This is the NFL's official version of Carolina's playoff situation for this week, released today. My guess: The Panthers will already have qualified for a playoff spot before they ever play the Giants for homefield advantage and the No.1 seed in the NFC Sunday night.
To get a playoff spot -- and it's amazing that with 11 wins Carolina still doesn't have one locked up yet -- Carolina EITHER needs to win or needs EITHER Dallas, Atlanta OR Tampa Bay to LOSE this weekend.
The Cowboys play Baltimore Saturday night. Atlanta plays Minnesota Sunday at 4:15. Tampa Bay plays San Diego at 1 p.m. Sunday. None of those will be easy -- I doubt very much all three teams will win.
THE NFL'S OFFICIAL RELEASE FROM THIS WEEK SAYS:
Carolina clinches NFC South title with:
1) CAR win or tie OR
2) TB loss or tie + ATL loss or tie.
Carolina clinches a first-round bye with:
• CAR win or tie.
Carolina clinches homefield advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
• CAR win.
Carolina clinches a playoff spot with:
1) DAL loss or tie OR
2) ATL loss or tie OR
3) TB loss or tie.