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NFL standings, Week 16: Breaking down the NFC South heading toward Week 17

The NFC South working its way through Week 16. We break down the standings and playoff implications as we move toward Week 17.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn #21 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The NFC South is officially a wrap. The Buccaneers beat the Panthers in Charlotte in Week 16 to clinch their first division title since 2007. Last year, they went the wild card route to the Super Bowl after the then Drew Brees-led Saints won the division.

The Bucs improved to 11-4 with the win and are in the thick of the race for the No. 1 seed. The Packers have a one-game lead on the Bucs and Rams, with the Cowboys left to play and potentially join them. The Rams currently hold the No. 2 seed over the Bucs due to head-to-head win percentage. The Bucs close the season with games at the Jets and home against the Panthers. They’ll need help from the Packers and Rams if they’re going to grab the No. 1 seed.

The Falcons squeaked by the Lions in Week 16 to improve to 7-8 and somehow still remain alive in the playoff race. The 8-7 Eagles hold the final spot at No. 7, with the 7-7 Saints and 7-8 Vikings in between Philadelphia and Atlanta. The Saints will remain ahead of the Falcons with a win or loss on Monday Night Football as they hold the divisional record tiebreaker.

UPDATE: The Saints lost to the Dolphins on MNF and dropped to 7-8. Missing a sizable chunk of starters due to COVID-19 did not help matters.

NFC South

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 11-4
  2. Atlanta Falcons, 7-8
  3. New Orleans Saints, 7-8
  4. Carolina Panthers, 5-10