Saints clinch NFC South title

Win and you are in as a division champion.

That’s the easy scenario for the Broncos, Cowboys and the Giants next weekend. And while Baltimore already owns at least a wild-card spot, a victory for the Ravens earns them the AFC North and a first-round bye.

Denver is tied atop the AFC North with Oakland at 8-7, with the Broncos hosting Kansas City and the Raiders at home for San Diego next Sunday. Denver has the tiebreaker, but if it loses and Oakland wins, the Broncos can’t get a wild card.

The Raiders can if both they and Denver win, as long as Cincinnati and Tennessee lose, or Cincinnati loses and the New York Jets win.

In first place in the NFC East are Dallas and the Giants, who meet at the Meadowlands. A win or a tie gives New York (8-7) the title; neither team can be a wild card.

The Ravens (11-4) swept the Steelers this year, so by winning at Cincinnati (9-6), they get the AFC North crown. Should Baltimore falter and the Steelers win, Pittsburgh (11-4) gets the division title and the bye. Both teams already own at least a wild card.

Cincinnati grabs the other AFC wild card with a victory over Baltimore, or with a loss if both the Jets and Raiders or Broncos lose.

AFC East champion New England (12-3) already has a bye, and will earn home-field advantage in the conference playoffs with a win at home against Buffalo (or a loss to the Bills if both Baltimore and Pittsburgh lose). The Ravens and Steelers both hold the edge over the Patriots for home-field advantage should they finish with the same record.

To get the wild card, the Jets (8-7) need to win at Miami while the Bengals, Titans and Raiders all lose, or the Bengals, Titans and Broncos all lose.

As for Tennessee (8-7), it needs to win at AFC South winner Houston and have one of the following three occur:

  • losses by Cincinnati and Oakland, and a win by the Jets;
  • losses by Cincinnati and Denver, and a win by the Jets;
  • losses by Cincinnati and the Jets, and wins by Denver and Oakland.

In the NFC, New Orleans clinchws the South by beating Atlanta on Monday night. The Falcons (9-6) already are assured of at least a wild card because of Chicago’s 35-21 loss to Green Bay on Sunday night that eliminated the Bears from playoff contention.

New Orleans still has hopes for a first-round bye, but must win out for a shot. Detroit claimed the other NFC wild card on Saturday.

NFC North champ Green Bay (14-1) wrapped up conference home-field advantage with its win Sunday night. NFC West winner San Francisco (12-3) gets a bye by beating St. Louis in the finale.