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Predicting the playoffs

If the season ended today, the New Orleans Saints would be the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs.

They’d host a first-round game against the No. 6 Chicago Bears. They might even be able to get a home game against Detroit or Dallas in the second round. But the Saints also would have to go on the road if they ended up playing either Green Bay or San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.

The Saints would be the NFC South’s only playoff representative at the moment. But the Atlanta Falcons are 6-4 and only a game behind the Saints. That means the Falcons are very much in the playoff picture.

That picture is starting to become clearer. With six weeks left in the regular season, it’s not too early to start talking playoffs. It’s not too early to start envisioning all of the different scenarios.

With that in mind, let me recommend that you take a trip over to ESPN’s Playoff Machine. Go over there and you can punch in any scenario you want and the machine will sort things out for you.

You might want to save the link because the Playoff Machine could be an even more valuable tool as the season goes on.