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NFL playoff picture: What does Falcons-Saints mean for NFC standings

The Falcons face the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Head coach Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons speaks with head coach Dennis Allen of the New Orleans Saints before the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints play the second half of their rivalry series in Week 18 to close out the 2023-24 NFL regular season. Falcons and Saints fans have a heated rivalry, and that should make for a fun Sunday with so much on the line.

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET in New Orleans and the Saints are a field goal favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Falcons beat the Saints at home 24-15 in Week 12.

Falcons playoff picture

The Falcons are 7-9. They are in third place in the NFC South and 12th place in the overall NFC standings. They are a game back of the Saints and the Buccaneers in the division and their only chance of earning a playoff berth is by winning the division. They would clinch the NFC South with a win over the Saints and a Bucs loss to the Panthers.

Saints playoff picture

The Saints are 8-8 and have two opportunities to reach the postseason. They are tied with the Bucs in the NFC South, but trail the common games tiebreaker and thus are in second place. The Saints can clinch the division title with a win and a Bucs loss or it, or with a tie against the Falcons and a Bucs loss. A Saints win and a Bucs win means Tampa Bay claims the division.

New Orleans is in ninth place in the overall NFC standings. They are tied with the Packers and Seahawks, but trail both teams due to worse conference record. The Saints can clinch a wild card berth with a win, a Seahawks loss or tie against the Cardinals, and a Packers loss or tie against the Bears. They can also clinch with a tie and losses by the Seahawks and Packers.