And here's how, according to the NFL's official playoff scenarios:
Carolina clinches a playoff spot with:
1) CAR win + DAL loss or tie OR
2) CAR win or tie + ATL loss or tie OR
3) CAR tie + DAL loss + PHI loss or tie OR
4) ATL loss + DAL loss + WAS loss or tie OR
5) ATL loss + DAL loss + CHI loss or tie OR
6) ATL loss + PHI loss + WAS loss or tie + CHI loss or tie.
So this could most easily happen if Carolina beats Denver at 4:15 p.m. Sunday AND either Dallas loses to the Giants Sunday night OR Atlanta loses to Tampa Bay at 1 p.m.
Either way, it could be some immediate gratification Sunday for Carolina fans.