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Playoff scenarios at the moment

As we approach halftime of the late-afternoon games, here are the playoff scenarios I've come up with, using ESPN.com's magical Playoff Machine and confirmed by people smarter than me.

The Chicago Bears will be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals.

If the Bears beat the Cardinals, and they're leading 14-3 at the moment, they'll need a victory next Sunday against the Detroit Lions combined with a loss by the Minnesota Vikings to the Green Bay Packers. They would also need one of these scenarios to occur as well:

  1. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins next Sunday to win the NFC East.

  2. The New York Giants lose one of their remaining games, either to the Baltimore Ravens today or the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.

The Vikings will clinch a playoff spot in any of these four scenarios:

  1. They beat the Packers next Sunday and the Giants lose either to the Ravens or the Eagles.

  2. They beat the Packers and the Cowboys defeat the Redskins next Sunday.

  3. They beat the Packers and the Seattle Seahawks lose their final two games, tonight against the San Francisco 49ers and next Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

  4. They lose to the Packers but the Giants lose both of their final two games, the Redskins beat the Cowboys and the Bears lose either today or next Sunday to the Lions.

For those asking, yes, the Packers will be alive for the NFC's No. 2 seed next Sunday no matter what happens in Sunday night's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. The Packers need to win one more game than the 49ers do over the final two weeks of the season.