The New Orleans Saints are still clinging to a small ray of hope on making the NFL Playoffs.

Yes, we understand the odds are quite stacked against them, but after yesterday's impressive 23-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints have a couple of different ways of making it to postseason play.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Julio Aguilar, Getty Images
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First, let's start with the overall NFC picture. There are a total of seven playoff spots available. Five of those are already spoken for with the following teams already clinched:

#1 San Francisco 49ers: 12-4, 1st NFC West
#2 Dallas Cowboys: 11-5, 1st NFC East
#3 Detroit Lions: 11-5, 1st NFC North
#5 Philadelphia Eagles: 11-5, 2nd NFC East
#6 Los Angeles Rams: 9-7, 2nd NFC West

The winner of the NFC South will secure the #4 seed and a first-round home game.

That could either be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons.

In Week 18, Tampa Bay plays at the hapless Carolina Panthers who are 2-14 on the season. A win and the Bucs are the NFC South Champions. A loss would make the winner of the New Orleans-Atlanta game the NFC South Champs.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Julio Aguilar, Getty Images
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Now, when it comes down to making the playoffs as a Wild Card, the Saints would need a lot of help. But that path is still pretty simple.

Here is what would need to happen for the Saints to squeeze into the playoffs as the #7 seed:

  • A Saints win over the Falcons (in New Orleans)
  • Arizona beats Seattle (in Arizona)
  • Chicago knocks off Green Bay (at Green Bay)

While unlikely, this is not totally out of the realm of possibility. The Arizona Cardinals (4-12) upset the Philadelphia Eagles last week on the road while the Chicago Bears (7-9) looked pretty good in a win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Technically speaking, six teams are vying for the last two playoff spots.

Below are the teams in the running, where they rank right now if the playoffs started today, and their playoff probability:

#4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-8, 1st NFC South (69% playoff probability)
#7 Green Bay Packers: 8-8, 2nd NFC North (60%)
#8 Seattle Seahawks: 8-8, 3rd NFC West (26%)
#9 New Orleans Saints: 8-8, 2nd NFC South (31%)
#10 Minnesota Vikings: 7-9, 3rd NFC North (3%)
#12 Atlanta Falcons: 7-9, 3rd NFC South (10%)

(The Chicago Bears are technically the #11 seed but they are officially eliminated from playoff contention.)

While we can't predict what's going to happen this weekend, we at least know one thing. The New Orleans Saints play the Atlanta Falcons at home this Sunday, January 7 at noon and you can hear the game in Acadiana on 97.3 The Dawg and 103.3 The Goat.

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