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NFL Playoff Scenarios 2011: Atlanta Could Clinch A Playoff Berth, Or Just Lay Down For The Cardinals Again.

The New Orleans Saints have NOT clinched the NFC South Division - if they lose out and Atlanta wins out, the Falcons repeat as champs - but they have locked up a playoff berth of some kind. That means no matter what happens Monday night the Saints are IN. 

The Falcons are still OUT, although it's like a total statistical certainty they're going to clinch a spot eventually. It's not like huge leads in a wild card race just suddenly fizzle in a historic fashion, right? Anyway, some nerds have deciphered the exact combination of events that can guarantee an Atlanta playoff bid THIS WEEKEND. They are:

  • An Atlanta win or tie, and...
  • A Dallas loss or tie, plus a Chicago loss or tie, plus an Arizona loss or tie, or...
  • A Giants loss or tie, plus a Chicago loss or tie, plus an Arizona loss or tie

For those of you playing at home, the Cowboys are hosting the Eagles, Chicago is playing at Green Bay, the Giants are "at" the Jets, and WHAAA- WHY DOES ARIZONA MATTER? HUH? I thought Kevin Kolb was killed by Juarez Cartel months ago, anyway. So hang on here: The crappy .500 Cardinals somehow affect the fortunes of a 9-5 team?

That's a rhetorical question, nerds. Surely you've got a 13-point scenario in which the Cardinals can overtake Atlanta for the wild card but we don't want to hear that because THIS CAN'T HAPPEN TWICE, NOT EVEN TO THIS CITY, SO SHUT YOUR STUPID MATH MOUTHS RIGHT NOW. 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.