiver during the regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 31, 2023 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Update, 7 p.m. ET: The Packers beat the Bears 17-9, eliminating the Saints from playoff contention.

Update, 4 p.m. ET: New Orleans buried Atlanta in a 48-17 blowout victory on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched the NFC South title with a 9-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans can still clinch an NFC Wild Card berth, but need losses by both the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks later.

The New Orleans Saints enter Week 18 with a chance to win the NFC South division title. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Saints are tied atop the division at 8-8 heading into Sunday. The Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons while the Bucs face the Carolina Panthers in the regular-season finale. The Saints can also clinch a Wild Card spot into the NFC playoffs with some help. Let’s go over the scenarios in which New Orleans makes the playoffs.

Saints playoff clinching scenarios - Week 18

  • NO win over ATL and TB loss to CAR or tie
  • NO tie to ATL and TB loss to CAR
  • NO win over ATL; GB loss to CHI; SEA loss to ARI
  • NO tie to ATL; GB loss to CHI; SEA loss to ARI

Those are all the scenarios in which New Orleans can get into the postseason. Even if the Saints end up winning, it may not matter unfortunately. The Bucs should have an easy time in a must-win spot against the Panthers. The Packers are favored at home vs. the Bears in a win-and-in situation. Plus, the Seahawks have a slight edge over Arizona on the road. So if all the favorites win, the Saints can’t get in.

Is it impossible? Of course not. Crazier things have happened. The Packers can absolutely screw up and lose to Chicago at home on Sunday. The Seahawks also aren’t guaranteed anything. That would be the more likely scenario for the Saints getting in as opposed to the Bucs losing to Carolina.