The Panthers clinched their first playoff spot since 2008 after defeating the Saints 17-13 in a torrential downpour at Bank of America Stadium yesterday afternoon, but their playoff seeding has yet to be determined because they still need either one more win or another Saints loss to clinch the NFC South Crown and a guaranteed home game in the playoffs.
While the Panthers are certainly setting their sights on the coveted #2 seed in the NFC, there's still an outside chance that they can grab the #1 seed and force the rest of the NFC to go through Charlotte in order to make it to the Super Bowl. It's highly unlikely that the Panthers will be able to claim the top seed, but there is a scenario in play, and it is as follows:
1. Carolina wins against Atlanta
2. San Francisco wins its final two games (vs. Atlanta, at Arizona)
3. Seattle loses to St. Louis
If this scenario plays out, San Francisco will win the NFC West due to their tiebreaker over Seattle. Seattle would be the #5 seed due to being a Wild Card team, and Carolina would be the #1 seed due to owning the tiebreaker over San Francisco thanks to their 10-9 victory back in Week 10.
What this means is we all need to be 49ers fans for the next two weeks and also hope the Rams can knock off the Seahawks to give us the top spot in the playoffs. On the other hand, winning in Atlanta and clinching the #2 seed isn't too shabby of a consolation prize.