NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Saints don't play Sunday, but that doesn't mean their season isn't on the line.
A 5-8 record entering week 15 of the NFL season means the Saints need to win every game left on their schedule to make the playoffs this year, but it also means plenty of other teams need to lose.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-5) VS. CHICAGO BEARS (5-8)
The Saints need the Vikings to lose. Not just today, but ideally every Sunday for the rest of the year. At 8-5, the Vikings would only need one more win to outrank the Saints for an NFC Wild Card spot, which brings us to the other 8-5 team in the NFC...
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-5) VS. CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-10)
This seems much less likely. The Seattle Seahawks have been red hot with QB Russell Wilson throwing for 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions in their last four games.
Meanwhile, Cleveland will turn to young QB Johnny Manziel to see what he is capable of now that their post-season hopes are thoroughly dashed. That's a match up Seattle's secondary (ranked 5th in the league) is looking forward to.
If both the Vikings and the Seahawks win this week, the Saints' post-season hopes go from slim to none before they even take the field Monday night. However, if one (or both!) teams lose, the Saints can still grab the other wild card spot. Then again, there are plenty of other teams that could get in the way...
THE STRUGGLING NFC EAST
The New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles all stand at 6-7.
The Saints only hold the tie-breaker with New York. That means we'll need the Giants to lose at least one more game this year. Their match-up against the undefeated Carolina Panthers this week could be a good place to start.
Then, the Saints need Washington and Philadelphia to lost at least two of their three final games. Washington takes on the Buffalo Bills (6-7) this week and Philadelphia takes on the NFC leading Arizona Cardinals (11-2). Both games could very easily swing in the Saints favor.
If all that happens Sunday, then that brings us to...
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-8) vs. DETROIT LIONS (4-9)
Nothing that happens around The League matters to the Saints if they lose Monday. Or next Sunday for that matter.
The Saints have to win every game for the rest of the season to make the playoffs no matter what other teams do.
And if everything goes according to plan this week, Week 16 in the NFL doesn't get any simpler....