Week 17 scores, playoff race: Falcons clinch final spot, Saints win NFC South

The NFC playoff picture is complete. On Sunday, the field was set. The Falcons are the last team in, the Seahawks are on the wrong side of the bubble, the Saints are the Kings in the South, and the Rams are the third seed.

Let's start with the Falcons, because they -- unlike the Saints -- actually earned what they got on Sunday. The Falcons are heading back to the postseason and they punched their ticket on Sunday by doing the one thing they failed to do a year ago: hold onto a lead. So much for that Super Bowl hangover.

On Sunday, the Falcons beat the Panthers 22-10, which means they're heading to the playoffs with a 10-6 record, and the Seahawks, who lost to the Cardinals 26-24 at home on Sunday, will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The Falcons got the win they needed, but the Panthers didn't. The Panthers entered their matchup against the Falcons with a chance to win the NFC South. They just needed to beat the Falcons and the Buccaneers to beat the Saints. They got the Saints loss they needed, as the Saints dropped a last-second nail-biter against the Buccaneers, 31-24, but they didn't get the win they needed. The Panthers ended up submitting a pathetic offensive performance. As a result, the Saints won the NFC South over the Panthers.

And so, the NFC playoff picture is set. And so are the match-ups for Wild Card Weekend:

  • Panthers (5) at Saints (4)
  • Falcons (6) at Rams (3)

For a look at the final AFC playoff picture, click here. And you can relive all the action from the hectic final slate of games with our live-blog below.

Live blog

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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