The NFC South will likely be the last division left this season. And the team he sends to the playoffs probably won’t have a winning record after going 1-3 in Week 15.
The New Orleans Saints were the only team in the division to win on Sunday, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 21-18, leaving a tangled NFC South picture that may not be clear for at least 17 weeks.
It’s a race that will go down for all the wrong reasons, as the Carolina Panthers’ 24-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15 is a prime example of a division that can’t get out of control. road
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The division is on pace to become the first to produce two playoff teams with all-time losing records. Only three teams have reached the postseason with a losing record, excluding the strikeout-shortened 1982 season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) are the only team that can win with a winning record, and they must win to avoid becoming the fourth team in the series after blowing a 17-0 lead and falling behind 34-23. to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
The Washington Commanders went 7-9 in 2020, the Panthers went 7-8-1 in 2014, and the Seattle Seahawks were first in 2010 at 7-9.
The Seahawks and Panthers each won one playoff game in those years, while the Commanders lost 23-21 to the Buccaneers in the first round.
The Buccaneers remain the top seed in the division with three weeks remaining and will make the playoffs if they win their last three games (Arizona, Carolina, Atlanta).
However, there is still a path to the playoffs for the other three teams (all of whom are 5-9) as well;
Here are the other playoff scenarios via ESPN Stats and Information Research:
The Panthers, who fired coach Matt Rhule on Oct. 10 after a 1-4 start, have the tiebreaker advantage over the Saints and Hawks. If they win their last three games (vs. Detroit, Tampa Bay, New Orleans), they will beat the Buccaneers and win the division.
The Falcons will be eliminated from wild card contention if they lose next week, but could stay alive in the division race. The Falcons must win their last three games (at Baltimore, vs. Arizona, vs. Tampa Bay); they also need the Buccaneers to lose their last three games, the Panthers to lose to the Saints and Lions, and the Saints to lose to the Browns and Eagles.
The Saints could make the playoffs at 7-10 (as long as they beat the Panthers). They need the Buccaneers to lose their last three games, the Panthers to lose to the Lions, and the Falcons to lose to either the Ravens or the Cardinals.