NFL Playoff Scenarios Heading Into Week 17

USATSI_7270336_154224518_lowresWe’re now in the final week of the regular season, but the whole playoff picture is still on the conjectural easel waiting for its finishing touches. In the AFC, the picture is a little more clear as we know which teams have made it to the post season, it’s only a matter of seeding. There are three teams that can still finish with the number one seed in the AFC and the Ravens are still looking to move up from fourth to third.

In the NFC, things are still up for grabs from the 2nd through the sixth spot. We do know that the Falcons will have the top seed in the NFC and that the Seahawks can finish no lower than fifth, but outside of that, we’re just going to have to wait for the games to be played to see where each team falls, and whether or not any of the teams outside looking in find a way to squeak into the post season on the league’s final regular season weekend of the year.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at every scenario that could happen this weekend.


1. Houston Texans - Clinch home field throughout  with win or losses from both the Broncos and Patriots losses. They secure a first round bye with a Broncos or Patriots loss; They fall to the number 3 seed with a loss and Broncos and Patriots wins.
2. Denver Broncos - Clinch home-field with win and Texans loss or tie; They secure a 1st round bye with win or tie or a Patriots loss or tie; They fall to the number 3 seed with loss and Patriots win.
3. New England Patriots - Clinch home-field with a win and Texans loss and Broncos loss; They secure a 1st rd bye with a win and either a Texans loss or Broncos loss; Finish as the number 3 seed with win or tie or Ravens loss. Will be number 4 seed with a loss and a Ravens win.
4. Baltimore Ravens - Will be the number 3 seed with a win and a Patriots loss; will be the  number 4 seed with a loss or tie or Patriots win or tie.
5. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts are locked into the fifth seed no matter what happens today.
6. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are locked into the sixth seed no matter what happens today.


1. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons have clinched home field throughout the post season no matter what happens today.
2. Green Bay Packers – Clinch first round bye with a win or both a 49ers loss and Seahawks loss or tie
3. San Francisco 49ers – Clinch NFC West with win or Seahawks loss or tie; Clinch first round bye with win or tie and Packers loss.
4. Washington Redskins – Clinch NFC East & number 4 seed with a win. They clinch a playoff spot with Vikings and Bears losses. They hold a tie breaker over the Cowboys because of their record in common games (8-4 for Redskins, 7-5 for Cowboys).
5. Seattle Seahawks – Cinched playoff spot and will be the #5 seed at the worst. Can clinch the NFC West with a win and 49ers loss; Can clinch a 1st round bye with a win and 49ers and Packers losses.
6. Minnesota Vikings – Clinch playoff spot w a win or with losses from the Bears, Cowboys, and Giants.

7. Chicago Bears – Clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Vikings loss.
8. Dallas Cowboys – Clinch NFC East and number 4 seed with a win over Redskins; they are unable to clinch a wild card.
9. New York Giants – Can clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses from  the Vikings, Bears, and Cowboys.


Phillip Barnett is the Senior NFL Editor at Sports City and is currently suffering through a decade long (and counting) playoff drought from the Oakland Raiders.

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