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The Pittsburgh Steelers played Santa Claus for the Packers Monday night, smacking Tampa Bay 17-0 at Raymond James. That dropped the Bucs to 11-4, a game behind the 12-3 Packers.<P> Green Bay now holds the No. 2 spot in the NFC behind Philadelphia, also 12-3. Philly holds the tiebreaker with its spotless 11-0 NFC record.<P> Heading into the final week of the regular season, GB controls its own destiny for a 1st round bye, while home field advantage is still a realistic hope.

Next weekend, the Packers chances are all about New York, because two days of games at the Meadowlands will decide the NFC playoff road. Green Bay must beat the Jets there Sunday to ensure a first-round bye and at least the number 2 spot. If that happens, and the Giants -- playing for their post-season lives -- beat Philly at the Meadowlands Saturday, Green Bay would get the top spot with home field throughout the playoffs.

Even with a loss, the Packers could remain in the No. 2 position with a Tampa loss to the Bears in Champaign Sunday night.

Here is the league's official breakdown of the NFC playoff picture after 16 weeks:

NFC NORTH

Green Bay has clinched the division. The Packers can clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with:

1) GB win + PHI loss or tie, OR

2) GB tie + PHI loss.

Green Bay can clinch a first-round bye with:

1) GB win or tie, OR

2) TB loss.

NFC EAST

Philadelphia has clinched the division and a first-round bye. The Eagles can clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with:

1) PHI win, OR

2) PHI tie + GB loss or tie, OR

3) GB loss.

New York Giants can clinch a playoff berth with:

1) NYG win, OR

2) NYG tie + NO loss or tie, OR

3) NO loss.

NFC SOUTH

Tampa Bay has clinched the division. The Buccaneers can clinch a first-round bye with:

1) TB win + GB loss.

Atlanta can clinch playoff berth with:

1) ATL win or tie, OR

2) NYG loss or tie, OR

3) NO loss or tie.

New Orleans can clinch a playoff berth with:

1) NO win + NYG loss or tie, OR

2) NO win + ATL loss, OR

3) NO tie + NYG loss.

NFC WEST

San Francisco has clinched the division.


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