Falcons are first NFC team to clinch

Thanks to DeSean Jackson, Matt Dodge and the improbable finish at New Meadowlands Stadium between the Eagles and Giants, the Falcons are the first NFC team to clinch a playoff berth. 

The Falcons wouldn’t have known, though, because at the exact same time, they were on the opposite side of the country, losing 7-0 in Seattle. The Falcons entered the weekend needing a win, or a loss by the Giants, Bears or Packers to clinch a playoff spot.

With the score tied at 31 with 14 seconds remaining and the game set to go into overtime, Jackson muffed a punt from Dodge, but then split the Giants’ coverage up the middle and returned it 65 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was shown screaming at Dodge, the team’s rookie punter, after the play, presumably because the line-drive kick was short and down the middle of the field.

As is the case late in the NFL season, the play in New Jersey had a far-reaching impact, officially putting the Falcons in the playoffs. 

Here’s a look at all of the Week 15 clinching scenarios.

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