The NFC won 41 of the 64 head-to-head matchups against the AFC; that .641 winning percentage is the best for the NFC since going 27-12-1 in 1970, the year of the merger.
New Orleans (11-4) and Carolina (11-4) already are in the playoffs and the division championship will be decided Sunday. Atlanta, which lost the Super Bowl with a colossal collapse in February, also could qualify.
Article continues below ... All three are capable of going deep into January, or maybe even to the big game.
”Our situation is if we win, we’re in and if we don’t, you go home,” said Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. ”It’s as clear as it gets.”
Well, not exactly. Should Seattle also lose, Atlanta (9-6) would advance.
You can be sure the Panthers would enjoy sending the Falcons home early Patriots Trent Brown Jersey , and they could take the division with a victory and a New Orleans defeat at Tampa Bay (4-11).
”We don’t want three teams from the NFC South in the playoffs,” Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. ”We want two. We got to go down there and spoil their parade.”
The Panthers are 5-2 on the road while Atlanta is only 4-3 in its new home. Carolina’s defense has really come on, including 15 sacks and 10 takeaways in the last three games.
No team has a more balanced offense than the Saints, who rank fifth in both passing, thanks to Drew Brees throwing to Michael Thomas, and in rushing behind Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. Ingram (1,486 yards from scrimmage, 12 TDs) and Kamara (1,426 yards, 12 TDs) are the only teammates in league history with at least 1 Broncos Isaac Yiadom Jersey ,300 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs in the same season.
Slumping Tampa has dropped five in a row and QB Jameis Winston has lost eight consecutive starts. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick started the only games the team won during a stretch in which it dropped 10 of 12.
Arizona (7-8) at Seattle (9-6)
It would be a sixth straight playoff appearance for Seattle if it manages to advance, but the Seahawks have struggled with penalties, injuries and undisciplined play much of the season.
Russell Wilson is the first quarterback to have a winning record in each of his first six seasons. He really lights it up against Arizona, too: Wilson has thrown for nine touchdowns with no interceptions in the past four meetings.
Still, the Cardinals have won the past two meetings in Seattle, and the Seahawks uncharacteristically have three home losses this year.
Oakland (6-9) at Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
There figure to be plenty of Raiders fans on hand – remember, the franchise once called LA home – in a game the Chargers must win for a shot at the postseason. LA began the schedule 0-4, yet it could replicate what it did in 1992 with a win and Tennessee loss or tie and Buffalo loss or tie; or a win and Tennessee loss or tie and Baltimore win or tie; or a tie and Tennessee loss and Buffalo loss or tie.
Baltimore has won five of six and the one defeat was by a point at Pittsburgh. The defense is fierce, with the Ravens leading the league with 33 takeaways and ranking first with a plus-17 turnover differential. Baltimore has won four straight at home and is 59-20 at M&T Bank Stadium under coach John Harbaugh, who took over in 2008. The Ravens have won 13 of their last 14 home finales.
This could be the final game for Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who has done well against the Ravens, going 17-12. His legacy would be never winning a postseason game.
Buffalo (8-7) at Miami (6-9)
The Bills could end an almost unfathomable 17-year playoff drought – the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. Buffalo clinches with a win and a Baltimore loss; a win and a loss or tie by Tennessee and the Chargers; a tie and losses by Los Angeles and Tennessee.
Look for star RB LeSean McCoy to carry the brunt of the offense; McCoy’s 1,554 yards from scrimmage account for 34 percent of the Bills’ net yards.
Miami WR Jarvis Landry leads the NFL with 103 catches but ranks 108th at 8.7 yards per catch. He needs eight receptions to break the team record of 110 he set in 2015. He needs 105 yards to become the first Miami player with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Jacksonville (10-5) at Tennessee (8-7)
Jacksonville’s turnaround brought it an AFC South title for the first time since 1999, and now the Jaguars can see to it that their division rivals, the Titans Authentic Tarvarius Moore Jersey , fall short of a wild card. But the Jags are settled as the No. 3 seed and have nothing to gain in this one.
Tennessee has slumped down the stretch, losing three straight. Still, the Titans have won nine of the last 11 home games, and three of the last four overall against Jacksonville. Losses by Buffalo and the LA Chargers get Tennessee in.
Dallas (8-7) at Philadelphia (13-2)
It has been a special season for the Eagles, who have the NFL’s best record. But they’ll need to pursue a Super Bowl berth with backup quarterback Nick Foles, and their defense occasionally has sprung leaks.