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NFL playoff picture entering Week 17: Both No. 1 seeds, seven more playoff spots could be clinched

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Here's how the NFL playoff picture looks going into Week 17 of the 2021 NFL season:

AFC

y – 1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4), AFC West champions: How it started? Three wins in their first seven games. How it's going? Winners of eight in a row, the best ongoing streak in the league, and first team in conference to secure a playoff spot – Bolts' stunning loss at Houston giving K.C. division crown for sixth consecutive season. Chiefs can clinch No. 1 seed with a win Sunday combined with a Titans defeat. Remaining schedule: at Bengals, at Broncos

2. Tennessee Titans (10-5), AFC South leaders: One more win or Colts loss allows Tennessee to repeat as division champion. Week 7 blowout of Kansas City gives Titans shot at claiming No. 1 seed if they can ultimately match Chiefs' record. Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins, at Texans

3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6), AFC North leaders: They're one win from securing division crown for first time since 2015. Cincy's 7-3 record in conference games keeps them ahead of Buffalo. Remaining schedule: vs. Chiefs, at Browns

4. Buffalo Bills (9-6), AFC East leaders: If they win out – a probability given their schedule, especially in light of Sunday's win at New England – Bills will retain division crown. They'll secure playoff berth Sunday with a win and a Ravens loss or a win plus losses by both the Chargers and Raiders. Remaining schedule: vs. Falcons, vs. Jets

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5. Indianapolis Colts (9-6), wild card No. 1: Winners of nine of their past 12, they must finish with a better record than the Titans, who swept Indianapolis, to snatch AFC South. But beat the Raiders on Sunday, and Indy is into Super Bowl 56 tournament. Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, at Jaguars

6. New England Patriots (9-6), wild card No. 2: Just a few weeks ago, they were atop conference. But after surrendering first place in AFC East, they must stop bleeding. That happens Sunday if they beat the Jags and either the Dolphins or Raiders lose, scenarios that restore the 21st century's dynasty to postseason competition. Remaining schedule: vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins

7. Miami Dolphins (8-7), wild card No. 3: Improbable climb continues, their seven-game winning streak moving them above .500 for first time since Week 1 – and up four spots in AFC field courtesy of Monday's victory. Fins' 5-5 record against AFC teams helps, and they hold common games tiebreaker over Chargers and head-to-head defeat of Baltimore. Remaining schedule: at Titans, vs. Patriots

As of Monday night, the Dolphins can celebrate being a projected AFC playoff squad.
As of Monday night, the Dolphins can celebrate being a projected AFC playoff squad.

8. Baltimore Ravens (8-7), out of playoff field: Miami's win Monday punted them from projected playoff field, probably a deserved fate given Ravens' four-game slide down the AFC mountain. Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, vs. Steelers

9. Los Angeles Chargers (8-7), out of playoff field: They got hit hard by COVID-19 last week, but that's no excuse for losing to the Texans. As damaging a loss as any team has suffered this season as Bolts lose grip on a wild-card spot. Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos, at Raiders

10. Las Vegas Raiders (8-7), out of playoff field: Sunday's win over Broncos was huge, but Vegas needs to keep its hot hand against a hotter Indy team in Week 17 and salvage a split with Bolts in Week 18. Remaining schedule: at Colts, vs. Chargers

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1), out of playoff field: They looked lifeless in Kansas City. But opportunity remains with equally comatose Cleveland and Baltimore ahead. Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, at Ravens

12. Cleveland Browns (7-8), out of playoff field: Only saving grace following loss in Green Bay is that their final two games are against AFC North rivals. Remaining schedule: at Steelers, vs. Bengals

13. Denver Broncos (7-8), out of playoff field: Tiebreakers, time and quality of opponents very much working against them after crippling losses to Cincinnati and Las Vegas. Remaining schedule: at Chargers, vs. Chiefs

The Packers and Chiefs could both earn home-field advantage this weekend.
The Packers and Chiefs could both earn home-field advantage this weekend.

NFC

y – 1. Green Bay Packers (12-3), NFC North champions: They own league's best record and remain on track to secure No. 1 seed for second straight year following Christmas win over Cleveland. A win Sunday night over Minnesota plus a Dallas loss wraps it up. Remaining schedule: vs. Vikings, at Lions

y – 2. Dallas Cowboys (11-4), NFC East champions: Dallas, 5-0 against NFC East competition, has time to reel in No. 1 seed – but need Pack to lose for that door to open. Remaining schedule: vs. Cardinals, at Eagles

x – 3. Los Angeles Rams (11-4), NFC West leaders: Division is theirs with win Sunday and an Arizona loss. Week 3 win over Bucs looming as important tiebreaker. Remaining schedule: at Ravens, vs. 49ers

y – 4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4), NFC South champions: Division titlists for first time since 2007 and still in mix for top seed – especially given likelihood Bucs reach 13 wins considering upcoming opponents. Remaining schedule: at Jets, vs. Panthers

x – 5. Arizona Cardinals (10-5), wild card No. 1: Another second-half collapse under Kliff Kingsbury seems to be underway, Cards having now lost three in a row and five of eight. Ironically, the Rams – the same team that's displaced Arizona atop NFC West – put Cardinals into playoff field Sunday by beating Minnesota. Remaining schedule: at Cowboys, vs. Seahawks

6. San Francisco 49ers (8-7), wild card No. 2: A win and a New Orleans loss Sunday locks Niners into field. And they still have some margin for error courtesy of a 6-5 conference record that includes wins over the Vikings and Eagles but might have to move forward with rookie QB Trey Lance. Remaining schedule: vs. Texans, at Rams

7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7), wild card No. 3: Late-season charge continues as they won for the fifth time in their last six games Sunday by smoking the New York Giants. Philly can clinch spot this weekend by beating WFT – if the Vikings also lose and either the Saints stumble or 49ers win. Week 11 defeat of New Orleans could prove a pivotal tiebreaker. Remaining schedule: at Washington, vs. Cowboys

8. Minnesota Vikings (7-8), out of playoff field: Debilitating loss to Rams punted Vikes from wild-card position. Completing season sweep of Green Bay at Lambeau Field is a big ask. Superior record in conference games (5-5) trumps Atlanta. Remaining schedule: at Packers, vs. Bears

9. Atlanta Falcons (7-8), out of playoff field: Still hanging around, but 4-7 conference record and upcoming schedule among factors working against ATL – though it does have win over Saints in hand. Remaining schedule: at Bills, vs. Saints

10. New Orleans Saints (7-8), out of playoff field: COVID-depleted team looked lost Monday and lost two spots in conference standings. Taking care of business against Carolina and Atlanta isn't a tall order, but Saints would still need some outside assistance, too. Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers, at Falcons

x – clinched berth

y – clinched division

***

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL playoff picture before Week 17 2021: Packers, Chiefs eye top seeds