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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 18 if you are a New Orleans Saints fan

Week 18 is here and the New Orleans Saints are on the edge of the playoff picture. Who should Saints fans root for to help their chances?

An avid Saints fan holds signage depicting the outcome of the game following the football game between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints at the Caesar’s Superdome on December 27, 2021 in New Orleans, LA. Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sunday PM update: The 49ers have beaten the Rams, so the Saints are out of the playoff picture.

Sunday PM update: It looks like the Saints are going to hold on to beat the Falcons, but they’ll need the Rams to knock off the 49ers in overtime to get into the playoffs.

The New Orleans Saints head into Week 18 in eighth place in the overall NFC standings and they are the lone non-playoff team in the NFC that has not been eliminated from contention.

There is only one playoff berth left to be had and it will come down to the Saints and the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are currently in sixth place and the Philadelphia Eagles are in seventh place. Tiebreakers are why the 49ers or Saints will likely finish ahead of the Eagles when the playoff bracket is finally settled.

The Saints are 8-8 while the 49ers and Eagles are 9-7. The 49ers have the tiebreaker edge on the Eagles due to their head-to-head matchup. The Saints beat the Eagles, but since New Orleans did not play the 49ers, a potential tie there would move on to the conference record tiebreaker. The 49ers and Saints are currently both 6-5, but with a 49ers loss and Saints win in Week 18, the Saints would take that tiebreaker.

The Saints only chance at a playoff berth requires a win, so we’ll assume they win in considering what to root for in these other matchups.

49ers vs. Rams

This is super straight forward. The Saints need the 49ers to lose. San Francisco is a four-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Cowboys vs. Eagles

Saturday update: The Cowboys beat the Eagles, which means the Saints would be the No. 6 seed if the Saints can get into the playoffs.

This has no bearing on whether or not the Saints make the playoffs, but would implicate their seeding if they do make it. If the 49ers lose and Saints win, the Saints would be the No. 7 seed if the Eagles beat the Cowboys and the No. 6 seed if the Cowboys beat the Eagles. The Eagles are seven-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook and the team is likely to sit some starters.