NFL Playoff Picture Week 17: Seeding, Scenarios & Tiebreakers

playoff, picture, seeds, tiebreakers, wild card, seeds, matchups, AFC, NFC, NFL

After last week’s win over the Patriots, the Jets only need to win today to secure a playoff berth. (Getty)

How important is the last day of the NFL season? The Broncos could end the day with home-field advantage through the playoffs, or they could get the fifth seed and face a road playoff game in six days.

All 12 playoff teams are set, but the order is still to be determined. Home-field advantage is up for grabs in the afternoon slate of games, as a loss from the Patriots has thrown the AFC bracket into chaos.

Things are much neater in the NFC, where all six teams are locked and only one division is still up for grabs. That would be the NFC North, and will be determined by Sunday night’s Vikings-Packers matchup. While a division title and a home playoff game is nice, the loser faces a much easier matchup against Washington. With both teams guaranteed the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see if either team sits back and accepts the sixth seed.

For a full list of NFL tiebreaking procedures, click here.

Here’s how the playoff standings look right now:


AFC Seeding

playoff, picture, seeds, tiebreakers, wild card, seeds, matchups, AFC, NFC, NFL

AJ McCarron may be forced to start in a Wild Card game if Andy Dalton’s thumb isn’t fully recovered. (Getty)

The Division Leaders:

1. New England Patriots — 12-4 — Clinched AFC East
2. Cincinnati Bengals — 12-4 — Clinched AFC North
3. Denver Broncos — 11-4
4. Houston Texans — 9-7 — Clinched AFC South

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Kansas City Chiefs — 10-5 — Clinched playoff berth
6. Pittsburgh Steelers — 10-5 — Clinched playoff berth

*Kansas City is ahead of the New York and Pittsburgh based on conference record (Chiefs: 8-2 Jets:6-4 Steelers: 6-4)

*Pittsburgh has tiebreaker over New York based on common games record (3-1 to New York’s 3-2).

Clinching Scenarios:

– New England clinches home field advantage with win OR Denver loss

– Denver clinches AFC West and first-round bye with win OR Kansas City loss

– Denver clinches home field advantage with win and New England loss

– Bengals clinch first-round bye with win and Denver loss OR Denver loss and Kansas City win

– Chiefs clinch AFC West with win and Denver loss

– Houston clinches AFC South with win OR Colts loss

– New York clinches playoff spot with win OR Pittsburgh loss

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Steelers at Broncos

Chiefs at Texans


NFC Seeding

playoff, picture, seeds, tiebreakers, wild card, seeds, matchups, AFC, NFC, NFL

The NFC East was laughed at this season, but Washington is a dangerous playoff team in the NFC. (Getty)

The Division Leaders:

1. Carolina Panthers — 14-1 — Clinched NFC South & First Round Bye
2. Arizona Cardinals — 13-2 — Clinched NFC West & First Round Bye
3. Green Bay Packers — 10-5 — Clinched Playoff Berth
4. Washington Redskins — 8-7 — Clinched NFC East

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Seattle Seahawks — 9-6
6. Minnesota Vikings — 10-5

Clinching Scenarios:

– Carolina can clinch home-field advantage with win OR Arizona loss

– Arizona can clinch home-field advantage with win and Carolina loss

– Winner of Green Bay-Minnesota clinches NFC North

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Seahawks at Packers

Vikings at Redskins


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