Week 17, the final week of the 2016 NFL Season, holds only positional intrigue for the AFC, with all six spots locked up by the Patriots, Raiders, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs and Dolphins. In the NFC, the Cowboys, Seahawks, Falcons and Giants have locked up their spots, but the Lions, Redskins, Packers and Buccaneers are also trying to get in.
The most interesting situation right now is in the NFC North, with the 9-6 Packers and 9-6 Lions meeting at the finish line. Right now, both teams are in, but someone is going to lose (probably) in the game, held in Detroit. The winner wins the division and clinches the playoff spot. The Packers actually can tie and make it thanks to the tiebreaker, and they can also lose and still make it in if the Washington Redskins tie, the Buccaneers lose and either the Eagles, Jaguars, Seahawks or Texans win their game to give Green Bay the SOS advantage.
For the Lions, a win obviously gets them in. They can also get a first round bye if the Falcons lose and the Seahawks don’t win their game. They can still make the playoffs with a loss if the Redskins don’t beat the New York Giants, who have nothing to play for.
If the Redskins beat the Giants, the only way they don’t make it into the postseason is a tie between the Packers and Lions, as all three teams would be with a 9-6-1 record and the Redskins losing the tiebreaker. The Redskins can tie and still make it in, but they’ll need the Packers to lose and the Buccaneers to not win.
As for the Bucs, it’s a long shot: They need to win their game, for the Redskins to tie, for the Lions to beat the Packers and for all four: Titans, Colts, Cowboys and 49ers to win their game. Not very likely that everything happens in one afternoon and evening.
While the Dallas Cowboys have known they hold the #1 spot and bye week for quite some time, it’s up in the air for the Atlanta Falcons, the current #2, and the Seattle Seahawks, current #3. The Falcons will be #2 if they win; a tie and they need the Seahawks to tie or lose, along with a few more complicated combinations. The Seahawks have to win their game, but for the Falcons to lose or tie in order to grab the bye week. If the Seahawks tie their game (they already have a tie this season), they need the Falcons to lose and the Packers and Lions to finish their game in a tie.
On to the AFC, where it’s all about positioning. Right now, the New England Patriots hold the #1 spot at 13-2, and the Oakland Raiders sit at #2 at 12-3, without a starting quarterback. A Raiders win coupled with a Patriots loss in Miami will put Oakland as the #1 team in the AFC. The Chiefs can take over the AFC West and the #2 spot if they win and the Raiders lose. However, Kansas City can also fall to sixth if they lose their game and the Dolphins win their game.