The New Orleans Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, but they need five other games to go their way to reach the playoffs. They won’t win the NFC South after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers outlasted the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 to claim the division title.
New Orleans’ path to the playoffs starts with the Minnesota Vikings beating the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon, followed by a lot of luck in the Week 18 schedule:
Week 17: Minnesota Vikings over Green Bay Packers
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The Saints need the Vikings to win this game, putting the Packers at 7-9. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. CT. I understand if you can’t root for Minnesota in good conscience, so think of it as pulling against Aaron Rodgers if that makes it more palatable.
Week 18: New Orleans Saints over Carolina Panthers
Of course the Saints need to win this game. That’s easier said than done after the Panthers upset them earlier this season, but they should have a good chance at ending their season with a win at home.
Week 18: Dallas Cowboys over Washington Commanders
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Root for the Cowboys here (or against Washington if that’s more to your liking). A Dallas win would eliminate Washington from the wild-card race and take another team out of New Orleans’ way.
Week 18: Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions
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Pull for a Lions loss to close out the season. They would be the final team in New Orleans’ way. Detroit has played really well under Dan Campbell this season and they’re right in the thick of the playoff picture.
Los Angeles Rams over Seattle Seahawks
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Seattle is in the mix, too — so pull for the Rams to knock them off in their regular season finale. That’s going to be tough without Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and many other talented players on injured reserve.