December 30, 2016 / 11:20 PM / 8 months ago

Plenty at stake in Sunday's close to regular season

(Reuters) - A showdown between the Packers and Lions that brings down the curtain on the National Football League's regular season may offer the most drama, but there is much at stake in Sunday's final slate of games.

Detroit (9-6) hosts Green Bay (9-6) with the NFC North title on the line in the Sunday night game. The loser may still claim a wild card berth in the playoffs that begin the following weekend, but that depends on results earlier in the day.

The Washington Redskins (8-6-1) would claim the conference's second wild card if they beat the visiting New York Giants (10-5), who are already assured a wild card in the postseason.

Victory by the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons (10-5) over the New Orleans Saints (7-8) would assure them of a first-round bye, but a loss would open the door for the NFC West winning Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1) to claim that week off.

Seattle closes the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers (2-13).

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) still have a long shot hope to grab a wild card spot, needing a win over the Carolina Panthers (6-9) and a long string of results to fall their way.

All six playoff berths in the AFC are spoken for but the seedings are still to be decided.

The New England Patriots (13-2) would clinch the top seed and homefield advantage with a victory in Miami over the wild card Dolphins (10-5), or a loss by the Oakland Raiders (12-3) on the road against the Denver Broncos (8-7).

Oakland, playing without injured starting quarterback Derek Carr, can claim the AFC West and a first-round bye with a win, and would vault into top seed with a win and a Patriots' loss.

However, the Raiders could slip down to a wild card berth should they lose while the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) win. That scenario would give the Chiefs the AFC West title and a first-round bye.

Coaching jobs could also be affected by Sunday's results with what has come to be called Black Monday looming. The Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills have already axed their head coaches.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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