The New Orleans Saints kept their playoff hopes alive on Sunday by defeating the Carolina Panthers 18-10. With the victory, the Saints improved to 8-8.

The Black & Gold got a little bit of help in regards to their playoff aspirations with Minnesota's loss to Green Bay last night. That eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention.

The path to a playoff spot is really simple now. First, the Philadelphia Eagles clinched a playoff spot with their win over Washington coupled with the Minnesota loss and San Francisco win.

Now, there remains one available playoff spot and it's down to the Saints and San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers are 9-7 and play at the Los Angeles Rams (12-4) in Week 18 while the Saints at 8-8 play on the road against the Atlanta Falcons (7-9).

To make the playoffs, the Saints need to win and have the 49ers lose. That's it.

While the Green Bay Packers (13-3) have locked up the #1 seed and a first-round bye, the last game of the season is still important for the Rams as they sit tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 12-4.

Additionally, the Cardinals (11-5) are one game behind the Rams. If the Cardinals win the last week and Rams lose, they win the NFC West.

The bottom line -- it's an important game for the Rams and that helps the Saints tremendously.

The NFL has also announced game times for all the games this weekend. The Saints-Falcons game has been moved from 12:00 pm this Sunday to 3:25 pm.

Below is the complete schedule for Week 18:

Saturday, Jan. 8

  • Kansas City at Denver - 3:30 pm
  • Dallas at Philadelphia - 7:15 pm

Sunday, Jan. 9

  • Pittsburgh at Baltimore - 12:00 pm
  • Cincinnati at Cleveland - 12:00 pm
  • Green Bay at Detroit - 12:00 pm
  • Tennessee at Houston - 12:00 pm
  • Indianapolis at Jacksonville - 12:00 pm
  • Chicago at Minnesota - 12:00 pm
  • Washington at New York Giants - 12:00 pm
  • Seattle at Arizona - 3:25 pm
  • New Orleans at Atlanta - 3:25 pm
  • New York Jets at Buffalo - 3:25 pm
  • San Francisco at L.A. Rams - 3:25 pm
  • New England at Miami - 3:25 pm
  • Carolina at Tampa Bay - 3:25 pm
  • L.A. Chargers at Las Vegas - 7:20 pm

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