For many football fans, Sunday afternoon’s games provided a lot of clarity with respect to the playoff picture. First, the 31-28 victory by the Saints over the Pittsburgh Steelers ensured New Orleans of home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Secondly, Philadelphia Eagles 32-30 victory over the Houston Texans propelled the New England Patriots into the second spot in the AFC. In all, four teams clinched playoff spots Sunday and three spots are remaining. However, the various fights at the top of each conference pails in comparison to the fight to get in. Here are the latest playoff scenarios heading into Week 17.

If the season ended today, these would be the NFC Playoff Seeds:
*Clinched playoff berth; **Clinched division

1. Saints** (13-2), (conference record: 9-2)
2. Rams** (12-3), (8-3)
3. Bears** (11-4), (9-2)
4. Cowboys** (9-6), (8-3)
5. Seahawks* (9-6), (7-4)
6. Vikings (8-6-1), (6-4-1)

LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-3) (vs. San Francisco (4-11), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:

  1. LAR win or tie OR
  2. CHI loss or tie

CHICAGO BEARS (11-4) (at Minnesota (8-6-1), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Chicago clinches a first-round bye with:

  1. CHI win + LAR loss

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-6-1) (vs. Chicago (11-4), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Minnesota clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. MIN win or tie OR
  2. PHI loss or tie

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-7) (at Washington (7-8), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Philadelphia clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. PHI win + MIN loss

The Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals are eliminated from playoff contention.

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and New England Patriots are fighting for the number one seed and home field advantage. It would be moot if the Chiefs defeat the Oakland Raiders this Sunday. However, if the Chiefs lose to the Raiders, the Chargers beat the Denver Broncos and the New England beats the New York Jets, the Patriots would end up the number one seed, the Chargers would be the AFC West champion and the Chiefs would fall to the five seed.

If the season ended today, these would be the AFC playoff seeds:

*Clinched playoff berth; **Clinched division

1. Chiefs* (11-4), (9-2)
2. Patriots** (10-5), (7-4)
3. Texans* (10-5), (8-3)
4. Ravens (9-6), (7-4)
5. Chargers* (11-4), (8-3)
6. Colts (9-6), (6-5)

In the hunt:

Titans (9-6), (5-6)
Steelers (8-6-1), (5-5-1)

 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4) (vs. Oakland (4-11), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

  1. KC win OR
  2. KC tie + LAC loss or tie OR
  3. LAC loss + NE loss or tie + HOU loss or tie OR
  4. LAC loss + NE loss or tie + KC clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over HOU

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:

  1. LAC loss + NE loss or tie OR
  2. LAC loss + HOU loss or tie
  3. LAC loss + KC clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over HOU

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:

  1. LAC loss OR
  2. KC tie + LAC tie

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-5) (vs. New York Jets (4-11), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

  1. NE win + KC loss + LAC loss

 

New England clinches a first-round bye with:

  1. NE win OR
  2. NE tie + HOU loss or tie OR
  3. BAL loss or tie + HOU loss + TEN loss or tie

 

HOUSTON TEXANS (10-5) (vs. Jacksonville (5-10), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Houston clinches AFC South division title and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

  1. HOU win + NE loss or tie + KC loss + LAC loss + HOU clinches a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over KC

Houston clinches AFC South division title and a first-round bye with:

  1. HOU win + NE loss or tie OR
  2. HOU win + KC loss + LAC loss + HOU clinches a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over KC OR
  3. HOU tie + NE loss OR
  4. IND-TEN tie + NE loss + BAL win + HOU clinches a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over BAL

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

  1. HOU win or tie OR
  2. IND-TEN tie

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-6) (vs. Cleveland (7-7-1), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title and a first-round bye with:

  1. BAL win + NE loss + HOU loss + IND-TEN does not end in a tie OR
  2. BAL win + NE loss + HOU loss + BAL clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over HOU

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. BAL win OR
  2. PIT loss OR
  3. BAL tie + PIT tie

Baltimore clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. BAL tie + IND-TEN tie

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (11-4) (at Denver (6-9), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

Los Angeles clinches AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

  1. LAC win + KC loss or tie OR
  2. LAC tie + KC loss

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-6) (at Tennessee (9-6), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Indianapolis clinches AFC South division title with:

  1. IND win + HOU loss

Indianapolis clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. IND win OR
  2. IND tie + PIT loss or tie OR
  3. IND tie + BAL loss

 

TENNESSEE TITANS (9-6) (vs. Indianapolis (9-6), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title and first-round bye with:

  1. TEN win + HOU loss + NE loss + BAL loss or tie

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title with:

  1. TEN win + HOU loss

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. TEN win

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-6-1) (vs. Cincinnati (6-9), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. PIT win + BAL loss or tie OR
  2. PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. PIT win + IND-TEN tie

The Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, and Buffalo Bills have been eliminated from playoff contention.

File Photo: Moses Robinson/The Atlanta Voice

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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