NFL Week 17: Who’s in and who’s out of the playoff picture?

Which teams are in the playoffs and who is still in the hunt with just a week of the regular NFL season to go? Matthew Crist looks at all the possibilities...

Matthew Crist

A number of teams have booked their spot in the NFL playoffs while several still have work to do if they are to keep their season alive in the New Year.

While the AFC playoff picture is nearing completion, it’s still all to play for in a stacked NFC with two division titles still undecided.

So here’s a look at the current standings heading into the final week of the regular season…


New Orleans Saints

San Francisco will secure the No 1 seed in the NFC with a victory the Seahawks in Week 17, but if they lose it would see them drop back into the Wild Card positions.

Meanwhile, a defeat to the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks could find themselves as the No 6 seed following a 27-13 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals which saw them drop down to the No 5 seed position which dealt a huge blow in thier pursuit of a first-round bye.

The New Orleans Saints have already clinched the NFC South title, but remain in the hunt for a first-round bye and can still claim the No 1 seed if they beat the Carolina Panthers and the Lions win over the Packers and a Seahawks win over the 49ers. They will reclaim the No 2 seed if they beat the Panthers, the Seahawks beat the 49ers and the Packers beat the Lions.

A win over the New York Giants in Week 17 will clinch what once seemed an unlikely playoff berth and division title for the Philadelphia Eagles who looked all but out of the reckoning at one stage. Having been beaten 37-31 by the Dolphins in Week 13, they have won three in a row, including a 17-9 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, to move into top spot in the NFC East.

Green Bay

The Green Bay Packers have already claimed the NFC North title but can move into the No 1 seed if they beat the Detroit Lions in Week 17 and the Seahawks win against the 49ers. However, a win over the Lions alone would secure the Packers a first-round bye and home-field advantage.

The Minnesota Vikings confirmed their post-season spot in Week 16 when the 49ers eliminated the Los Angeles Rams with a 34-31 victory, but the NFC North title race won’t into the final week thanks to their 23-10 loss to the Packers on Monday night, confirming them in as the No 6 seed.

As for the once fancied Dallas Cowboys, they must beat the Washington Redskins and hope the Giants overcome the Eagles if they are to clinch the NFC East title and make it to the playoffs.


Bill Belichick

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 31-15 last week to clinch the No 1 seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs and now face a wait to find out who their first post-season opponents will be, meaning they can ret some of their key players for the remainder of the regular season.

The New England Patriots, who won their 11th straight AFC East title in 2019, will secure the No 2 seed and an all-important first-round bye if they beat the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, while defeat for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Los Angeles Chargers will also do the job.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the Chiefs, who have already clinched the AFC West title,  have made the play-offs under Andy Reid and could yet secure the No 2 seed if they beat the Chargers and New England lose to Miami.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans clinched the AFC South title for the second year in a row as they beat the Buccaneers 23-20 in Week 16 and Bill O’Brien’s men can rise to the No 3 seed if they win against the Titans and the Chiefs are beaten by the Chargers.

The Buffalo Bills were beaten by the Patriots last time out but had already secured their 5th seed in the playoff picture by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, meaning they can rest a number of big names before the postseason action begins.

The Tennessee Titans were beaten 38-28 by the Saints last week meaning they will clinch the final slot if they beat the Texans in Week 17, or the Steelers and Indianapolis Colts lose while the Steelers need a victory over the Baltimore Ravens and a defeat for the Titans against the Texans if they are to make the playoffs.

Incredibly, despite a miserable run, the Oakland Raiders can still clinch a play-off place, but must beat the Denver Broncos and hope the Ravens, Texans, Colts and one of the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Chiefs or Patriots all win if the unthinkable is to happen.

Post season picture as it stands

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