Detroit went from the penthouse to the outhouse in the span of five weeks. The loss of Aaron Rodgers was something they could not overcome. Oh, wait, they still had their quarterback. On November 10, six days after Rodgers injured his shoulder, Detroit won at Chicago, and Green Bay lost at home to Philadelphia. That sealed the tiebreaker for Detroit over the Bears, gave them a game lead, and also meant they would get to play the Packers, likely, without Rodgers.
As it turns out, that win over Green Bay is the only one they have had since then. As a result, Detroit has managed to go from favorite with a great tiebreaker situation, to possibly being eliminated on Sunday.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-2): Seattle clinches the #1 seed and the NFC West with one more win, or a 49ers loss. [ARI, STL]
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-4): Can win the division only if Seattle loses two and 49ers win both. Clinch a playoff spot with a win or Arizona loss. Lose tiebreaker with either New Orleans or Carolina for either the #1 seed (if win division) or first wildcard spot if tied on record. [ATL, at ARI]
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-4): New Orleans wins the NFC South and a first round bye with a win at Carolina. A loss to Carolina means they need to win week 17 and for Panthers to lose to win division (as Saints would have tiebreaker). Saints can only get #1 seed if win both, and San Francisco wins NFC West. Saints miss the playoffs only if Arizona wins both, San Francisco beats Atlanta, and they lose both. They would win any tiebreaker at either 11-5 or 10-6 with 49ers/Cardinals. [at CAR, vs. TB]
CAROLINA PANTHERS (10-4): Panthers win NFC South and a bye by winning both games, or beating New Orleans, plus a Saints loss to Tampa Bay. Can only get #1 seed at 12-4 if San Francisco wins NFC West. Panthers clinch playoff spot with one more win. Will miss playoffs if they are 10-6 and either (a) Arizona and San Francisco are both 11-5, or (b) Arizona, but not San Francisco, is also 10-6. [vs. NO, at ATL]
ARIZONA CARDINALS (9-5): Arizona needs plenty of help. They are eliminated with a loss at Seattle plus a Carolina win, before even getting to week 17. In order to reach playoffs, must either (a) win both, and have San Francisco lose to Atlanta; (b) win both, and have Saints or Panthers lose both; or (c) win one game, and have Panthers lose both. Basically, a huge climb that involves games against Seattle and San Francisco, and needing Atlanta to win a game as a big underdog. [at SEA, vs. SF]
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-6): Philadelphia wins the division with a win on Sunday Night after a Cowboys loss. If Philadelphia loses on Sunday or the Cowboys win, then the NFC East will come down to week 17 at Dallas. [vs. CHI, at DAL]
CHICAGO BEARS (8-6): Chicago wins the NFC North by winning both games. They can also win the division by beating the Packers in week 17, and having Detroit lose one more game. They can also clinch the division this week with a win plus both a Packers and Lions loss. [at PHI, vs. GB]
GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-6-1): Green Bay wins the NFC North by winning both remaining games. They can win with a loss this week and a win over the Bears only if the Bears also lose to Philadelphia, and Detroit loses one of the final two games. [vs. PIT, at CHI]
DETROIT LIONS (7-7): Detroit must win both remaining games (or tie one and end up tied with Green Bay at 8-7-1 and Chicago at 8-8). If they get to 9-7, then Green Bay and Chicago must both lose a game. They would hold the tiebreaker over Chicago at 9-7. If both Chicago and Green Bay win this week, they are eliminated. [vs. NYG, at MIN]
DALLAS COWBOYS (7-7): Dallas must win on Sunday to guarantee a showdown game at home against the Eagles in week 17 for the NFC East. A loss, combined with an Eagles win at home against Chicago, would eliminate them. If Philadelphia loses to Chicago, they are also alive to win the division next week. [at WAS, vs. PHI]
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