Published: Nov. 19, 2019 at 01:32 p.m.
Updated: Nov. 19, 2019 at 02:39 p.m.

Which two NFC teams will end up with first-round bye in 2019 playoffs?

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With six weeks to go in the 2019 regular season, there's an extremely tight race for positioning in the NFC playoff race. Here's how the top six seeds shake out as of today:

1) San Francisco 49ers, 9-1
2) Green Bay Packers, 8-2
3) New Orleans Saints, 8-2
4) Dallas Cowboys, 6-4
5) Seattle Seahawks, 8-2
6) Minnesota Vikings, 8-3

The teams holding the top two seeds will meet on Sunday, when the 49ers host the Packers. So, which squads will finish the regular season in the Nos. 1 and 2 slots, locking down a first-round bye in the postseason?

Let's debate!

Favorable remaining schedules a boon for Packers, Saints
The two NFC teams with the best chance to earn a postseason bye are the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. They have favorable remaining schedules (only two games apiece against teams that currently have winning records). The 49ers have the best record in the NFC right now, but they face a gauntlet to close out the regular season with games vs. the Packers, Ravens, Saints, Falcons, Rams and Seahawks still ahead. Going 4-2 during that stretch seems like a best-case scenario, but I'm not going to rule out the possibility of them losing most -- or even (gulp) all -- of those games. Minnesota has an outside shot at the bye, but I'm not as confident about its chances given the upcoming schedule, and the same goes for Seattle.
Sean Payton, Pete Carroll have their teams playing the best down the stretch
I see the Saints finishing as the top seed in the NFC for the second straight season. Sean Payton's squad is the most complete team in the conference right now. His players and staff are battle-tested and have a ton of experience. Seattle is starting to play its best football on both sides of the ball heading into the final six games. Russell Wilson continues to perform at an MVP level, the Seahawks have a quality run game and Jadeveon Clowney is setting the tone as a disruptive player up front for the defense.
NFC West teams miss out on byes, likely to play on Wild Card Weekend
Given how tight the standings are at the top of the NFC, you have to look closely at schedules and matchups down the stretch to give this question a proper answer. With that in mind, I think the Saints and Packers will clinch the byes. The 49ers and Seahawks are dangerous teams, but the NFC West is extremely tough. Both teams have at least two division games left to play, including one against each other in Week 17. I'm guessing we'll see the NFC West pair playing in the wild-card games.
Saints, Packers will earn valuable postseason bye
I'm taking the Saints and Packers. The Saints have a big advantage in playing only one other top NFC team down the stretch (the 49ers in Week 14). The Packers should win at least four of their final six and they very well could go 6-0 to close out the season. I think it's as simple as that.
Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson help secure first-round byes for Pack, 'Hawks
The way the NFL schedule is laid out, the top seeds in the NFC might not be decided until Week 16 or 17. I really think the Packers could clinch the first-round bye with a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16 -- their toughest game of the final month. The final spot will come down to the Saints and Seahawks, and while the Saints are playing good football right now, the Seahawks have the luxury of trotting out the probable MVP every week. He knows what's on the line, and I don't see Russell Wilson letting a chance to clinch home-field advantage slip away.
Saints, Seahawks nab coveted bye
This feels like a pure guess, and I wish I could count on my Magic 8-Ball to give me the answers to questions like this one. Right now, when looking at the standings and the upcoming schedules, I'm taking New Orleans and Seattle. Both will face their toughest opponents down the stretch at home with the Saints hosting the 49ers in Week 14 and the AFC South-leading Colts in Week 15, while the Seahawks host Minnesota in Week 13 and the 49ers in Week 17. Plus, the Saints and Seahawks boast proven quarterbacks who play some of their best football when it matters most.
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