Vikings clinch playoff spot; Bucs, Bears eliminated

In the last several minutes, the playoff picture in the NFC has become more clear.

The Vikings clinched the NFC North title by virtue of a Ryan Longwell 50-yard field goal to beat the Giants, 20-19, as time expired. The Vikings are the No. 3 seed.

The Panthers defeated the Saints, 33-31, clinching the NFC South title and the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a first-round bye.

The Buccaneers have been eliminated from the playoffs after a 31-24 loss to the Raiders, and the Bears were eliminated with a loss by the identical score to the Texans.

With the losses by both the Bucs and Bears, the final NFC playoff spot — the No. 6 seed — will be filled by the winner of the Cowboys-Eagles game. The Falcons had already clinched at least a playoff spot, and will now be the No. 5 seed as a wild card.

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