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Cowboys vs. Saints: New Orleans still alive in playoff chase

The Saints playoff hopes are alive ... barely.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

To the untrained eye, Sunday's game between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints might appear to be just about the Cowboys' playoff push. In the slimmest of possibilities, however, the Saints are playing for a playoff berth as well.

New Orleans just needs an abundance of help.

The Saints (6-8) first need to win their final two games over the Cowboys, who are fighting for their own playoff spot, and the Carolina Panthers, who beat the Saints in week two.

After that, it gets easy: New Orleans simply needs Dallas to lose its final game, the Saint Louis Rams to lose at least once, and the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears all to lose their final two games.

If all of that happens, the Saints would grab the NFC's final playoff after being on the best end of the series of tiebreakers in place when three or more teams are tied.

Sure, Drew Brees throws for 298 yards per game for the Saints' second-ranked passing offense. Unless the Saints can play better defensively with a unit that is worst in the NFL by allowing 433 yards per game, however, they may not need to worry about the unlikely string of events that would have to follow.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.