NFL playoffs scenarios for Week 17

Shutdown Corner

Heading into the Week 17 finale’s full slate on Sunday, there will be a mad scramble for the final two wild-card spots in the AFC.

The top seed in the NFC is locked up in the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles but the South division crown is still up for grabs along with the final wild-card spot.

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Cam Newton and the Panthers are still in the running to host a playoff game as the NFC South champions. (AP)
Cam Newton and the Panthers are still in the running to host a playoff game as the NFC South champions. (AP)

A look at the picture:

AFC

1) New England Patriots** (12-3): Next game vs. New York Jets (5-10).
• Can clinch home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs with a victory against the Jets. New England clinched a first-round bye with Jacksonville’s defeat at San Francisco on Sunday.
• Can also clinch the No. 1 seed with a Steelers defeat to the Cleveland Browns. Try not to LOL at this scenario.

2) Pittsburgh Steelers** (12-3): Next game vs. Cleveland Browns (0-15).
• They clinched a first-round bye with their 34-6 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday.
• Can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC with Patriots defeat vs. the Jets + victory against the Browns.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5)**: Next game vs. Tennessee Titans (8-7)
• They are locked in the No. 3 seed as South division champions. Will host the last team to get into the AFC playoffs on wild-card weekend.

4) Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)**: Next game at Denver Broncos (5-10)
• They are locked in at the No. 4 seed as West division champions. Will host the conference’s top wild-card team in Round 1 of the playoffs.

In the AFC wild-card hunt

5) Baltimore Ravens (9-6): Next game vs. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9)
• A victory against the Bengals would clinch them a playoff berth and a matchup at Kansas City on wild-card weekend.
• If the Ravens get upset by the Bengals, they can still get in the playoffs if the Titans OR Bills lose.
• The Ravens are eliminated from the playoff hunt if they lose to the Bengals + the Titans, Chargers and Bills each win OR they lose to the Bengals + the Titans and Bills each win.

6) Tennessee Titans (8-7): Next game vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5)
• Sure, they’re stumbling but the postseason is within grasp considering the Jaguars don’t have much to play for in Week 17 other than to be a holiday Grinch. A win against the Jags gets the Titans in the playoffs.
• Titans also get in with losses from the Chargers + Bills.
• Here’s what can eliminate the Titans: a loss + a Chargers win + Ravens win.

7) Los Angeles Chargers (8-7): Next game vs. Oakland Raiders (6-9)
• Can get in with a victory vs. the Raiders + a Titans defeat to the Jaguars + a Ravens victory against the Bengals.

8) Buffalo Bills (8-7): Next game at Miami Dolphins (6-9)
• The Bills know how to sneak in:


NFC

1) Philadelphia Eagles** (13-2): Next game vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-7).
• Clinched home-field advantaged through the NFC playoffs with Monday night’s victory against the Raiders.

2) Minnesota Vikings** (12-3): Next game vs. Chicago Bears (5-10).
• The Vikings can clinch at least a first-round bye with a victory Sunday.
• Also, from the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson:


3) Los Angeles Rams** (11-4): Next game vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-10).
• Will host a playoff game as West champions on wild-card weekend.

4) New Orleans Saints* (11-4): Next game at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11).
• Will clinch the NFC South with a victory in Week 17 OR a Panthers defeat against the Falcons.

5) Carolina Panthers* (11-4): Next game vs. Atlanta Falcons (9-6).
• Can win the South with a victory vs. the Falcons + a Saints defeat to the Bucs.

6) Atlanta Falcons (9-6): Next game vs. Carolina Panthers (11-4).
• Can get in with a victory against the Panthers.
• A loss + a Seattle Seahawk victory vs. Arizona will eliminate the defending NFC champions.

In the NFC wild-card hunt

7) Seattle Seahawks (9-6): Next game vs. Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
• Can claim the final spot in the NFC playoffs with a victory against the Cardinals + a Falcons defeat.

** Have clinched their division
* Have clinched a playoff berth

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