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Destination: Tampa Bay: Nov. 24

Division winners earn the top four seeds in each conference, and two teams get wild-card berths. The contenders with division and conference records:

NFC
If the playoffs started today:
Team (Div.) All Div. Con.

1. NY Giants (E) 10-1 3-0 7-0
2. Tampa Bay (S) 8-3 2-1 7-2
3. Arizona (W) 7-4 4-0 5-3
4. Chicago (N) 6-5 3-1 5-4
Wild card 
5. Carolina 8-3 2-2 5-3
6. Washington 7-4 2-2 6-3
In the hunt 
Atlanta 7-4 2-2 5-3
Dallas 7-4 2-2 5-4

Division-by-division
NFC SOUTH:
Tampa Bay’s win and Atlanta’s victory over Carolina not only moved the Bucs to the top of the division, but also into the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seed. Atlanta is just outside a wild-card spot because of Washington’s better conference record (6-3 vs. 5-3).
NFC EAST: The Giants maintain a three-game lead in the division and a solid hold on the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Washington’s win kept it in the final wild-card spot, thanks to a better record versus common opponents than Dallas and a better NFC record than Atlanta.
NFC NORTH: Chicago has the temporary division lead, tying Minnesota at 6-5 and owning the tiebreaker because of its win over the Vikings. Green Bay can reclaim the division lead with a win tonight, however, thanks to a better head-to-head record among the three contenders.
NFC WEST: Even with their loss to the Giants, the Cardinals didn’t lose ground in the division race because of San Francisco’s loss to Dallas. Arizona clinches the division if it beats Philadelphia on Thursday.

AFC
If the playoffs started today:
Team (Div.) All Div. Con.

1. Tennessee (S) 10-1 4-0 7-1
2. Pittsburgh (N) 8-3 4-0 7-1
3. N.Y. Jets (E) 8-3 3-1 6-3
4. Denver (W) 6-5 2-2 3-5
Wild card 
5. Baltimore 7-4 3-1 6-3
6. New England 7-4 3-2 5-4
In the hunt 
Indianapolis-x 6-4 2-2 5-2
Miami 6-5 2-2 5-4
Buffalo 6-5 0-3 4-4
x-not including late game

Division-by-division
AFC EAST:
The Jets’ win over the previously unbeaten Titans kept them a game ahead of the Patriots in the division race and on the heels of the Steelers for the No. 2 playoff seed. New England moved into the No. 6 seed pending the outcome of Sunday night’s Colts game.
AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh’s win over the Bengals on Thursday night preserved its hold on the division lead. Baltimore’s 6-3 conference record assures a wild-card slot, for now.
AFC SOUTH: The Titans took their first loss of the season, but they still have a solid lead in the division and will be tough to catch for the No. 1 playoff seed. The Colts needed a win Sunday night to retain one of the wild-card spots. A Colts loss moves the Patriots into a wild-card spot and leaves Indianapolis a game behind the Ravens and New England.
AFC WEST: Denver’s surprising loss to the lowly Raiders didn’t cost it the division lead. But the Chargers are still hanging around.
Times Staff

Destination: Tampa Bay: Nov. 24 12/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 1:03pm]

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