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NFL standings, Week 17: Breaking down the NFC South heading toward Week 18

The NFC South working its way through Week 17. We break down the standings and playoff implications as we move toward Week 18.

Antonio Brown #81 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in huddle with Tom Brady #12 during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on January 02, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

UPDATE: The Saints beat the Panthers and are a game back in the wild card race.

Heading into Week 17, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had clinched the division and the New Orleans Saints were the only other team that was still vying for a playoff spot. The Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons have both been mathematically eliminated.

The Buccaneers had a surprising Week 17 contest against the New York Jets, to say the least. Not only were they down for the majority of the game, wide receiver Antonio Brown seemingly quit in the middle of the third quarter and walked off the field. Quarterback Tom Brady led a game-winning drive and they escaped with a W to stay in the hunt for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

For the Saints, they took on the Panthers, needing a win. At 7-8, a win could keep them in the hunt for the No. 6 or the No. 7 seed in the NFC. A loss and they would need help from the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers to have a chance to sneak into the No. 7 seed in Week 18. The Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons in their final regular-season game next week.

NFC South

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 12-4
  2. New Orleans Saints, 8-8
  3. Atlanta Falcons, 7-9 — eliminated
  4. Carolina Panthers, 5-11 —eliminated