Scoreboard watch: Slew of games determine opponent

Five teams -- nearly a third of the NFC -- could still wind up playing the Packers at Lambeau in the first round of the playoffs Jan. 8 or 9.<p>

New Orleans, Carolina, Minnesota, St. Louis and Seattle each could land in the sixth slot depending on the outcome of Sunday's games.

No playoff positioning will be determined by the Packers' own game vs. the Bears at Soldier Field. Green Bay locked up its third consecutive North Division title and a third seed with its win in the Metrodome on Christmas Eve. The Bears were technically eliminated with last week's loss.

The games still involved in NFC seeding are Atlanta at Seattle, Minnesota at Washington, NY Jets at St. Louis and New Orleans at Carolina. All are noon (Central) starts except for the 3:05 p.m. Atlanta at Seattle contest.

Here are the scenarios that would send each possible opponent to Lambeau:

The SAINTS' only hope is for the last seed. They're in and come to Green Bay if they beat the Panthers plus the following combination or wins:

1)Seattle and Minnesota; 2)Seattle, WAshington and St. Louis; 3)Atlanta and NY Jets; 4) Atlanta, Washington, St. Louis.

If the PANTHERS beat the Saints, they have a shot at the fifth or sixth seed. Carolina needs to win to get in, but would still fall to sixth and play Green Bay with the following win combinations:

1)Seattle and Minnesota; 2)Atlanta, Minnesota and NY Jets; 3)Atlanta, Washington and St. Louis.

The VIKINGS would get a quick rematch -- this time outdoors -- with the Pack under several scenarios. The dome-dwellers can play their way out of that predicament, at least temporarily, with a road win over the Redskins. However, a Viking loss would either send them to Green Bay or keep them out altogether. Here are the winning combinations that would make Minnesota the sixth seed and bring them to Lambeau. All assume a Viking loss:

1)Seattle, St. Louis and New Orleans; 2)Seattle, NY Jets, Carolina; 3) Atlanta, St. Louis, New Orlenas; 4)Atlanta, Washington, Jets, Carolina.

Seattle and St. Louis are the only teams which can still reach as high as the fourth seed as the West division winner.

Mike Holmgren's SEAHAWKS have locked up a playoff spot and will win the division with a victory over the Falcons. On the other hand, they can end up with a case of deja vu heading to Green Bay for round one in only one combination -- a Seattle loss to Atlanta combined with wins by St. Louis and Minnesota. Any other combo gives Seattle at least a No. 5 seed.

Meanwhile, the RAMS must win to get in, but can even with their division with a little help. Scenarios that send St. Louis to Lambeau are a Rams win combined with wins by Seattle, Washington and Carolina.

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