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NFL Playoff Picture: Eagles Clinch Without Even Playing

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Eli Manning's four picks helped the Eagles clinch the NFC East despite not even playing.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Eli Manning's four picks helped the Eagles clinch the NFC East despite not even playing. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Despite the fact that we still have two games to play to wrap up week 16 of the NFL season, the playoff picture is getting clear. There aren't many available spots left and most of the storylines are going to center on seeding. The AFC has just one spot left and that's the AFC South winner. The NFC is a little more open with the NFC West and both wildcards technically still in play.

The top spot in the NFC is Atlanta’s to lose. The Falcons need only one win tomorrow against the Saints or the following week at home against the Panthers. Unless the entire Falcons team eats bad shellfish or tests positive for PEDs and are forced to forfeit, there’s pretty much no way they’ll lose the Panther game. However, since the Eagles hold a head to head tiebreaker over them they haven’t mathematically clinched yet.

The #2 seed is up for grabs, but the Bears control their own destiny. If they beat the Packers next week in Green Bay, they’ve got the #2 seed and a bye. They could lose and still get the #2 seed should the Eagles lose either of their next two.

The Saints appear to have the #5 seed all locked up, and by virtue of their blowout of the New York Giants the Packers are now in control of the final wildcard spot. A Giants loss or a Packer win over Chicago means they’re in. The Buccaneers are also still in the hunt, but they need to beat the Saints and have both the Packers and Giants lose. The big loser in the NFC this weekend has to be the Giants, who came in controlling their destiny and now do not.

In the NFC Worst, it’s a winner take all game next week at Qwest field when the Seahawks host the Rams. The winner gets the #4 seed and the Saints in the first round of the playoffs.