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Packers-Lions winner could be No. 1 seed, loser will be No. 6 seed (Shutdown Corner) ( today ) Courtesy of
The NFL did a pretty good job scheduling this Week 17. The NFC picture is still jumbled, at least among the five teams that have made it in already. The sixth playoff team will be the winner of the Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons on Sunday; whoever wins will be the NFC South champion and fourth seed. Four of the five NFC teams that have clinched a playoff spot are alive for the No. 1 seed, and the fifth could still get a important bye. There's a wide range of possible outcomes for each of the NFC's five locked-in playoff teams. The matchup between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers sums up the madness. The winner will clinch a bye, and with some help could be the No. 1 seed and be two home wins from a Super Bowl. The loser will fall all the way to No. 6 and have to play at the Dallas Cowboys or Seattle Seahawks on wild-card weekend. So yeah, there's a little bit at stake when the Lions and Packers square off. Clearly home-field matters a ton in the NFC. Seattle is 23-2 at home since the start of the 2012 season, including playoffs. The Packers are 7-0 at home this season and have won their games at Lambeau Field by an average of 20.7 points. The Lions are 7-1 at home. The Cowboys are just 4-4 at home, but they probably would rather avoid playing at any of those stadiums as long as they can. Here's how the seeding race shakes out according to the NFL (we're not including all of the scenarios involving ties): No. 1 seed: Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay and Detroit are alive for it, which is pretty wild with just one week remaining. The Seahawks get the top seed with a win. Green Bay gets it with a win and a Seattle loss vs. St. Louis. Arizona gets it with a win over San Francisco, a Seahawks loss and a Packers loss. The Lions need to win and hope Seattle and Arizona both lose. No. 2 seed: Still important, because of the bye. Seattle can't get this exact spot: The Seahawks are either No. 1 or No. 3 if they win the NFC West. The Packers or Lions would clinch at least a bye with a win. The Cowboys can still get the No. 2 seed if the Seahawks and Cardinals both lose, because in that scenario the Seahawks would win the NFC West and would move down to the third spot. The Cardinals get this spot if they win, the Seahawks lose and the Packers beat the Lions.  No. 3 seed: Most likely it will be Dallas, but it would be the Seahawks if they lose and the Cardinals lose too. No. 4 seed: Winner of Carolina at Atlanta on Sunday. No. 5 seed: Whoever finishes in second place in the NFC West gets this spot, and the much more enticing assignment of playing a NFC South winner with a losing record.  No. 6 seed: The loser of the Packers-Lions game will be slotted here. Again, what a big swing for the teams involved in that NFC North championship game. The winner spends wild-card weekend relaxing and waiting for a home playoff game, and the loser gets to go play at the Cowboys or Seahawks. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab Yahoo! Mon, Dec 22
 
Seahawks, Packers, Cowboys, Steelers in playoffs (The Associated Press) ( today ) Courtesy of
Now that they've qualified for the postseason, there's no relaxing for the Packers, Lions, and Steelers. Yahoo! Mon, Dec 22
 
Jones' return helps Falcons eliminate Saints, 30-14 (The Associated Press) ( today ) Courtesy of
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Julio Jones needed only two offensive snaps to dispel any notion that he'd be merely a decoy for the Atlanta Falcons, too hampered by his injured hip to be truly effective. Yahoo! Mon, Dec 22
 
Panthers keep on running in 17-13 win over Browns (The Associated Press) ( today ) Courtesy of
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Panthers have rediscovered their running game. Yahoo! Mon, Dec 22
 
Falcons eliminate Saints 30-14, setting up Panthers showdown (Yahoo Sports) ( yesterday ) Courtesy of

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) is tackled by New Orleans Saints defensive back Pierre Warren (42) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A tenacious play by two backup defenders on Jimmy Graham's catch at the goal line - and a little help from a disputed ruling - helped save Atlanta's postseason hopes and ultimately sank the Saints.


Yahoo! Sun, Dec 21
 
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Sean Renfree Duke
 
 
 
 
 
Matt Ryan Boston College
 
 
 
 
 
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