Week 17 NFL Playoff Scenarios

Week 17 NFL Playoff Scenarios

Ben Roethlisberger

Week 17 marks the season finale for the 2015 NFL regular season, with mostly seeding remaining to play for. In the AFC playoff spots are still up for grabs, with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers battling (separately) for one while the Houston Texans need a lot of things to happen to lose their spot to the Indianapolis Colts. In the NFC, it’s all about seeding, with the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals trying to get the number on seed and home field advantage, while the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers go head to head to try and avoid the Wild Card seeding, and win the NFC North.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals finish the season against the Seahawks who have nothing to play for. A win for Arizona means they can finish with the #1 seed and home field advantage, but it takes a Panthers loss as well to make it happen.

Carolina Panthers: For the 14-1 Panthers it’s all about the #1 seed. Winning their game against the Buccaneers will be enough, although losing while the Cardinals lose too is good.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals at 11-4 have won the division, but can still clinch the first round bye if they beat the Ravens while the Broncos lose. They can lose and still get it if the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win their game.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos are in the playoffs, but haven’t clinched a division title or a bye. To win the division they need to win against San Diego, or for the Chiefs to lose their game. The bye will come as long as they win. If they lose, they’ll need both the Chiefs and Bengals to lose their games. The Broncos can earn the #1 seed if they win and the Patriots lose.

Green Bay Packers: Their season finale against the Minnesota Vikings is about winning the division. Not losing will mean Green Bay win the NFC North, again.

Houston Texans: The 8-7 Texans need a lot of things to happen in order to lose their playoff spot, playing in the season finale against the Jaguars. A win puts them in, or a Colts loss puts them in. If they lose and the Colts win, it goes down to a strength of victory tiebreaker. For the Texans to lose that, Cincinnati, New England, New Orleans, Jets and San Diego all need to lose their games. The Chiefs and Ravens both winning their games, regardless of the previous combination, also puts the Texans on top of the AFC South and in the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts: At 7-8, they need to win their game against the Titans, for the Texans to lose, and for the following to happen: Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Denver and Miami win their games, for the Raiders to win their game and for the Steelers to win theirs.

Kansas City Chiefs: Very simple for the Chiefs, who are in the playoffs, but want the division title for a better seeding. It can only come if they beat the Oakland Raiders while the Broncos lose their game.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings can win the NFC North only if they win the season finale against the Packers. A loss or a tie even won’t be enough, and they’ll be in the Wild Card.

New York Jets: The 10-5 Jets finish the season against the Buffalo Bills, and can claim a playoff spot if they win the game. They can still not win it and make it if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose theirs.

New England Patriots: The 12-3 Patriots are playing away against the broken Miami Dolphins, and will finish as the #1 seed in the AFC if they don’t lose the game. They can also lose and still finish first if the Broncos don’t beat the Chargers.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Playing against the Browns usually means a win, but the Steelers meet up with their loss last week. At 9-6, it’s no longer up to them: They can make the playoffs only if they win their game and the Jets lose theirs.

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