NFL Playoff Scenarios Heading Into Week 17

Here we are at week 17 of the NFL season and there are at least 11 teams with something to play for this Sunday. The Playoff picture not as muddled as it has been in the past, but there are still spots to be filled and home field advantages to be determined. Here is a run a down on the teams in the playoffs as well as the possible scenarios to determine how is in and where they will be seeded in the postseason starting with the NFC Conference.

Philadelphia Eagles have won the NFC East and have done all they need to do and have the home field locked up throughout the NFC Playoffs and will no doubt rest or limit key personal against Dallas this Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings still have something to play for Sunday when they face the Chicago Bears. Minnesota has won the NFC North and can clinch a coveted first round bye with 4 different scenarios. The Vikings can clinch a bye with a win or tie Sunday, an LA Rams win, a New Orleans Saints win, or a Carolina loss or tie gets the job done as well for Minnesota.

LA Rams have won the NFC West but can not earn a number 2 spot and a first round bye this Sunday. They can nail down the 3rd spot in the NFC with a win over San Francisco so it remains to be seen if they will rest or limit players and get ready for a Wildcard home game or will they play to get that number 3 spot. I would guess they will rest as there isn’t a lot gained by being the 3 seed.

Carolina Panthers have clinched a playoff spot, but can still win the NFC South and get a first round bye this Sunday. The Panthers can win the NFC South with a win combined with a New Orleans loss or tie or the win the Division with a Carolina tie combined with a New Orleans tie. The Panthers can clinch a first round bye with a win combined with a New Orleans loss or tie+ Minnesota loss and an LA Rams loss or tie. Clinching a first round bye is improbable but the Panthers would love to win the NFC South Division and host a Wildcard game.

New Orleans Saints are looking to clinch the NFC South Division Sunday when they face Tampa Bay. New Orleans can win the Division with a win Sunday over Tampa Bay. They can also win it with a Carolina loss or a New Orleans tie combined with a Carolina tie. The Saints are in the post season, but a Wildcard game at home would be a huge advantage for them.

Atlanta Falcons can not win the NFC South, but can gain a playoff berth by simply winning their home game against Carolina Sunday. If they don’t win Sunday they can still get in with a Seattle loss to Arizona or a Seattle tie combined with an Atlanta tie. Should be a great game in Atlanta Sunday.

Seattle Seahawks stayed alive with the win over Dallas this past week, but they’ll need to win again this Sunday over Arizona and hope that Atlanta either losses or ties against this week. Seattle would also make the postseason with a tie combined with an Atlanta loss.

New England has won the AFC East and has the advantage in the AFC postseason picture, but they still haven’t clinched home field just yet. Patriots can clinch with a win over the Jets Sunday or Pittsburgh loss to Cleveland. New England would still be the number 1 seed with a tie combined with a Pittsburgh tie.

Pittsburgh Steelers have won the AFC North and have secured a first round bye, but they would love to get home field through out the AFC by getting a win Sunday over Cleveland combined with a New England loss or tie to the NY Jets. Not likely to happen for Pittsburgh, but anything can happen in the NFL on any given Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars are back in the postseason and have secured the number 3 spot and a home game for the Wildcard round. Expect them to rest or limit their key personal in Week 17 with nothing to play for.

Kansas City Chiefs are sitting in the same position as Jacksonville. The Chiefs are locked into the number 4 spot in the AFC and will no doubt rest some players as they travel to Denver this Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens have given themselves a great chance to make the postseason. The Ravens can join the postseason fun with a win or tie this Sunday against Cincinnati. If Baltimore does lose they can still get in with a loss or tie by either Tennessee or Buffalo so their chances are good.

Tennessee Titans can clinch a playoff berth by simply winning Sunday against a Jacksonville squad with nothing to play for. If they can’t get it done they will either need both Buffalo and the LA Chargers to lose or in another scenario the Titans could tie and get losses or ties from Buffalo and Los Angeles. The plan for Tennessee is to get the win and don’t sweat the rest.

Los Angeles Chargers must first and foremost win their game against the Oakland Raiders or at least. Even with the win they still need losses or ties from both Tennessee and Buffalo. The Chargers also get in with win combined with a Tennessee loss or tie and a win or tie by Baltimore over Cincinnati. The Chargers could tie with Oakland and get a Tennessee loss combined with a Buffalo loss or tie and sneak in. Things are complicated for the Chargers and they need help no matter what.

Buffalo Bills can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Miami combined with a Baltimore loss Sunday. The Bills Can also get in with a win Sunday combined with loss or tie by both the LA Chargers and Tennessee. If Buffalo were to tie Sunday they would need losses by both the Chargers and Titans to get in. Things are dicey for Buffalo but not impossible.

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