NFL’s playoff races almost all come down to Week 17
(c) 2015, The Washington Post.
The Denver Broncos’ overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night provided a little bit of clarity in the AFC playoff race, but not enough to render this weekend’s finales meaningless. In fact, there’s still much fun to be had on the final Sunday of the regular season (remember: there’s no Monday night game in Week 17).
Here’s how the playoff field looks in each conference after Week 16’s action. All times EST for Sunday’s games.
1. New England Patriots 12-3 (at Miami, 1 p.m. , CBS)
The Patriots have clinched a first-round bye. They will be the No. 1 seed with a win over the Dolphins. New England would fall to the No. 2 seed with a loss to Miami combined with a Denver win (the Broncos hold the head-to-head tiebreaker). If the Patriots lose and the Broncos and Bengals both win – giving the AFC three 12-4 teams – Denver would be the No. 1 seed and New England would be the No. 2 seed.
2. Denver Broncos 11-4 (vs. San Diego, 4:25 p.m., CBS)
The Broncos have clinched a playoff berth. They will be the No. 1 seed with a win combined with a Patriots loss. Denver will clinch a first-round bye with a win, a tie combined with a Bengals loss or tie, or a Chiefs loss or tie combined with a Bengals loss. If the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win, Denver will be a wild-card team.
3. Cincinnati Bengals 11-4 (vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m., Fox)
The Bengals have clinched a playoff berth and will play their first playoff game at home, no matter what happens Sunday. Cincinnati will clinch a first-round bye with a win combined with a Denver loss or tie, a tie and a Denver loss, or a Denver loss and a Kansas City win. Otherwise, they will host a wild-card game.
4. Houston Texans 8-7 (vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Texans will clinch the AFC South with a win or a tie or a Colts loss or tie. They can also clinch the division with a loss and a Colts win, provided they win the strength-of-victory tiebreaker. That would mean a Houston loss, an Indianapolis win and a win or a tie from just one of the following teams: New England, Cincinnati, New York Jets, San Diego or New Orleans. Or, alternately, a Houston loss, an Indianapolis win and wins or ties by both Kansas City and Baltimore, provided both teams don’t tie. Got all that?
5. Kansas City Chiefs 10-5 (vs. Oakland, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth. They will clinch the AFC West with a win and a Broncos loss. Otherwise, Kansas City will be a wild-card team.
6. New York Jets 10-5 (at Buffalo, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Jets will clinch a wild-card berth with a win or a Pittsburgh loss.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-6 (at Cleveland, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Steelers will clinch a wild-card berth with a win combined with a Jets loss.
8. Indianapolis Colts 7-8 (vs. Tennessee, 1 p.m., CBS)
As explained by NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus, the Colts’ chances of making the playoffs are astronomically slim. Basically, it starts with a win combined with a Texans loss. Then the following teams all need to win for Indy to earn the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Houston: Baltimore, Buffalo, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland. ESPN puts the chances of this all happening at 0.03 percent.
1. Carolina Panthers 14-1 (vs. Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Panthers have clinched a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win or a tie, or a Cardinals loss or tie.
2. Arizona Cardinals 13-2 (vs. Seattle, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Cardinals have clinched a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win combined with a Carolina loss.
3. Green Bay Packers 10-5 (vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m., NBC)
The Packers have clinched a playoff berth. They will win the NFC North with a win or a tie.
4. Washington Redskins 8-7 (at Dallas, 1 p.m., Fox)
The Redskins have clinched a playoff berth and are locked in as the NFC’s No. 4 team. Their game against the Cowboys has no bearing on their playoff position. They will host a playoff game against either the Seahawks, Vikings or Packers on wild-card weekend.
5. Minnesota Vikings 10-5 (at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m., NBC)
The Vikings have clinched a playoff berth. They will clinch the NFC North with a win.
6. Seattle Seahawks 9-6 (at Arizona, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Seahawks have clinched a wild-card berth and will either be the NFC’s No. 5 or No. 6 seed.
Source : From The Washington Post
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