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NFC Playoff Picture 2013: Carolina Panthers Scenarios for Week 17

December 24th, 2013 at 1:35 PM
By Jesse Collin

The Carolina Panthers clinched a playoff berth with Sunday's thrilling 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints.

However, the NFC playoff seeding is far from decided. Depending on what happens next Sunday, the Panthers could finish with the No. 1, No. 2, No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the NFC.  Here are the scenarios:

'Bank of AMerica Stadium' photo (c) 2012, Erik Cleves Kristensen - license:

No. 1 Seed

Here's how the Panthers can get the No. 1 seed:

1.      Panthers WIN + Rams WIN + 49ers WIN

It's still possible — but unlikely — for the Panthers to get the top-overall seed in the NFC, which would give them a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Panthers would have to take care of Atlanta to win the NFC South, then hope St. Louis beats Seattle and San Francisco beats Arizona, giving the 49ers the NFC West title over the Seahawks based on division record. Since the Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the 49ers, they would get the top seed in the NFC.

No. 2 Seed

Here's how the Panthers can get the No. 2 seed:

1.      Panthers WIN/TIE

2.      Saints LOSS/TIE

Carolina's win over New Orleans on Sunday put them in prime position to secure the No. 2 seed, a first-round bye and at least one home playoff game. A Panthers win/tie or Saints loss/tie guarantees Ron Rivera's team the second-overall seed in the NFC.

No. 5 Seed

Here's how the Panthers can get the No.5 seed:

1.      Panthers LOSS + Saints WIN + Cardinals WIN

With a win and Panthers loss, the Saints would take the NFC South by virtue of the division record tiebreaker. This scenario, coupled with a Cardinals win over the 49ers, would leave the Panthers — owning the head-to-head tiebreaker against San Francisco — as the No. 5 seed.

No. 6 Seed

Here's how the Panthers can get the No. 6 seed:

1.      Panthers LOSS + Saints WIN + 49ers WIN

A Carolina loss, along with New Orleans and San Francisco wins, would leave the Panthers as the No. 6 seed. In this scenario, Carolina would lose the division and finish with a worse record (11-5) than the 49ers (12-4), making Ron Rivera's team the lowest wild card seed.


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Tags: Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Football, NFL

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