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NFL Week 13 Rooting Guide: Saints can clinch a playoff spot edition

The Saints could also get some serious help from the NFC East in the late afternoon games.

NFL: Houston Texans at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are currently the No. 1 seed in the NFC and they’re barely outpacing the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks for that one seed, but Sunday’s matchup against the Falcons presents the opportunity to, if nothing else, clinch a playoff spot with a little help.

The best part is, the Saints will know by the evening games if they’re going to get that spot. All that they need is to win while the Chicago Bears lose to the Detroit Lions, who have Darrell Bevell coaching in place of the fired Matt Patricia. There are also some scenarios that they can clinch in the event of a tie, but that’s not necessarily worth going into.

Here’s the full rooting guide for Saints fans in Week 13.

Early games

Detroit Lions (4-7) vs. Chicago Bears (5-6)

The Bears, who started the season scorching hot, struggled through the second third of the season. Saints fans should have this game on a second screen for the 1 p.m. games, and be watching out of the corner of their eyes. Never take a playoff berth for granted. Hope the Lions win this game.

Late afternoon games

Los Angeles Rams (7-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (6-5)

This game is mostly based on preference — that is to say — who scares you less. There is a situation in which the Saints face one of these teams on Wild Card Weekend. If I had my pick, I like Dennis Allen’s odds against the younger quarterback, but the thought of trying to cover DeAndre Hopkins is frightening for this secondary in its current shape. For that reason, I’d ultimately fall on hoping the Rams win, but watch this with your own biases in mind.

New York Giants (4-7) vs. Seattle Seahawks (8-3)

The Giants, full stop here. The Seahawks are right behind the Saints in the NFC, and even without crowds Lumen Field is hard to play in. No one in the NFC wants the road to go through Seattle, least of all the Saints. Hope for some breathing room as the Giants make their bizarre playoff push.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-7-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (8-3)

See above. It’s basically exactly the same situation. NFC East team weirdly in the playoff hunt plays against Saints’ toughest competitor in the conference. Root for the Eagles.