Saints do their part vs. Panthers, eye help from Seahawks to earn 1st-round bye

While some of the NFL’s top playoff contenders found themselves in Week 17 battles, the New Orleans Saints throttled the Carolina Panthers, 42-10 on Sunday to secure a 13-3 regular-season finish.

It was a convincing win, but it wasn’t enough to clinch a first-round playoff bye despite the impressive record. Thanks to rallying from a 17-3 halftime deficit to beat the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers also secured a 13-3 record and one of the two first-round byes in the NFC thanks to a tiebreak edge over the Saints.

Saints’ 1st-round fate lies with Seahawks

The second bye remains up for grabs and hinges on Sunday night’s clash between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West.

Drew Brees and the Saints still need help to earn a first-round bye. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Saints can’t win No. 1 seed

If the 49ers win, they win the division and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with the Packers as the No. 2 seed. If the Seahawks win, they secure the division, but the Saints will have the edge to earn the coveted first-round bye.

But with the Packers owning the tiebreak edge over the Saints, they will have earned the No. 1 seed in the case of a 49ers loss.

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