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

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

Ian Book #16 of the New Orleans Saints hands the ball off to Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Caesars Superdome on December 27, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Result: The Saints beat the Panthers to improve to 8-8. They still sit a game back of the Eagles and 49ers and need help in Week 18 to get into the playoffs.

The Carolina Panthers go on the road for an NFC South divisional matchup against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, January 2nd. Kickoff from Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana is set for 4:25 p.m. ET with the game airing on FOX. The Panthers are eliminated from playoff contention and are only playing for draft pick selection and pride. The Saints though remain firmly in the hunt.

Saints playoff picture

The playoff pictures between the AFC and the NFC couldn’t look more different. The AFC has only one team that has locked up a playoff spot, while the NFC has five teams that have. The six seed and the seven seed are up for grabs and there are currently six teams that still have a mathematical shot to make it. The Saints are currently on the outside looking in, but a win this week with some helpful losses around the conference could see them jump up to the 7-seed.

Relevant Week 17 matchups

Falcons (7-8) @ Bills (9-6)
Eagles (8-7) @ Washington (6-9)
Texans (4-11) @ 49ers (8-7)
Vikings (7-8) @ Packers (12-3)