Welcome to Week 17, everyone.
We’ve got one final slate of regular season NFL games and there is plenty on the line. The AFC postseason picture is far from settled, with a handful of squads still competing for Wild Card position and division titles. Meanwhile, the NFC is all but set with just a few divisional titles left to be crowned.
That means things are about to get really fun.
Let’s break down what each squad has to do in order to ensure that their season doesn’t have to end, including each and every possible tiebreaker and possible seeding position. Get ready for some serious football.
1. New England Patriots
Record: 12-4; Current seed in AFC: No. 2; Week 17 matchup: Lost 20-10 at Miami Dolphins; Playoff Picture: The Patriots clinched a first-round playoff bye because of a better record than the Cincinnati Bengals in common games. However, the loss in Week 17 dropped New England to the No. 2 seed.
2. New York Jets
Record: 10-6; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Lost 22-17 at Buffalo Bills; Playoff Picture: Ryan Fitzpatrick hadn’t thrown a single pick in the end zone all season; until Sunday afternoon. New York couldn’t get the road win and the Pittsburgh Steelers took care of business, so the Jets are, officially, out.
3. Buffalo Bills
Record: 8-8; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Won 22-17 vs. New York Jets; Playoff Picture: It’s officially official. Rex Ryan will be back. The Bills announced on Wednesday that the first-year head coach, along with general manager Doug Whaley, would be back next season despite a disappointing 2015.
4. Miami Dolphins
Record: 6-10; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Won 20-10 vs. New England Patriots; Playoff Picture: There are plenty of problems in Miami heading into this offseason and one of them is some player-on-player hate. Cornerback Brent Grimes was forced to respond to comments made by his wife on Twitter after she went off with some scathing social media criticism of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. These problems should probably be fixed; sooner rather than later.
1. Denver Broncos
Record: 12-4; Current seed in AFC: No. 1; Week 17 matchup: Won 27-20 vs. San Diego Chargers; Playoff Picture: Peyton Manning came off the bench (!) to lead the Denver Broncos to a come-from-behind victory that not only won the West, but secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs as well. The AFC playoffs go through Denver.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 11-5; Current seed in AFC: No. 5; Week 17 matchup: Won 23-17 vs. Oakland Raiders; Playoff Picture: The Chiefs, who clinched a playoff berth last week, couldn’t quite secure a divisional title, but still wrapped up the regular season with another victory. Kansas City will head Houston next week.
3. Oakland Raiders
Record: 7-9; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Lost 23-17 at Kansas City Chiefs, Playoff Picture: There haven’t been many positives for the Raiders this season, particularly after that disappointing midseason slide, but Marquette King has been one of them. It’s hard to say a punter’s successful season is a highlight, but it does bode well for Oakland’s special teams future.
4. San Diego Chargers
Record: 4-12; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Lost 27-20 at Denver Broncos; Playoff Picture: It might not be over in San Diego yet. According to multiple reports, the city has made one final pitch to keep its NFL team, filing a letter signed by both Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Commissioner Ron Roberts to the NFL’s Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities. Right now, it seems like a long shot, but the Chargers might not actually be changing cities quite yet.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Record: 12-4; Current seed in AFC: No. 2; Week 17 matchup: Won 24-16 vs. Baltimore Ravens; Playoff Picture: The Bengals could still clinch a first-round bye with a Denver Broncos loss. However, if the Broncos win, Cincinnati is back to the No. 3 seed.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 10-6; Current seed in AFC: No. 6; Week 17 matchup: Won 28-12 at Cleveland Browns; Playoff Picture: The Steelers did their job. Pittsburgh clinched a playoff berth because of the victory on Sunday and the New York Jets loss to the Buffalo Bills.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 5-11; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Lost 24-16 at Cincinnati Bengals; Playoff Picture: Have some good news, Ravens fans! In a season filled with injury and disappointment and just general sadness, Steve Smith Sr. gave Baltimore something to look forward to next year when he announced he was postponing his retirement to return to the team. Everything isn’t awful!
4. Cleveland Browns
Record: 3-13; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET Sunday; Playoff Picture: The Johnny Manziel saga continues. The quarterback is likely out for Week 17 after being diagnosed with a concussion. This news comes after another video surfaced this week of Manziel holding an alcoholic drink in his hand and singing.
1. Houston Texans
Record: 9-7; Current seed in AFC: No. 4; Week 17 matchup: Won 30-6 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars; Playoff Picture: The Texans clinched the South and the No. 4 seed with the victory and the New Orleans Saints win over the Atlanta Falcons because of a better strength of victory than the Indianapolis Colts. Houston will host either the Kansas City Chief or Denver Broncos next week.
2. Indianapolis Colts
Record: 8-8; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Won 30-24 vs. Tennessee Titans; Playoff Picture: It was a long shot and it didn’t come true. The Colts got the win, but the 10 other things they needed to happen didn’t all play out. That means Indianapolis is, also, out.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 5-11; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET Sunday; Playoff Picture: Gus Bradley will be back. Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced on Tuesday that Bradley would return for the 2016 season, but with a brand-new set of expectations in the final year of his contract. He was initially hired in 2013 and Jacksonville has yet to make the playoffs since 2007.
4. Tennessee Titans
Record: 3-13; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 17 matchup: Lost 30-24 at Indianapolis Colts; Playoff Picture: The Tennessee Titans have a coaching vacancy and Chip Kelly is in need of a coaching job? Could Kelly be reunited with Marcus Mariota next season? As far as the rumor mill is concerned, the odds seem fairly certain that the former Oregon standouts will be together in 2016.
Click the “next page” button below to check out the NFC standings and playoff picture.