Five of six seeds in NFC playoffs to be determined

Packers have three possible first-round playoff opponents


GREEN BAY – The NFC playoff picture is pretty clear.

Except where it isn't.

The six playoff teams have been determined heading into Week 17, but only one of the six seeds is locked in – NFC East winner Washington at No. 4.

The rest of the positions will shake out on Sunday, so here's a breakdown of the possibilities:

No. 1 and 2: Carolina (14-1) and Arizona (13-2) will be the top two seeds and have first-round byes, but the order isn't certain. The Panthers can earn the top seed by beating the Buccaneers. Should the Panthers lose, the Cardinals can steal the No. 1 spot by beating the Seahawks, because Arizona would have the better conference record (one of the Cardinals' losses was to the AFC's Steelers).

In either case, both of these teams are waiting to see who their opponents will be in the divisional round.

No. 3: This will be decided Sunday night as Green Bay (10-5) hosts Minnesota (10-5). The winner gets this spot and a home game on wild-card weekend. The loser hits the road for its playoff opener.

No. 5 and 6: One of these two spots will be filled by Seattle (9-6). The other will be the Vikings or Packers.

If it's Green Bay, which would mean a Packers loss to the Vikings, the Packers are No. 5 and the Seahawks are No. 6, regardless of Seattle's result vs. the Cardinals. If it's Minnesota, Seattle is the No. 5 with a win over Arizona, but the Seahawks drop to No. 6 if they lose.

All that means the Packers have three possible opponents on wild-card weekend.

If Green Bay beats Minnesota to get the No. 3 seed, the Packers would host the No. 6 seed. That would be the Vikings if Seattle wins or the Seahawks if Seattle loses.

If Minnesota beats Green Bay, the Packers as the No. 5 seed would travel to No. 4 Washington, and the Vikings would host the Seahawks in the other wild-card matchup.

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