Sunday update: The Bucs beat Arizona on Sunday to improve to 7-8. The Bucs can clinch the NFC South with a win in Week 17 over the Panthers. If they lose to the Panthers next week, Tampa would need a win over the Saints in Week 18 to clinch a playoff berth. New Orleans faces playoff elimination in Week 17.
Saturday update: The Saints are now 6-9 on the season after defeating the Browns 17-10 in Week 16. They largely control their own destiny in the NFC South, as they play the Panthers in the final game of the season. They’ll need to upset the Eagles in Week 17 to have a chance of maintaining their playoff hopes but there’s a possibility they can lose that contest and still have a shot depending on other results.
The New Orleans Saints travel north to face the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve. The Saints find themselves on the verge of playoff elimination, but also still have a shot at winning the NFC South. It’s a wild world in that division. Saints-Browns kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and New Orleans is a 2.5-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Saints playoff chances
Odds to win NFC South: +2000
Remaining opponents: Week 16 @ Browns, Week 17 @ Eagles, Week 18 vs. Panthers
The Saints are a game back of Tampa Bay in the NFC South and have arguably the least control over their fate for the time-being. They’re tied with Carolina and Atlanta, but only have the tiebreaker edge over Atlanta. They are the only one of the three without a game remaining against the first place Bucs. However, the Panthers could end up in first place for the Week 18 matchup, so the Saints could still have some control going into that game. But a lot has to happen between now and then.
New Orleans will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss and a Bucs win. If the Saints win on Saturday, it leaves the door open a crack for the time-being.
Current playoff standings
1. Buccaneers, 6-8
2. Panthers, 5-9
3. Saints, 5-9
4. Falcons, 5-9
6. Giants, 8-5-1
7. Commanders, 7-6-1