The Ravens play the Colts and Bengals, who have a combined 8-20 record, during the season’s final two weeks. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The NFL playoff picture gained clarity Monday night when the Atlanta Falcons beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a victory that kept the Falcons’ playoff hopes alive and eliminated the Green Bay Packers from postseason contention.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings have clinched the NFC East and NFC North titles, with Philadelphia securing a first-round bye. The New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars have also clinched their divisions in the AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints have the inside track to round out the top four seeds in the conferences.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers, at 10-4, have a firm hold on the NFC’s first wild-card spot. Using the same data that helped construct our power rankings — which highlights a team’s actual and expected win percentage for the year — we estimate Coach Ron Rivera and his squad will finish 11-5, making them a near lock (99 percent) for the postseason. Those same metrics project the Falcons to finish 10-6, giving them a 91 percent chance of making the playoffs as the second, and last, wild-card team.

As a result, the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys are all expected to miss out on postseason play.

NFC      
Division Leaders W L Playoff chances
Eagles [xyz] 12 2 100%
Vikings [xy] 11 3 100%
Rams 10 4 >99%
Saints 10 4 >99%
 [x] clinched playoff berth; [y] clinched division title; [z] clinched first-round bye
Wild Card W L Playoff chances
Panthers 10 4 >99%
Falcons 9 5 91%
In The Hunt W L Playoff chances
Lions 8 6 35%
Seahawks 8 6 20%
Cowboys 8 6 7%

That doesn’t mean the past two weeks of the season won’t be interesting. The NFC South is set up as a mini-tournament among that division’s three contenders. The Falcons own the tiebreaker against the Saints and Panthers, putting them in position to win the division outright with victories over those two teams in the next two weeks. Week 16, however, is a tricky one: The Falcons have just a 32 percent chance to beat the Saints on the road in that game.

NFC South team Week 16 win probability Week 17 win probability
Falcons 32% 51%
Panthers 83% 49%
Saints 68% 80%

The AFC wild-card race looks close, but looks can be deceiving.

If the season ended today, the 8-6 Tennessee Titans and 8-6 Buffalo Bills would be in, with the 8-6 Baltimore Ravens on the bubble, followed closely by the 7-7 Los Angeles Chargers. However, our model gives the Ravens a 93 percent chance and the Titans just a 17 percent chance of qualifying for the playoffs, given the remaining schedules of both teams.

The Titans host the Rams, the fourth-highest scoring team in the NFL this season (2.4 points per drive), and the Jaguars, one of the best defenses in NFL history, during the final two weeks of the season. The Ravens play the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, teams with a combined 8-20 record.

AFC team Week 16 win probability Week 17 win probability
Titans (8-6) 29% 27%
Bills (8-6) 19% 56%
Ravens (8-6) 89% 81%
Chargers (7-7) 64% 70%

Our model, not surprisingly, favors the Ravens and projects them to finish with 10 wins, enough to move them into one of the wild-card spots. The Bills have a 58 percent chance of grabbing the second, and final, wild-card spot.

AFC      
Division Leaders W L Playoff chances
[xy] Patriots 11 3 100%
[xy] Steelers 11 3 100%
[x] Jaguars 10 4 100%
Chiefs 8 6 97%
 [x] clinched playoff berth; [y] clinched division title
Wild Card W L Playoff chances
Titans 8 6 17%
Bills 8 6 58%
In The Hunt W L Playoff chances
Ravens 8 6 93%
Chargers 7 7 53%
Raiders 6 8 >1%
Dolphins 6 8 4%

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