AFTER a wild Week 16 we have 10 of our 12 playoff spots locked and loaded with one week left in the season. In a week that Cleveland won and Derek Carr shattered the hopes and dreams of Raiders fans, the Patriots, Chiefs, Raiders, Dolphins, Steelers and Texans secured a place in the AFC this post season. The NFC isn’t as clear cut though with the Cowboys, Seahawks, Giants and Falcons all guaranteed to be playing come January, but there are still two spots up for grabs. Who plays who in the first round is still to be determined as well, so without further ado here’s whats at stake this weekend.
#1 New England Patriots (13-2) – Clinched AFC East, first round bye
THE Pats can clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if A) they win or tie with the Dolphins or B) the Raiders loss or tie.
#2 Oakland Raiders (12-3) – Clinched playoff berth
THEY can clinch the division and a first round bye if A) they win or tie, or B) the Chiefs lose or tie. Also the Raiders can clinch home field advantage in the AFC playoffs if they win and the Patriots lose.
#3 Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) – Clinched AFC North
#4 Houston Texans (9-6) – Clinched AFC South
#5 Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) – Clinched playoff berth
KC can clinch the AFC West and the #2 seed if they win and the Raiders lose.
#6 Miami Dolphins (9-6) – Clinched playoff berth
IF the Chiefs lose and the Dolphins win the Dolphins can move up to the #5 seed, otherwise they are staying put.
Image from sportspyder.com
Bear with me, this gets messy….
#1 Dallas Cowboys (13-2) – Clinched NFC East, first round bye, home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs
#2 Atlanta Falcons (10-5) – Clinched NFC South
THEY can clinch a first round bye if A) they win, B) they tie and Seattle lose or tie, C) Seattle tie and Detroit lose or tie or D) Seattle tie and Detroit lose.
#3 Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1) – Clinched NFC West
SEATTLE can clinch a first round bye if A) they win and the Falcons lose or tie, or B) they tie, Atlanta loses and Green Bay/Detroit tie
#4 Green Bay Packers (9-6)
IT comes down to this for the Packers. They clinch the division with a win or tie against the Lions. They can still make the playoffs if A) Washington lose, or B) Washington tie, Tampa Bay lose and Green Bay at least ties strength of schedule with the Bucs. This occurs if any of the Seahawks, Eagles, Texans or Jaguars win.
#5 New York Giants (10-5) – Clinched playoff berth
#6 Detroit Lions (9-6)
IN the same boat as Green Bay this game is for all the glory. Detroit clinches the division if they beat the Packers, and they can clinch a first round bye if Atlanta loses and Seattle also loses or ties. A playoff spot is still available if they tie and Washington loses or ties.
Image from isportsweb.com
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Clinging to a miracle the Redskins and Buccaneers technically haven’t been eliminated yet, but they need a large number of chips to fall their way.
Washington Redskins (8-6-1)
A matchup with the Giants is virtually a must win for Washington this week. If they win and the Green Bay/Detroit game doesn’t end in a tie then they claim the final wildcard spot, lose and their out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
IF Tampa Bay beats the Panthers, Green Bay loses, the Colts, Titans, 49ers and Cowboys win AND the Redskins tie then they can make the playoffs. Never say never.
Banner from kickoffcoverage.com