The Atlanta Falcons are coming off their statement win of the season, a 34-0 drubbing of the New York Giants and now find themselves in prime position in the NFC playoff picture. It's pretty simple if you're a Falcons fan: win on Saturday against the Detroit Lions and the Falcons clinch the first overall seed in the NFC playoffs and home field advantage.
A loss to the struggling Lions though will leave the Falcons watching the prime time game on Sunday and one of the early games as well. The San Francisco 49ers are just a game and a half back of the Falcons with two to play and the Green Bay Packers are two back as well. Both teams would need to win to combine with an unlikely Falcons loss for Atlanta to still be worried about the top spot heading into the final week of the season.
There's a big log jam for the two Wild Card spots in the NFC. A Seattle Seahawks win over the 49ers clinches a playoff birth while four teams sit at 8-6 with the Minnesota Vikings currently sitting in the No. 6 spot in the NFC. In the AFC, a Cincinnati Bengals win over the Pittsburgh Steelers would not only clinch the playoffs for the Bengals but for the Indianapolis Colts as well.
Here's a look at the big games this weekend. You can find the full schedule at SI.com.
Saturday, Dec. 22: Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Sunday, Dec. 23: Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m., CBS
Sunday, Dec. 23: Minnesota Vikings vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Dec. 23: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS
Sunday, Dec. 23: New York Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens, 4:25 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Dec. 23: San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m., NBC