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NFC South standings, Week 18: Division up for grabs headed into finale

The New Orleans Saints ruined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hopes of clinching the NFC South after defeating Tampa Bay on New Year’s Eve. Tampa remains on top of the division, but now there’s a lot to play for in the final week of the season.

Coming into Week 17, it seemed as if the Buccaneers would defeat the Saints based on each team’s trajectory. The Saints put together one of their better games of the season and saved their playoff hopes for another week. With just a little help, the Saints could surprisingly win this division. Atlanta could also win the division. Here’s how the NFC South stacks up going into Week 18:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Division record: 3-2

Conference record: 6-5

Points differential: +14

Next game: Week 18 at Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints (8-8)

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Division record: 3-2

Conference record: 5-6

Points differential: +44

Next game: Week 18 vs. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons (7-9)

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Division record: 3-2

Conference record: 4-7

Points differential: -21

Next game: Week 18 at New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers (2-14)

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Division record: 1-4

Conference record: 1-10

Points differential: -171

Next game: Week 18 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire