With Bengals and Broncos wins, Carolina can do anything from here and still have the #1 overall pick.
So, with that said, here's what they need to do:
1. Root for Atlanta on MNF: Atlanta would go to 13-2. They're two games ahead of the Eagles, the other team that hasn't played - a win by both means Atlanta has the #1 seed. Chicago is 11-4, and can't catch Atlanta unless Atlanta loses both games. A #1 seed means sitting as many players as you can if you're Atlanta, though it looks like they're guaranteed a #3 seed as of now anyway. That may be enough to sit players.
2. Beat Atlanta - a win won't matter to anyone realistically, but it's a good sendoff for John Fox, and all the youth that fought hard this year. It puts a positive start to the upcoming year, and who doesn't want to win?
Plus, fuck Atlanta.
3. Let John Fox Walk.
Thanks for the memories, John. You're free to go - there's no reason to hold this out. You wanted to go, we want to move on. I hope you get what you want, and I hope you go to the AFC. Thankfully, there are no NFC South openings.
4. Watch the January 3rd Orange Bowl.
The Orange Bowl is neat. Growing up, my father got to play in that stadium.
More importantly, it's where our potential head coach and quarterback are playing. Those of you that haven't paid any attention? May as well start. The hottest prospect at QB and head coach are there.
5. Pursue Harbaugh mightily - he recently said that Stanford's athletic director "mis-spoke" when suggesting Harbaugh was going to sign a $3 mil a year extension. There are obstacles - staying, especially if Luck decides to stay first, or the Michigan job - so beat both to the punch. Stanford has even been nice enough to set a starting point for negotiation.
6. Hope that getting Harbaugh pushes Luck over the edge, getting him to declare.
That's all we need, for him to declare. We'll take care of the rest.
So all that will happen between tomorrow and January 15. It'll be a massively intense 18 days, and one that could line up right for many championships.
Or we could ride Brian Schottenheimer and Cam Newton to years of mediocrity and scandal. Who knows.