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Early Lead

NFL playoff scenarios entering Week 17: It’s mostly down to the wild cards

By Matt Bonesteel

December 26, 2017 at 8:03 AM

It’s an elite wild-card race in the AFC. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

With one week left in the NFL regular season, 15 teams have either clinched playoff berths or still are in the hunt for a berth. The rest are playing out the string. Here’s how we stand.

CURRENT AFC PLAYOFF FIELD

1. Patriots 12-3

2. Steelers 12-3

3. Jaguars 10-5

4. Chiefs 9-6

5. Ravens 9-6

6. Titans 8-7

Still alive: Chargers 8-7, Bills 8-7.

AFC SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 17

Patriots: New England has clinched the AFC East and a first-round bye. The Patriots will clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with either a win over the Jets or a Steelers loss to the Browns. They also will clinch home-field advantage with a tie combined with a Steelers tie.

Steelers: Pittsburgh has clinched the AFC North and a first-round bye. The Steelers will clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Browns combined with a Patriots loss/tie against the Jets, or with a tie combined with a Patriots loss to the Jets.

Jaguars: Jacksonville has clinched the AFC South and the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs no matter the result of its game against the Titans.

Chiefs: Kansas City has clinched the AFC West and the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs no matter the result of its game against the Broncos.

Ravens: Baltimore will clinch a wild-card berth with a win/tie against the Bengals, or a Bills loss/tie against the Dolphins, or a Titans loss/tie against the Jaguars.

Titans: Tennessee will clinch a wild-card berth with a win over the Jaguars, or a tie combined with a Bills loss/tie against the Dolphins and a Chargers loss/tie against the Raiders, or if the Bills and Chargers both lose.

Chargers: Los Angeles will clinch a wild-card berth with a win over the Raiders combined with a Titans loss/tie against the Jaguars and a Bills loss/tie against the Dolphins, or a win combined with a Titans loss/tie and Ravens loss/tie, or a tie combined with a Titans loss and a Bills loss/tie.

Bills: Buffalo will clinch a wild-card berth with a win combined with a Ravens loss to the Bengals, or a win combined with a Chargers loss/tie and a Titans loss/tie, or a tie combined with losses by the Chargers and Titans.

CURRENT NFC PLAYOFF FIELD

1. Eagles 13-2

2. Vikings 12-3

3. Rams 11-4

4. Saints 11-4

5. Panthers 11-4

6. Falcons 9-6

Still alive: Seahawks 9-6

Eagles: Philadelphia has clinched the NFC East and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Vikings: Minnesota has clinched the NFC North. The Vikings will clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Bears, or a Panthers loss/tie against the Falcons, or a Saints win over the Buccaneers, or a Rams win over the 49ers.

Rams: Los Angeles has clinched the NFC West. The Rams cannot earn a first-round bye and will be either the No. 3 seed or No. 4 seed. They will be the No. 3 seed with a win, or with a tie combined with a Saints loss/tie and Panthers loss/tie, or with losses by the Saints and Panthers.

Saints: New Orleans has clinched a playoff berth. The Saints will clinch the NFC South with a win over the Buccaneers, or a Panthers loss to the Falcons, or a tie combined with a Panthers tie.

Panthers: Carolina has clinched a playoff berth. The Panthers will clinch the NFC South with a win over the Falcons combined with a Saints loss/tie against the Bucs, or a tie combined with a Saints loss. Carolina will clinch a first-round bye with a win combined with a Saints loss/tie, Vikings loss and Rams loss/tie.

Falcons: Atlanta will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Panthers, or a Seahawks loss to the Cardinals, or a tie combined with a Seahawks tie.

Seahawks: Seattle will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Cardinals combined with a Falcons loss/tie against the Panthers, or a tie and a Falcons loss.

Read more on the NFL:

‘Come get me!’ Is Seahawks safety Earl Thomas making a play for the Cowboys?

In reworking Week 17 schedule, NFL won’t have Sunday night game

Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston loses his mind after losing fumble to Panthers

Kelvin Benjamin’s overturned TD in Bills-Patriots game sparks anger, confusion

NFL teams reportedly think the Packers should have to release Aaron Rodgers over IR move


Matt Bonesteel spent the first 17 years of his Washington Post career writing and editing. In 2014, Bonesteel pivoted from the newspaper to online and now he blogs for the Early Lead and other Web-based products owned by The Post.

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Early Lead

NFL playoff scenarios entering Week 17: It’s mostly down to the wild cards

By Matt Bonesteel

December 26, 2017 at 8:03 AM

It’s an elite wild-card race in the AFC. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

With one week left in the NFL regular season, 15 teams have either clinched playoff berths or still are in the hunt for a berth. The rest are playing out the string. Here’s how we stand.

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